When Jewish boys turn thirteen years old, they are considered to be “barei mitzvah,” of “sons of mitzvah.” In addition to being a celebratory time, this age has major religious implications. According to Judaism, when a boy turns thirteen he is obligated in all the commandments incumbent upon Jewish men. This means, for example, that he must fast on Yom Kippur and don tefillin daily, he may join a miniyan, or a quorum, and more.
On the week of the boy’s bar mitzvah he gets an ailyah, in which he is called to read from the Torah during prayer service. The boy reads a portion of the Torah with the aid of a Torah pointer that somebody holds. These Torah pointers are long stick-shaped objects that point at the words of the Torah for the one reading from it. This helps the reader not get lost, which would break the fluency of the reading.
In addition to reading from the Torah, the now-man uses his Judaica synagogue items for the first time. These include a Tallit and Tefillin. You can find tefillin for different prices, depending on the type and size. There are beit yosef tefillin, dakkot tefillin, gassos tefillin, and even adult and bar mitzvah-size tefillin.
Tefillin, of course, is one of the best bar mitzvah gifts, and they come in an assortment of tefillin cases. You can find tefillin velvet cases, cases with images of Jerusalem, and more. A popular trend nowadays is to embroider the boy’s Hebrew name on the tefillin case, and perhaps even the date of the bar mitzvah. This way, even when he decides to buy a new case, the old one will always have a sentimental value.
While Ashkenazi male Jews use the tallit, prayer shawl, only after they wed, most Sephardic Jews start using them on their bar mitzvah. There are several types of tallitot, such as wool tallit, Kind David tallit, beit yosef tallit, and even silk-like tallit. Like the tefillin, the tallit also makes for a great bar mitzvah gift and is also stored in a case. Visit our OyVey Jewish blog to learn more about the Tallit, its form and how to wear it. Search through our collection of Tallit cases and Tallit Bags. Since there are so many types of tallitot, and the boy is going to wear it every single day, Shabbat, it is a good idea to consult with them about their personal preference before purchasing a tallit for them.
Since the thirteen year old can now also perform the kiddush ceremony, you can purchase a Kiddush Cup for him. There are countless kiddush cups,such Sterling silver though painted wood and ceramics, to name three. If you want to make the cup special for the Bar mitzvah occasion, you can ask an artisan to engrave the boy’s name or bar mitzvah date on the cup.
Additionally, you can always opt for picture albums and picture frames as bar mitzvah gifts. If you have a picture with the bar mitzvah boy, you can enlarge it and put it in a beautiful, personalized bar mitzvah picture frame. Such frame may have the boy’s name on it, images of Jerusalem, or motifs that you happen to know the boy loves. This will surely be much appreciated by the young adult.
Bar Mitzvah Guide
The Bar Mitzvah is an important life cycle event that occurs for boys at the age of thirteen. At this age they are required to read from the Torah for the first time and assume the responsibility of being a member of the Jewish community. The Bar Mitzvah marks the entrance to adulthood and the requirement to follow Jewish laws. These include reading from the Torah, fasting on fast days, and observing other Jewish traditions.
There are many important Jewish items involved in this special day such as Torah pointers, Tefillin, and Tallitot. Common gifts to the Bar Mitzvah boy include Kiddush Cups and jewelry.
At the age of thirteen, Jewish boys become responsible for observing Jewish commandments. One such commandment is to read the Torah. On the day of his Bar Mitzvah, a boy is required to have an Aliyah and read the Torah during the service. It is important to use a Torah pointer when reading the portion, especially if it is the first time doing so.
The Torah pointer is a long stick with a point in the shape of a finger extending from a hand. The pointer is used to find and keep your place when reading the script of the Torah. Torah pointers make for great Bar Mitzvah gifts.
Tefillin & Tallitot
Another commandment that the Bar Mitzvah boy becomes responsible for is wearing Tefillin. Tefillin are phylactery leather boxes which contain scrolls of parchment inscribed with the words of the Torah. The set of two phylacteries are worn on the arm and fingers as well as on the forehead to serve as a reminder of G-d.
Tefillin boxes are usually made of black leather and come in a set. This delicate set requires a Tefillin bag, usually made of cloth, which can be personalized with a name in Hebrew or English.
Now that the Bar Mitzvah boy has taken upon the Jewish commandments, he is required to wear a Tallit when he prays and especially when he reads Torah. The Tallit is a prayer shawl made of silk or wool which has knotted fringes on its four corners.
Tallitot come in many different colors and designs, which range from simple black and white to elaborate colorful Jerusalem designs.
At Bar Mitzvah age, the boy is now able to perform the Kiddush blessing over the wine. Therefore, a Kiddush cup makes for an ideal Bar Mitzvah gift.
Kiddush cups can be made of pewter, nickel, and ceramic materials. Many Kiddush cups display the words of the Kiddush blessing. Some Kiddush cups feature Jerusalem skyline designs.
Bar Mitzvah Jewelry
A popular gift for Bar Mitzvah boys at this crucial stage is jewelry. For boys, the best type of jewelry is a chain necklace or bracelet in silver or gold materials. A newer, more modern gift is a disc on key that comes on a chain. The disc on key can come in silver or gold and some feature a diamond. This is the best gift for a technologically minded guy for the occasion of his Bar Mitzvah.
For More Information
For more information on the Bar Mitzvah celebration or other Judaica items, feel free to contact our Judaica experts with any questions or concerns.