The Bar Mitzvah Ceremony
Calling someone to say the
Torah blessings during a service is called an Aliyah from the Hebrew:
עֲלִיָּה, from the verb la'alot, לעלות, meaning, "to rise, to
ascend; to go up." The widespread practice is that on Shabbat on or after
his 13th birthday, a boy may recite the blessings for the Torah reading,
and may also read the week's portion from the Torah (five books of Moses)
and Haftorah (selections from the books of the Prophets), and/or give a
d'var Torah, which may include a discussion of that week's Torah portion.
He may also lead part or all of the morning prayer services. Precisely
what the Bar Mitzvah should lead during the service varies from one
congregation to another, and is not fixed by Jewish law. Sometimes the
celebration is during another service that includes reading from the
Torah, such as a Monday or Thursday morning service, a Shabbat afternoon
service, or a morning service on Rosh Chodesh, the New Moon.
Once a person is
Bar or Bat Mitzvah, they have the responsibilities of an adult Jew
under Jewish law.
These things include:
- They are morally
responsible for their own actions.
- They are
eligible to be called to read from the Torah, and to participate
in a Minyan (In Orthodox denominations, only males read from the
Torah or participate in a Minyan).
- They can own
what they possess as personal property.
- They are old
enough to be legally married according to Jewish law.
- They must follow
the six hundred and thirteen laws of the Torah.