Our trip to L.A. was all about the bar mitzvah for G-Duck's nephew, who I will refer to as the Duckling. Michele's questions and comments about bar mitvahs seem like a pretty good jumping-off point for this tale of manhood and Jewhood.
Bar mitzvahs, as you may or may not be aware, do not involve cutting off any part of a boy’s penis.
Michele is correct. The Duckling's Torah portion was from Leviticus, so there was much talk about sacrifice. None of the talk from the rabbi nor the Duckling involved sacrificing one's foreksin. Or testicles.
Bar mitzvahs do not celebrate eunuchs.
I think that a eunuch who had reached the appropriate age could be welcome in a synagogue. The eunuch would certainly have something useful to say about sacrifice at the very least. The Duckling mostly talked about switching positions on a soccer field. He'd sacrificed his role of scorer in order to help the team on defense. Would a eunuch have displayed such selflessness? My gut feeling is no.
The Duckling also made reference to sacrifice flies, taking the position that G-d is a fan of productive outs. "No, that's fine. You swing. I'll just bunt the runners over, and then go sit in the dugout. Like a dog."
Possibly castrati. The bar mitzvah boy does have to sing at one point after all.
One wonderful aspect of the bar mitzvah is that the honoree has to sing for extended stretches, at the same time his voice is changing. It is rare that you get to hear an 8th grader read an essay out loud, as he effectively does with his Torah speech, and even rarer that you hear him sing in a foreign language while his voice cracks. There was some talk afterward that a Beverly Hills bar mitzvah does not require as much singing as in other locations. After I have a few more bar mitzvahs under my belt, I will attempt to confirm or deny this dastardly rumor.
I do understand the foot-stomping good time of 'Hava Nagila' which I've had stuck in my head all morning as I thought about Sean in LA stepping on champagne flutes wrapped in a napkin and being hefted around in a chair with his bride by his side.
There was no 'Hava Nagila', nor was there chair-hefting. I was relieved, because being lifted in a chair might have made the yarmulke slip off my oversized Celtic dome, and that would have been sacrilegious.
I'm willing to bet that boys who haven't passed their bar mitzvah yet fancy the cooch even before they can be religiously termed 'men'.
The Duckling did not discuss the cooch. Perhaps that was another sacrifice he made.