at the Western Wall with Reb Gutman Locks on Mystical Paths
Bar mitzvah does not mean a party as many people mistakenly believe. Bar means “son”, and mitzvah means “commandment.” A bar mitzvah is a Jewish male who has attained the age of responsibility. At 13 years old a Jewish male automatically becomes a bar mitzvah, and is therefore able and obligated by the Torah to fulfill the commandments that are given to the Jewish men.
Often, Jewish men who were raised in nonreligious home tell me that they were never bar mitzvah’ed. This is not true. They should say that they never celebrated their bar mitzvah, but they surely became a bar mitzvah when they became 13 years old
Bar mitzvah goes by birthday, not by size, or appearance. It took this little boy quite some time to convince me that he was old enough to put on tefillin. He seemed to be 10 years-old, and trying to fool me so he could get to put on tefillin as a lot of Israeli kids like to do. But no, in a few days he was turning 13, so he was able to put on tefillin.