We had another Bar Mitzvah last Shabbat. This one turned violent. The kid and a few others got stoned. No, I don’t mean high or wasted. I mean pelted. He just finished his aliyah and the crowd burst into Mazal Tovs. Then the bags started to fly. He quickly ducked down and banged his face on the wood Etz Chaim (the Torah Scroll handles). That resulted in a nasty black eye. Before he could step down and get some ice, he was pelted some more. He tripped down the bima steps and crashed to the ground. The kids then trampled over him in their scouring attempt to grab candy. Fortunately the bar mitzvah boy’s father came to save him. He got hit by the candy bags pretty hard too. In his anger, he threw his siddur over the mechiza. That really pissed people off. The siddur came flying back, with some more bags of candy. But hey, he was angry, do you blame him?
The kids scrambling on the floor got into a pretty nasty fight too. Someone was scratched in the face, and a bunch of kids left crying loudly because they did not get enough bags to satisfy their greed. I overheard one of the fathers scolding his kid, telling him he should have used more elbow, and he was disappointed to have a whimp of a kid.
We have a carpet nazi in the shul too — like most shuls that have been renovated in the past 10 years do. Our carpet nazi raised the money for the renovations — and he get’s super pissed when anything happens in shul that ruins his hard work. In addition to smushed chocolate and soft candy, he’s gonna have to clean up some blood too. I’m surprised he hasn’t installed those shoe and boot brushes to help prevent people from tracking dirt into his pristine sanctuary. Anyway, he has his work cut out for him this week. The carpet is a mess.
Back to the pelting. I always knew that the custom is quite ancient and is borrowed from the wedding ceremony (and auf ruf preceding it). The idea is the “shower” the celebrants with sweet blessings (originally nuts, then rice, then candy). So I commented to the guy next to me that today’s blessings were not so sweet — so many people got injured this time. He looked at me strangely and said “we don’t throw candies to shower blessings!” Huh? I asked what’s the reason then?
He explained that the ruv told him that this custom is based on the tradition that on the day of a wedding, the groom celebrates a mini-Yom Kippur, where he atones for his sins. Similarly on a Bar Mitzvah, the boy symbolically atones for the sins of his youth. So we re-enact a public stoning to remind the celebrant that they probably really deserve the death penalty for sins they committed in the past, but we’ll stone them with candy instead.
WTF?? Have you ever heard this explanation?
In related news, Pashkez has announced they will be making a new throwing candy that has no chocolate, is soft, does not stain carpets, and best of all, it is shaped like a small rock.