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Sunday, October 03, 2004

Bar Mitzvah, then and now

One week until my second son's Bar Mitzvah.
He's going to layn (Breishis), do the Haftorah, and give a Dvar Torah afterwards. Then a nice Kiddush.
No party. No disco. No foolin' around.
And I'm OK with that.

See, about 10 years ago, our Rebbe put the Kabosh on fancy Bar Mitzvah Parties. What was going on could only be described as an "Arms Race" to waste money. And the less affluent families just couldn't keep up. Nowadays, with the cost of East Coast Bar Mitzvah's rivaling Weddings, I'm glad for once that I live in a small town. Although it means I get hired for fewer paying jobs.

Still, I think back somewhat fondly to '79, the year of my Bar Mitvah. Sure, I had to layn, do Maftir and Daven Mussaf. But an awful lot of stuff went on that really had nothing to do with becoming a mentch or Yiddishkeit for that matter. Like the candle-lighting ceremony. And the John Travolta-white tux that I had to wear. And the Lee Miles orchestra playing the Hustle (which I did with my sister). And the split-screen movie featuring the Good Me/Bad Me that I can't show to my kids.

For my son, the real impact has been not the event of the Bar Mitzvah, but how it impacts his day-to-day life. Like the fact that he puts on tfillin every day, and got a new hat. And that we now have our very own Mezuman at home, and he can count for a minyan.

Isn't that what it's supposed to be about, anyway?

1 comment:

Shira Salamone said...

Welcome to my Favorites list--I found you via Baynonim.

I have a post called "Shoftim: Sparing the fruit trees, and little else, part 2" that deals with "simcha inflation." I'm glad to hear that some folks really are trying to put the brakes on that particular runaway train.

Mazal tov to your son on becoming a Bar Mitzvah.