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12

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.


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


9

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

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

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 ...


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

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 ...


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 ...


7

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 ...


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 ...


7

A star of David necklace is not a ritual object (just pretty jewelry), and I've never seen anybody take offense at one being given by a non-Jew. This is, in fact, one of the safest Jewish items you can buy; were you to try to select books or ritual objects, you would quickly run into matters of differences in tradition and would risk getting the "wrong" ...


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 ...


6

See the book Halichot Shelomo on Tefilla chapter 23 paragraph 40 where it quotes this story.


5

Taken from Matazav.com The source is found in the Orchos Chaim - a French Rishon. He mention s that Rav Yehudai Gaon made a Baruch Shepotrani after his son leined by his Bar Mitzvah. He also mentions that this is done to show that the Bar mitzvah boy is a Gadol & can be a Shliach Zibbur


5

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 ...


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

Rav Ovadya Yosef, in Yabia Omer 6 OC 29, writes that one should say the blessing (ברוך שפטרני מעונשה של זו) at the Bat Mitzva celebration without God's name, just as one should recite it without God's name at a boy's Bar Mitzva celebration.


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

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

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 ...


5

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

I received a pearl necklace that I wore for many years. I also received travel candle holders which I have used for guests for Shabbos as well as when traveling.


4

I used a nice pen that I received for 22 years afterward (Cross). I also use my seforim.


4

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 ...


4

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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