Thursday, August 1, 2013

An Australian Friend of Ours Has a Question Regarding Messianic Bar Mitzvah Ceremony

A dear reader in Australia would like to give her son a bar mitzvah.  They're non-Jewish Messianics.  Does anyone know of a Messianic-styled bar mitzvah script they can use?


  1. No brother, I’m unable to help you with this. The Bar Mitzvah is not a biblical but a Talmudic teaching. In the Bible a person reaches the age of majority at the age of 20, when he is subject to the draft and to taxation. It was the rabbis who moved this to the age of 13. This was not done until the late Middle Ages and in my opinion should not be considered obligatory and probably should not be encouraged any more than any other extra-biblical ceremony like Christmas, Easter or whatever.


    1. But what's wrong with the Bar Mitzvah ceremony in your opinion? Do you object merely because the custom is documented in the Talmud?

  2. No - I would not go so far as to say that it should be forbidden. I simply feel that it must be clear that this is a man-made tradition, not Torah living. I am also concerned anytime we start adding ceremonies and rituals that are not biblically based. As a history teacher I can recite many, many times when this led people astray. Symbols and rituals are very powerful, if only because they are very simple. How many people will tear up at the sight of "Old Glory" waving in the wind, but then turn around and give their fellow American the finger or flaunt America's laws? I also want it made clear that we are not trying to follow Rabbinic Judaism. We are trying our hardest to follow the Bible! A Bar Mitzvah would not be assur in our congregation, but there certainly would be some caveats in place.

    1. Cajun,

      I'm glad to hear you haven't prohibited it. Let me tell you the nutshell argument for bar mitzvahs:

      Our culture is assaulting males. There's an attempt to equalize the gender, etc. Boys at the age of thirteen are often confused about certain things as well. So the bar mitzvah process offers him an opportunity to learn about all those confusing things.

      It's also a great time to learn Hebrew because this solidifies his identity. Language is a powerful tool for group identity.

      And learning Hebrew is about becoming a scholar of Torah. Now the secular culture says that reading is effeminate. That's a lie from Satan. We know that men should be taught at an early age that reading and studying are manly traits (though not the only manly traits).

      Lastly, we should celebrate life. Thirteen is an important life cycle event. Let's celebrate something special! And let's send the message that Gentiles are also worth celebrating. The Prophets say that all the goyim will go to learn Torah. So we know this is for Gentiles as well as Jews.

      May you be blessed and may your congregation be blessed.

  3. dear Peter and Cajun,
    thank you very much for this piece of information!... I'm thinking for my soon to be 13yr old son I will make something of it keeping in mind all of the above. I know turning 13 resonates deep within him and I will validate that turning 13 is special. Many thanks Peter and Cajun.
    a mum in Australia :)

    1. Anonymous,

      G-d bless you, sister. Tomorrow is my day off and so I'll try to find some time to research whether a non-Jewish bar mitzvah ceremony exists and, if it does not, then I will try to develop one myself.

      For the record, I don't see any pagan elements in the bar mitzvah process; I only see something very positive.

      Shalom and Blessings,