I'm 47 and I've spent my whole adult life far from Jewish practice. But now I'm engaged in tshuva (i.e. returning to Judaism; lit. repentance) and I want to come back to Hashem and live my Jewish life happily, fully and completely.

Is the Bar Mitzvah a mandatory step in practicing prayers, tefillin, brakhot, and all aspects of daily spiritual life? What does it mean for an adult who did not celebrate his Bar Mitzvah? Should one be considered incomplete in some way?

Thanks in advance for your help and support!

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    Welcome to the site Yoni. We all wish you the best on your spiritual journey. – mevaqesh Feb 8 '17 at 20:21
  • For the question not to be a request for a halachic decision, you will need to reword it as a general query and not one relating to yourself. Even after that, although you may get good suggestions here, you will do much better if you can speak to a Rabbi. I realise that you are isolated where you are but I would be surprised if you could not find a Chabad Rabbi to help by going to chabad.org/centers/default_cdo/aid/9318/jewish/… . – Avrohom Yitzchok Feb 9 '17 at 13:33
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    Thanks for your support and encouragement, I have edited the question. – yoni_FR Feb 9 '17 at 20:53
  • Can you clarify what you mean by "Bar Mitzvah being a mandatory step"? Are you specifically referring to some sort of Bar Mitzvah ceremony? If so, can you please clarify what you think that includes? – Lee Feb 15 '17 at 15:42

A Bar Mitzvah ceremony or celebration is a just a custom - a nice way of signifying the occasion of one's becoming obligated in the commandments, but it is not a prerequisite and does not actually have any significance halachically; the obligation to perform the commandments comes regardless of any ceremony. So feel free to begin all the practices you mentioned, and don't worry - not only aren't you 'incomplete', you are actually on a high, rarified spiritual level (according to the Talmud) by virtue of your being a baal tshuva.

(I'm not saying you shouldn't have a celebration, just that it is optional and certainly shouldn't stop you from doing spiritual practices)

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One expression, bar mitsva has many significations. In halacha to be bar mitsva is to reach the majority according to the Jewish law. There is a custom to give to the young major man to take some roles reserved for adults in the synagogue, e. g. to recit the blessing of the reader Sefer Tora, or even to read the parasha for the congregation. This is only honors, and not actions which change something as brit mila is. If someone did not make his "bar mitsva" he has lost a kind of festivity, no more. In halacha he is strictly equivalent to the friend who made bar mitsva.

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