The Significance Of A Bar Mitzah

1858 words - 8 pages

Judaism is one of the oldest religious practices in the world. It gave a start to two the world's most popular religions: Islam and Christianity. It seems that everybody must be familiar with the basics of this religion, though it is not true. The majority of people know only a few attributes or ceremonies that Judaism is using until modern times, such as Menorah (the candelabrum with seven brunches), Star of David (traditionally known as the symbol of Judaism) and, let’s say, the Bar Mitzvah ceremony. What people are missing (apart from the associations) is how truly symbolic all of them are in the practice of Judaism. Bar or Bat Mitzvah, for example, present practically the ...view middle of the document...

So, it absolutely obligatory that by the time for the ceremony comes, a child needs to be familiar with all these things. The ceremony itself does not include any sort of ritual, but the tradition to celebrate this important event stays extremely popular. This kind of ceremony usually happens in the early morning on the first Monday or Thursday after his or her birthday. The most important part of the event is first time reading from Torah. Right after the child says his prayer, it is time for their parents’ prayer for their son’s “moral graduation”. The next step is the child’s speech that he or she would prepare long time before the service, where it is possible to make some comments about the passage from Torah the kid has just read. The final part of the ceremony is singing the hymn. The ceremony ends with a line of everybody who came to ceremony waiting to give blessings and wishes to the Bar Mitzvah. However, the majority of braches in Judaism have added some new ideas to the ceremony itself. What they do, is that they have a party at the end of the day. On this party Bar or Bat Mitzvah is getting his or her presents, which normally hold religious meaning (different books for example). This is the way a common modern ceremony would look like. However, there are certain aspects of the ceremony which depends on the branch of Judaism the child belongs to or on the country, where it was held. For example, Jewish people in Western Europe would have the child read his passage during the Sabbath morning services. However, it does not matter which way Jewish people do celebrate, the place of the ceremony always stays the same: synagogue. The Reconstructionist movement of Judaism, for example did not have such term as Bat Mitzvah until 1960. The Conservative movement, on the other hand, was the one to be responsible for the spread of bat Mitzvah to other divisions. The Reform movement prefer to stay away from the practice of both Bar and Bat Mitzvah completely. Of course, all of those movements are relatively new, but, as we can see, they have established such an order, that even one of the most traditional ceremonies of all began to look completely different.
It is obvious that the process of becoming Bar or bat Mitzvah is a quite short ritual, and at the first time it might even seem that it does not hold any specific meaning or in the modern times it literally has no purpose at all. Then what is it so important about this celebration that the tradition transfers from one generation to another? Bar Mitzvah literally translates as “son of a commandment”, where “bar” is the Aramaic word for “son”, and “mitzvah” would be translated as “commandment”. In the case of Bat Mitzvah, “bat” stands for both Hebrew and Aramaic word for “daughter”. The whole ceremony of becoming Bar or Bat Mitzvah represents some sort of new stage in Jewish children’s lives. As we know this idea was not stated in Bible, so what happened is that Jewish people back into...

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