This morning, we attended our neighbor’s Bar Mitzvah. As I sat in the sanctuary, I found it hard to believe he was 13. After all, he was a four-year-old boy who was always climbing a tree or playing on a skateboard when we moved next door nearly nine years ago. But there he was, standing on the bimah, wearing a suit and a tallit. How fast time goes!
At the end of the Amidah, there’s time for silent prayer before the Torah service begins. I closed my eyes when the Rabbi encouraged us to “take a few minutes for silent prayer.” Alone with my thoughts, I thought about some rocky patches I’ve had with my health and as a mom in the past week. I exhaled and hoped for a better week ahead. As my thoughts continued to wander, they were interrupted by a familiar whisper.
“I forgot to brush my teeth,” Isabelle whispered to Marc.
My eyes shot open and I started giggling. (This isn’t what you want to do during silent prayer in any house of worship!)
Isabelle gave me a “What’s wrong with you?” look.
I tried to stifle my laughter because the last thing I wanted to do was have anyone witness me laughing in synagogue. But that’s when the shakes started. In an effort to keep myself quiet, my body quaked as I held-in the giggles.
Isabelle looked at me with a why-is-this-so-funny look. (She takes her dental hygiene somewhat seriously. She never eats gummy worms or any candy the dentist warned about. While Isabelle doesn’t like flossing or rinsing with mouthwash — Who does?!??! — she does it every day because she wants her mouth to remain cavity-free.)
What I wanted to say to her was ‘How is this what came to your mind in the middle of silent prayer? I’m there praying to be a more patient parent and a healthier human being and you’re feeling badly about neglecting your teeth?!!?’ But I shouldn’t judge someone else’s meditation. Instead I took a couple more deep breaths and said, “You’ll brush them when you get home.”
And with that, the Cantor stood up and began leading the congregation in “Oseh Shalom.” Never in my life had I been happier to hear that song since it gave me the chance to stop giggling and start singing.