Understanding what a bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah are can be difficult for those who did not grow up in a Jewish community. There are many similarities and differences between them, and it’s essential to learn about these things because a bar and bat mitzvah symbolize a Jewish boy or girl’s coming of age, one of the most important events in their lives.
Bar Mitzvah – According to Traditional Observances of Judaism
A bar mitzvah is for a boy. Bar mitzvah translates from Hebrew to “son of the commandment.” A bar mitzvah ceremony and celebration are held on the first Shabbat (Saturday) after his 13th Hebrew birthday. During the ceremony, the new bar mitzvah reads from the Torah for the first time. Then, he begins his mitzvot (commandments) as a Jewish man. Some of these mitzvot include wearing tefillin and leading prayers.
A bat mitzvah is for a girl. Bat mitzvah translates from Hebrew to “daughter of the commandment.” A bat mitzvah ceremony and celebration are held on the first Shabbat (Saturday) of her 12th Hebrew birthday. In many communities, girls have begun celebrating at 13. In the past, especially in Orthodox communities, Bat Mitzvahs were not really celebrated for girls. Now, many people in Jewish communities are pushing for more Bat Mitzvah’s as it is an important event in every Jewish person’s life. As a girl, one can take challah after her bat mitzvah ceremony. This is a mitzvah that is meant for women, and it involves a Bat Mitzvah separating challah dough after the flour and liquid are mixed together, while the dough is still whole. She recites a blessing while doing this.
There are many similarities between a bar and bat mitzvah. For both the boy and girl, it is a coming of age in the Jewish community. They become accountable for their own actions and sins according to the Torah’s commandments. Today, it is common for both Jewish boys and girls to celebrate this coming of age. They both begin performing mitzvot, including fasting on Jewish holidays such as Yom Kippur.
When going to a bar or bat mitzvah, everyone dresses nicely as if it were a wedding. Guests give gifts, as it is a cherished event in a Jewish boy or girl’s life. There are many gifts that you could give, but a gift that has the most meaning, and practicality, is an Israeli investment. With this, the young man or woman can own a stake (a percentage of stock) in Israel’s economy. The Jerusalem Portfolio is great for helping you gift Israeli investments that grow with time. Consider giving a professionally managed Israeli investment here.