What is a Bar Mitzvah?

Bar Mitzvah.gifA boy attains his religious maturity and becomes responsible to fulfill all Torah commandments at the age of 13. (A girl becomes equally responsible one full year earlier, at the age of 12, corresponding to her earlier maturation.)

At this age, young men gain the intellectual maturity to discern between right and wrong and modify their behavior accordingly, thus transforming them from child to adult.

Bar Mitzvah literally means "Son of Mitzvah," which describes the young man now responsible to do all mitzvot (commandments).

This occasion is cause for great celebration and gratitude to G‑d, and hence the Bar Mitzvah ceremony.

Note: One becomes Bar Mitzvah automatically on one's thirteenth birthday, with or without a party!

Boy Tefilin.jpgFor a boy, among his many new responsibilities, beginning from his Bar-Mitzvah day and onward he must wrap tefillin every day of the week besides Shabbat and certain holidays. Traditionally boys are called up to the Torah on the day of their Bar Mitzvah (or the Sabbath afterward), reflecting their new status as adult participants in the prayers. In some communities, the boy reads from the Torah and/or chants the Haftorah on the Shabbat after he becomes Bar Mitzvah.

Bar Mitzvah is not a “performance” or a time to be nervous about chanting and speaking in public and memorizing lines! That’s not what Bar Mitzvah is about. A Bar Mitzvah is more than a bar to pass; it is a time to recognize what it means to be a Jewish man and the responsibilities we have to ourselves, our religion, mankind and creation.

To learn more about Bar Mitzvah, visit


Chabad Bar Mitzvah Guide & Resources