– My son just had a bar mitzvah,
I know it’s so exciting, Woo, mazel tov. I bet there are many of you who know what a bar mitzvah is, but probably a lot of you who don’t. Let’s break it down. Don’t forget to subscribe to my channel, click the little bell icon
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super-detailed explanation of what my bar mitzvah outfit looked like. That’s what’s really important. Anyway, number one. What does bar mitzvah even mean? Well, bar mitzvah literally means son of the commandments. Bat mitzvah means daughter
of the commandments. Pretty catchy, right? Historically speaking,
when a boy turned 13, he was able to be counted in a minion, or a prayer quorum of 10 people. He would recite a blessing over the person reading from the Torah on the Sabbath closest to his birthday and boom! He was an adult, done. Instant man, instant Jewish man. Number two. What’s a bar mitzvah like now? Well, now, bar mitzvah boys and girls don’t just make a
blessing over someone else reading from the Torah, they often read the Torah themselves on
their bar mitzvah day. They may often lead the
congregation in prayer and, if you’re part of the conservative or reformed denominations of Judaism, you may even take a more active part in planning the entire day. Girls in traditional
communities actually become bat mitzvah at age 12,
because girls mature faster, you know how that is. So do the Jews. In communities where women typically don’t read from the Torah,
they sometimes will do a charity project or a research project about their Torah portion, or, in progressive communities,
they have Torah services where only women are allowed and girls can read from
the Torah for other women. Number three. I know you wanna know,
what about the partay? I know what you’ve
heard, you’ve heard about Mariah Carey at people’s bar mitzvah’s and the Rockettes and DJs
spinning hip tunes all night. You’ve heard about fountains of chocolate and limousines and parties costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yes, that does happen. But not in my house! While many people do devote
a lot of time and money to the party, in our family, we devoted a lot of time to the learning, the Torah study, the speech writing, you know, the boring stuff. Basically, I solidified my raising a child who, like me, hates fun. I’m kidding, but not really. In all seriousness, we had a lovely lunch at synagogue, right after services, and a handful of kids came
over to my ex-husband’s house for pizza and dancing at night. We got balloons, we borrowed
a friends disco ball, done. Number four, what about the money? (whispers) The money. (normal voice) I know some
people think that all Jews think about is money. It is not true. Although, it is true that
traditional bar mitzvah gifts tend to be monetary, and
in denominations of 18, because, in Hebrew, the word for life, actually corresponds to the
numerical equivalent of 18. We encouraged our son to donate 10% of his bar mitzvah earnings to charity, which he gladly agreed
to, and the rest of it he wants to invest and
not touch until he’s 18. Number five, the feelings. This rite of passage is huge. It is very significant. My first-born is 13,
but he still seems like so much of a little boy, in the best ways. There are hints of
maturity coming through. He carries himself a
little bit differently, he’s got, like, little
bit of a swagger now, his neck seems really
long, he cares more about his appearance, he kind
of speaks more formally. He’s been studying for the
better part of this past year. He has learned the melodies and the words and the philosophy of our people. It was so powerful to see
him up there in a suit and he was so adorable, he was! This is my boy, this is my
baby, and he’s growing up. He’s grown up. Becoming a bar mitzvah
was a process he took on, which involved a tremendous
amount of responsibility and him learning how to manage his time and his energy and his sense of commitment to the Jewish people. He also got to complain about
all the things he didn’t like and he got fatigued about
having to practice so much and if nothing else, he perfected the art of eye-rolling this year. Mom, bah! I would love this child no matter what, but I have to say, this
bar mitzvah process helped me love him in more ways than I even knew that I could and I am so grateful for that. I learned about his
deep thoughts about God and Jewish law and the
religious process in general. We sat as equals with
our trusty teacher, Shep, and I got to see his eyes light up and his brain near explode
when he comprehended a really, really deep, deep
piece of Torah learning. And I saw him hold up
the trust of our people when he came up with his own
answers to eternal questions, the way a true scholar should. I know my boy so much
better from this process. I can see the foundation of the man that he’s starting to become, and I feel so high from
this entire process. It sounds so cheesy,
but it was so amazing, what it did for him, and for me and for our family and for
his place in our community and it was unbelievable. Mostly, I can’t wait to
see what he does next. Thanks for letting me share my experience about my son’s bar mitzvah with you. What are your thoughts about bar mitzvah, what are some things that
are still unclear to you? Leave them in the comments below. In addition, if there’s
other things about my religious tradition that you
wanna hear me talk about, let me know. Thanks for watching, go to groknation.com for more about the bar mitzvah. See you next time.