Ever been invited to a bar or bat mitzvah and wonder what that even is? This video gives you a quick overview in less than ten minutes.
A bar mitzvah for males, or a bat mitzvah for females, is a Jewish celebration that honors a child’s transitioning into adulthood and taking on responsibility for sins before God. “Bar mitzvah” translates to “son of the commandment,” and “bat mizvah” translates to “daughter of the commandment.” Bar/bat terminology originates from the Aramaic languages which was commonly spoken among Jewish people in some ancient time periods, and mitvah is the Hebrew word that translates to “commandment.”
Regardless of gender, the concept usually includes both a religious ceremony and a party afterwards, though the details of both can vary wildly based on different types of Judaism as well as personal preference. The religious ceremony often includes leading prayers during a Shabbat service, reading portions of the Torah and/or Haftarah in Hebrew, and sometimes even philantrophy work for a charity of the honoree’s choice. This requires learning Hebrew as well as portions of Jewish history and law to be able to expound on some of the readings in addition to literally reading the text.
The festivities are usually the day after the religious ceremony. Ideally, the event should focus more on faith and the maturity associated with becoming a spiritual adult growing in the image of God rather than the party itself.
Written by Erin Parfet