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Jewish Religion And Tradition: Bar And Bat Mitzvahs And Storytelling

1501 words - 7 pages

Bar and bat Mitzvah both translate to the meaning “son (or) daughter of the commandment.” The most commonly spoken language of the Jewish people and most people in the Middle East starting in 500 B.C.E – 400 C.E is the vernacular language known as Aramaic (Weinstock 2). The words: bar, bat and mitzvah all come from this language. The term “bar (bat) mitzvah” refers to two different things: first off, when a boy or girl comes of age (12/13), they have become a “bar (bat) mitzvah,” and then are recognized by the Jewish tradition as having the same rights as a grown man (Blas 1, Weinstock 2). They are now both responsible for the decisions and actions they make. The second thing it refers to is the religious ceremony that accompanies them becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. This is usually a celebratory party following the ceremony. This event incorporates a right of passage for the teenagers and makes it so they feel to be a bigger part of the Jewish community.
A bar and bat mitzvah are one of the most memorable and precious moments in every religious community. These young children are opening themselves to the central symbol of the tradition, and in the Jewish tradition, the central symbol is the Torah, “the revelation to Moses on Mount Sinai and all that has issued from it over some three thousand years” (The Pluralism Project). The bar and bat mitzvah read from the Torah because on this day they become responsible to observe the commandments, also known as mitzvoth, of the Torah.
The whole point of the bar and bat mitzvah recognition is much more than the celebration and “big day.” It is the day that a boy or girl begins to enter into a new phase of their life. They take on new responsibilities as not only a Jew, but as the child of the commandment. These children now begin to understand their position in life and get a hold of their spiritual maturity, “the ability to experience the depth and complexity of life” (Moss & The Pluralism Project).
The Torah, to many people, is one big book of stories. It tells us what we weren’t able to experience years ago in the eyes of religion. For more religious Jewish people, it is a pathway into the reasons why they do what they do in situations such as celebrating and observing different holidays. For example, a few weeks ago was a holiday we celebrate called Passover, in the Torah known as Pesach. Some people believe they know more about this holiday than they actually do. The Torah tells us about the deeper meaning of Passover, and the story behind its meaning. If it weren’t for the Torah, we wouldn’t know that the actual meaning behind it is because God “passed over” the houses of the Jews when he was told to slay the first born of Egypt. We also wouldn’t know why on this holiday we only eat matzah, the unleavened bread, but the Torah tells us the story about how the Jews had to make this bread in the time they had before they had to make their flight from Egypt. The Torah, so to say, is a huge book of...

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