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11

As with all questions of practical halachah, CYLOR (especially since there may be public policy issues involved). However: Responsa Hillel Omer (Yoreh De'ah 144) addresses such a case. He says that the boy is certainly allowed to have an aliyah, considering that it's not his fault that he is uncircumcised; at that age the responsibility still rests on his ...


11

One source that discusses this is Minchas Chinuch (mitzvah 306). He seems to end up saying that the boy can indeed continue counting with a berachah, since his earlier Rabbinic obligation (because of chinuch, education in the performance of mitzvos) counts towards his new Biblical one. A related issue is the fact that according to many opinions, the mitzvah ...


10

The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch in 10:24 clearly says that once a kid is old enough to behave respectfully while wearing Tefillin, his father has to buy him a set. This is actually based on a Gemoro in Suka 42a. ת''ר קטן היודע לנענע חייב בלולב להתעטף חייב בציצית לשמור תפילין אביו לוקח לו תפילין יודע לדבר אביו לומדו תורה וק''ש A child old enough to ...


10

The front is the seal of the State of Israel. The Hebrew on the back is a verse from Ruth (Ruth 3:10) which means "You are blessed to G-d, my daughter" which were words that Boaz said to Ruth when she asked him to marry her. It doesn't have an official name; it is a thoughtful trinket.


8

The Mechaber (OC 37:3) states that one buys Tefillin for his son once he is mature enough to care properly for them. However, Rama rules there (from the Ittur) that this is only when the son is age 13, and that one should not deviate from this practice. Mishnah Berurah (10) explains that before 13 one should not allow the boy to wear Tefillin, because he ...


8

Sepharadim (following the psak of Rav Ovadia Yosef, see Yalkut Yosef siman 489 seif 10) rules that someone who becomes bar mitzvah during the omer may not continue to count with a beracha, even if he had been careful to count every day leading up to then. Sephardim are very careful about the principle of safek berachot l'hakel and in almost any circumstance ...


8

This is just my guess on things from what I've seen. There can be a lot of issues going on in each case, so it's worth taking an honest assessment of the full situation, and talking with a rabbi who's both knowledgeable and understanding. If both you and the event host demonstrate genuine caring and communication, that can help a lot of things too. I ...


8

Let's start with the fact that the usual description is that a child below this age doesn't have daas. What is daas? R' Shalom Dovber Schneersohn zt"l, the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, defines it (in Kuntres Hatefillah ch. 5) as the ability to empathize. A young boy or girl may be smart enough to understand something intellectually (such as that being poor is ...


8

Quoting from נטעי גבריאל: הלכות והליכות בר מצוה והנחת תפילין, פרק כו הלכה ב נעשה בר מצוה בחנוכה רשאי להדליק נ"ח מבעו"י להנוהגים להדליק נ"ח תמיד לפני השקיעה, ונכון להדליק בבין השמשות [One who] became a bar mitzva on Chanuka may light the candles during the day [if he is among] those who always light before sunset, but it is correct to light ...


7

Levush (Orach Chaim 616:2) says that it is simply a matter of the Sages' grasp of human physiology: they knew that boys (usually) start developing signs of sexual maturity (specifically, two pubic hairs) at thirteen, and girls at twelve. The Gemara (Niddah 45b) homiletically explains Gen. 2:22 (ויבן ה' אלקים) to mean that "women were given more ...


7

This ceremony is an American phenomena, it was invented by caterers and is the only of many creative ceremonies to have "stuck" from the early days of American Bar Mitzvah celebrations in ceremonial halls. You will find it across the spectrum of Jewish groups (including some Orthodox) but will generally only find it in ceremonial halls and not in synagogues ...


7

The rationale behind it is that Tehillim describes a lifetime as seventy years in the verse ימי שנותינו בהם שבעים שנה ואם בגבורות שמונים שנה (90:10.) Thus -- the reasoning goes -- 83 is 13 years into your "second lifetime" which is as good an excuse for a kiddush as any. I do not know of any source for it prior to the twentieth century or of any book ...


6

When I was bar-mitzvah (in 1985), CDs of Torah texts - like Bar Ilan, Tanach Plus, etc. - were years in the future. State of the art then, for portable texts, was microfilm/microfiche. So someone got me a kit (the size of a briefcase) containing a handheld reader, and microfiche cards of a number of basic sefarim (Gemara, Rambam, Shulchan Aruch, etc.); those ...


6

Not really. Jewish law treats a male as an adult as soon as they reach age 13 (assuming they've also had the onset of puberty). There is no official "bar mitzvah" ritual; you're an adult, you're an adult. It's become normal to demonstrate to everyone that the young man is an adult by calling up the fellow for an aliyah (i.e. saying the brachas before and ...


