When you look up "Bat and Bar Mitzvah" , you get many online results. Explanations, traditions, venues and drasha ideas all come afloat. The first search result tells you that Bat and Bar Mitzvah is a Jewish coming of age ritual for boys and girls.
While this definition is basically true, it lacks so much of what makes Bat and Bar Mitzvah so special.
Most cultures have their own coming of age rituals, which are also called Rites of Passage. It's interesting to take a moment and step aside, disassociating ourselves with all we know, the sacred beliefs and traditions we grew up into, and look at our lovely Bat and Bar Mitzvah ritual from an anthropological point of view.
Ask a friend who wasn't born into our unique faith what's Bat and Bar Mitzvah and they'll tell you about the party, about the circles of aunts and uncles joining hands in Hava Nagila and possibly mention a salmon bagel.
Let's put ourselves in the shoes of one of those good people who only know the basics of this special birthday, so we could have a closer, and more neutral look at our rite of passage.
These are all great questions we often forget to ask ourselves. Being so used to certain aspects of our own faith means we sometimes take things for granted, never stopping to ask the simple questions, like why and when.
Before we try to answer these questions, let's enjoy the naiveness that comes along with neutrality. Looking at things from the eyes of an outsider, or even from the eyes of a child. Possibly a 10 year old girl or boy, soon so be going through their very own rite of passage.
Our kids these days are often consumed with how big the party will be and fancy will their outfit look. That's what they see all around them. As their family and actual offline influencers, we have the privilege and responsibility to make sure they know the answers to these questions. That our smart, healthy and kind children, see beyond the amazing album they're going to create and past the awesome video that they're going to show during the party. Same as our dear parents did for us when we were at this semi-intelligible age, we are the lucky ones, preparing ourselves for a good talk with our kids this time. Yes, we have to keep it light so they won't get bored, and of course, we have to pretend it's casual rather than planned so they won't feel ambushed. But the bottom line is the same - our wonderful children will enjoy their Bat and Bar Mitzvah celebration all the more, thanks to the fact that they will understand its origins.
They should know that the jewish people started celebrating Bat and Bar Mitzvah in the middle ages. It was mentioned in the Mishnah and Talmud, but became a real thing, only later.
It's important they understand we wait until they're 12 and 13 since that's when we believe they're grown up enough to bear responsibility for their own fate. We keep them under our wings for as long as we keep; protecting, guiding and of course preparing too much of their favorite food, but from the age of 12 and 13, whether they washed their hands for bread or said Modah Ani in the morning, reflects solely on them, no longer on us.
Lastly, we call it Bat and Bar Mitzvah, since we declare to the world, that now, this child, who in our eyes will forever be due for a warm embrace, is now subjected to the law. She and he are now in charge of their own actions in the eyes of Hashem. We will forever do what we can to lead in the right path and get them fat, but their lives are eventually in their own hands.
Changing the way we look at our offsprings is a tricky thing. Letting go of the image we have in our hands, of the first time they pulled themselves upright using the coffee table, is impossible. Our job as their guardians is to remember how tiny they were, while inspiring them to greatness.
Inspiring greatness can be done in many ways. Today we wanted to share one of those, in the form of gift ideas which will make the Bat and Bar Mitzvah kallah and chassan super happy, and connected with their faith.
The Shalom Dove Tzedakah Box is a great way to instill the sense of giving and helping others. Giving this gift, you're also granting a life full of mitzvahs, and don't forget about the fact that all the tzedakah put in a box your gifted, also counts as your mitzvah!
This adorable Zebra Menorah by Inna is a wonderful gift idea to make the Bat and Bar Mitzvah look forward to Hannukah!
Dual-Purpose Dreidel you say? Yes! This colorful dreidel can also be used as a candle holder, for Hanukkah or Shabbat!
Make the Bat and Bar Mitzvah's room stylish and fun with this Giraffe Mezuzah. What a lovely way to keep our faith on top of our minds. Their friends are bound to ask them about this fun item, sparking a slightly deeper conversation than the latest video on their trending app.
Welcome shabbat with grace using these Crystal Candle Holders with Sterling Silver Embellishments. Those moments where we light shabbat candles are magical and close to our hearts. Make the Bat and Bar Mitzvah feel even more included with their very own set of candle holders.
Last but not least is this fun and absolute must-have item - the Jerusalem City Map Baseball. Toss the ball around while discussing the holy city, our people's past and tradition. The Jerusalem ball is a great way of keeping meaningful notions close to the heart of our children.
We encourage you to go over the full list of Bat and Bar Mitzvah gift ideas. Take a moment to choose an item that can resonate most significantly with you and your Bat and Bar Mitzvah.
This special age and birthday celebration is a wonderful opportunity to give a gift that lasts a lifetime.
Mazal tov and many happy returns from us here at Shalom House!