Project Genesis

LifeCycle Events

Bar and Bat Mitzvah

Scheduling a Bar Mitzvah

Does the Bar Mitzvah celebration have to be done on the actual Hebrew date of the Bar Mitzvah?

A Bar Mitzvah is the time when a child becomes an adult in Jewish law, and becomes responsible to keep all the laws of the Torah in their own right. Hence the name ‘Bar Mitzvah’ (one who has the Mitzvot – the commandments). For a boy adulthood begins at age 13 and for a girl age 12. Therefore a person has his or her Bar Mitzvah on their birthday, regardless of any celebrations.

However, it is customary for a boy to celebrate his adulthood, and ability to perform the Mitzvot (including communal Mitzvot on behalf of others), by getting called to the Torah, and sometimes reading from the Torah, and/or the Haftorah (and possibly also leading the services). Therefore it is only appropriate to have a Bar Mitzvah celebration after the actual Hebrew birthday (usually on the Shabbat immediately following the birthday).

Rabbi David Sedley

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