Preparation for a bar or bat mitzvah is difficult and takes a long time. The child, becoming an adult, is expected to learn to chant, not just read, in Hebrew, a portion of the Torah. To understand it sufficiently to speak about it as part of the service. Hannah was required to read the first portion of Eikev, Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25, a long section where God is telling the Israelites to obey his laws and not take for granted the land of milk and honey he is about to give them.
Beware that you do not forget the Lord, your God, by not keeping His commandments, His ordinances, and His statutes, which I command you this day, lest you eat and be sated, and build good houses and dwell therein, and your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold increase, and all that you have increases, and your heart grows haughty, and you forget the Lord, your God, Who has brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage,
I can't believe that I, the unbeliever am quoting scripture, but I really enjoyed this one.
You shall know that, not because of your righteousness, the Lord, your God, gives you this land to possess it; for you are a stiffnecked people. Remember do not forget, how you angered the Lord, your God, in the desert; from the day that you went out of the land of Egypt, until you came to this place, you have been rebelling against the Lord.
I wonder about the mixed message the kids get from this--reading the stern message of God and all the while preparing for the PARTY, the place, the music, the food, the dress. I don't mean this as a criticism of Hannah and her parents. They are great people and have done a wonderful job of raising Hannah and her brother. I am very fond of all of them. I just can't help but wonder, in general, at the failure of the real message, because clearly, we fail. In most cases the party far outshadows what should be the real learning experience; both the child and parents learn only about parties. Pictures of the party when I return home.