6

Historically, I know of at least one case where a child was told to start wearing tefillin at an earlier age: R' Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, describes in a couple of his public addresses how his father (and predecessor as Rebbe), R' Shalom Dovber, instructed him on the day before his eleventh birthday to start putting on ...


5

Nit'ei Gavriel (Pesach, vol. 3, 50:11) cites authorities on both sides of the issue: The bar mitzvah boy and his father are indeed allowed to take haircuts (Mekor Chaim); They are not (Rivevos Ephraim); The boy can have his hair cut before his actual bar mitzvah date, when he's still a minor and not fully obligated (Divrei Shalom); If his hair is really ...


5

The Yalkut Yosef says that it depends on the reason for saying the blessing: We say it because the boy will no longer be punished for the father's sins (and [underage] girls are punished the same way [underage] boys are). We say it because the father will no longer be punished for the boys sins (as he is no longer responsible to educate him). (And one is ...


5

The S'dei Chemed briefly entertains the possibility that the mitzva of chinuch itself is an obligation on minors. He soundly rejects it but the two pages it takes to get there are very interesting. (There is a reference to the discussion and others who address it here, in יד.)


5

Rashi on Avot 5:21 brings an opinion that it is Halacha L'Moshe M'Sinai (Law Given to Moshe on Sinai) that once a male reaches puberty (2 pubic hairs) he is considered an adult and obligated in Mitzvos. The Rabbis figured out that the average male reaches puberty at 13 and therefore established 13 as the default bar mitzvah age. Halacha L'Moshe M'sinai is ...


5

R' Gil Student cites the Ibn Ezra “[T]he beginning of each individual’s year is from the moment he was born, and when the sun returns to the same point at which it was earlier, the person completes one full year” (['Iggeret HaShabbat, chapter 1]p. 21). Nevertheless, insofar as there are halachic implications, R' Student understood the Bar Mitzvah to ...


4

This tradition is actually becoming less common in the more "yeshivish" communities. The idea is that the enormous amount of time and effort spent memorizing the leining could be better spent learning gemara. This is probably true, but on the other hand, if you learn how to lein instead of just memorizing, that is also a very valuable skill and benefits the ...


4

There are Halachic problems with entering a church, and even with using a former church building for some other purpose. (Rabbi Frand has a tape about converting a church into a synagogue.) So if the social hall is part of the church building, that's one whole set of issues. If it's just a free-standing social hall that happens to belong to a church, we ...


4

The Tur writes in his introduction to Hilchos Shabbos that "all thirty nine Melachos and their Toldos are known, and there is no need [to write about them] at length...." It also says in the introduction to Siman 80 in Kitzur Shulchan Aruch that "most of the prohibitions of Shabbos are known to most Jews, so only prohibitions that are common and unknown ...


4

You mean whether to not attend a friend's bar mitzva? If the friend's bar mitzva is at 10AM on a Sunday morning, and you really love your weekly baseball game at that time, so you go to earlybird prayers at 7AM that morning, then go to your baseball game -- well it's between you and your friend (or your family, or their family), would your presence at the ...


4

If by "skipping a bar mitzvah" you mean "skip going to the service where the person in question celebrates becoming bar mitzvah, then it's basically no worse than skipping any other service. If it's Saturday morning you skipped a Shabbat service; a man (13+) who does this misses his obligation to pray in a community, but (as I understand it) a woman doesn't ...


3

Conceivably, another point might be the fact that maftir is more of a "public performance," so to speak, than the other aliyos. Nowadays most people who get an aliyah don't read their own portion, but the maftir nearly always does (except on the rare occasions where someone is called up for it and doesn't know how to read it properly).


3

I don't really know why, but here are two possible ideas: Acharon, Acharon Chaviv (The last is the most beloved) - Rashi Bereshit 33:2 To give the same Aliya to every bar mitzvah boy (or bridegroom). Since the bar mitzvah boy (or the bridegroom) may be a Kohen or a Levi, he couldn't get any other Aliyah besides the Kohen, Levi, or Maftir Aliyah. If the bar ...


3

This sounds like the sort of question that you really need to discuss with your Rabbi, since there are lots of different issues in play, and how they interact could vary a great deal, depending on the circumstances and on the people involved. I'll enumerate some of the major issues that could come up. Note that I'm not saying that all of these are ...


3

As far as most used from what I got: A siddur (be careful, people get lots of these) Artscroll English Chumash w/ Rashi (perfect for being maavir sedra w/ rashi). Like this one. English Pirkei Avos As far as good ideas: Portable music player for shiurim (especially if preloaded w/ shiurim) Artscroll Talmud (assuming one or two, anything else would be ...


3

Inspired by Jeremy's answer to another question, a pocket knife (e.g. Swiss Army) would be an awesome and much-appreciated gift by some kids. Of course, this depends on how responsible you deem the kid to be, and it may be worth checking with the parents first. I think I got my first knives a couple of years later, but believe me, I appreciated, kept, and ...



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