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What sources are there for our minhag of doing a Bar Mitzva Seuda (meal), and do the sources state that the seuda must specifically be done on the day of the Bar Mitzva (or the night of)? And is this seuda actually a Seudas Mitzva?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

See the Magen Avraham, Orach Chaim 225:4.

He points out a couple things:

  1. It is a Mitzvah for the father to make a Seudah (festive meal) on the day his son turns 13 (enters his 14th year, i.e. not the evening he turns 13, but the next day). This is equal to the obligation to make a Wedding Seudah.

  2. If the son makes a Drashah (Torah speech/lecture) in honor of his Bar Mitzvah, this is considered a celebration of the Bar Mitzvah (and the meal is therefore a Seudat Mitvah) even if it is not on the actual day.

The Magen Avraham quotes his sources, but I did not look them up.

See also the Zohar Chadash [Bereshit 15:4, according to here] quoted in footnote 697 here.

Cf. the following passage in Zohar Chadash, Parshas Bereishis: "R. Shimon Bar Yochai invited the leading scholars of the Mishnah to partake of a great festive meal which he had arranged.... He was very happy..., because, [as he explained,] 'On this day a holy and exalted soul descended...into my son R. Elazar, and on this joyous occasion I shall experience supreme joy.' "

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Thanks. Although I think you may have made one mistake: when the boy turns 13, i.e. his birthday, that would already be the first day of his fourteenth year, no? – Phil May 12 '13 at 20:24
@phil. The Jewish day stars the night before, so the boy becomes bar mitzvah the night before. The Magen Abraham is saying not to celebrate that night but the next day. – Menachem May 12 '13 at 21:08

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