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How much preparation should a child have prior to his Bar Mitzvah?
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Does a Bar Mitzvah boy have to read the Torah in public?

by Rabbi Tzvi Shapiro

  

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Reading from the Torah is an honor, not an obligation.

A person becomes Bar Mitzvah regardless of whether he is called to the Torah or not (See "What is Bar/Bat Mitzvah?"). There is, however, a universal tradition that the Bar Mitzvah boy is called up to the Torah on the Shabbat after he turns 13. Having the boy perform the entire reading is a recent custom that seems to have arisen in 19th century Germany, and is not practiced universally.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Shabbat » Reading of the Torah
Life Cycle » Bar/Bat Mitzvah » Reading of the Torah

Mitzvah
(pl. Mitzvot). A commandment from G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Bar Mitzvah
The thirteenth birthday of a Jewish male. On this day -- customarily celebrated with a modest party -- the adolescent reaches adulthood and is responsible to observe all the commandments of the Torah.