Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah: Coming of age

In Jewish religion, there is a time when a child becomes an adult spiritually. This means that he is now responsible to make his own religious decisions, and hence is accountable of his own actions.

From now on, parents take  a back seat, they did all that they could do to instill the religious beliefs in the child, and now it depends on the child whether to follow the path or search his own spirituality.

According to Jewish Law, this ritual of coming of age is called Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah.

Bar and Bat Mitzvah – Age 13 for boy and 12 for girls

“son (daughter) of commandment”- the young becomes  responsible to follow the commandments of the Torah.

By this age, the young person should know the difference between the right and the wrong and have the self control to choose to do what is right. It is customary in most communities to celebrate the child’s coming of age by calling them to the Torah for the first time.

What happens in Bar and Bat Mitzvah?

In Bar Mitzvah, they prepare and participate on the part of the boy, who works with a Rabbi and/or Cantor for months (or years) studying for the event. The exact role Bar/Bat Mitzvah boy plays in the service will vary between the different Jewish movements and synagogues.

On the Shabbat following his 13th birthday, the young man is called up to the Torah. This calculation follows the Jewish calendar. The young bar mitzvah is then given the privilege to lead the prayer and other religious activities for the day. That includes being called to Torah, reading the Haftarah portion at a Shabbat or other service. In some orthodox communities a girl Bar or Bat Mitzvah (age 12) are not allowed to lead the prayers. The liberal sorts have allowed the girls to lead in all ladies congregation.

At the conclusion of his final blessing, some synagogues have the custom to good-naturedly pelt the young man with candies.

Tefillin

This is quite a Jewish celebration. Upon reaching the Bar Mitzvah age, the boy is asked to wear Tefillin each day, a sort of an obligation he needs to perform now.

Tefillin are square black boxes contains parchment of Torah versus, that need to be worn, one on the arm and the other on the head. It is obligatory for the Bar mitzvah child to wear them every day expect of Shabath and holiday days. This is to remind the bar mitzvah boy that he is to follow God’s commandment, keeping his mind and his action coherent with the commandments.

For Bar/Bat Mitzvah, it is a joyous occasion. By reaching this milestone, he can now make decisions to follow the life as a true adult Jew. It is a monumental occasion and is celebrated greatly, by a feast hosted by the parents of the bar/bat mitzvah child.

Bar/Bat Mitzvah boy is an adult now, with this religious occasion, it brings with it a deep sense of understanding of the Jewish religion, and commandments. It is the time to come out from under the protective shade of the parents and to face the world like a young Jewish adult.

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