Bat Mitzvahs

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  • #590848
    mybat
    Member

    I went to a bat mitzvah the other day and I would like to hear peoples opinions on the matter.

    It was in a hall with 200-300 people, catered with a menu for the adults and a different menu for the youngsters. The hall was decorated with lights and flowers. There were special people making games for the kids, there was a DJ for music and last but not least they had screens and they showed a 10-15 minute movie about the bat mitzvah girl’s life up until this day with speeches from her parents and pictures of her life.

    I know that this is not a good hashkafa.

    Do you celebrate bat mitzvahs?

    If you do then how do you celebrate bat mitzvahs in your community?

    #668686
    bubbyr
    Member

    Most of the time, a Bat-Mitzvah celebration is just for the girl and her friends with Jewish music only. It is usually in some sort of catering hall or shul hall with a kid oriented meal and decorations. Often the grandparents and siblings are invited with a couple of the parents closest friends. If the parents want to celebrate, as well, we often do a kiddush in shul (low key) or a Friday night tea with divrei Torah.

    #668687
    ronrsr
    Member

    Why is this specific to Bnot Mitzvah celebration? If it had been a bar-mitzvah celebration, would you have been any less offended?

    #668688
    willi
    Member

    We don’t celebrate Bat mitzvahs. I’m not here to tell others what to do (about bat mitzvas in general) but if you’re asking, I think the above mentioned event is a complete waste of money and sets a bad standard for others.

    #668689
    onlyemes
    Member

    Sounds like a nice Bat Mitzvah. Every family is different and each family is entitled to do it their way. It’s a perfectly good hashkafah.

    In Europe, Bat Mitzvahs were not celebrated, and most often neither were Bar Mitzvahs. Today there are many celebrations big and small for many events and a Bat Mitzvah is one of them. If someone doesn’t like it, say no, thank you, and stay home.

    #668690
    arc
    Participant

    To attend and complain is bad form.

    #668691
    tzippi
    Member

    I agree with everyone:

    – Not great for a bar mitzvah either.

    – Are they setting the bar for everyone else? There are some people who just do these things, the rest of us smile, and if invited enjoy the evening out; there’s NO question that we or our kids will feel a need to keep up with the Cohenses.

    The story goes that Rav Shach’s son was a year older than his sister. The kiddush that week was in honor of the son, the shalosh seudos for the daughter. Anyone heard this? And was it de riguer to make a shalosh seudos for a bas mitzvah?

    #668692
    mybat
    Member

    I was not complaining about the bat mitzvah. It was actually of a very close relative and we went with a lot of happiness.

    I was just wondering if this is the norm in litvish circles in NY.

    In recent years people have started making these types of parties in Mexico and I just wanted to hear different ideas for celebrating this special day in a young girls life. (I am not asking about bar mitzvahs because the bar mitzvah boys read from the sefer torah and put on tefillin for the first time)

    #668693
    mazal77
    Participant

    In my daughters school, the girls are not allowed to have a Bat Mitzvah party(birthday parties are not allowed either). They tell the parents that it is a special time to be shared with the girl’s family only.

    Another girls yeshiva nearby also, banned the Bat Mitzvah parties. Some of the wealthier families were just making really big parties and it was getting out of hand.

    A realitive of mine made her daughter a bat mitzvah party at home. She made a Meleve Malka and as an activity, for the girls, she bought a paint by number kit, which she found very cheap. They played music and danced after. Very nice and very simple.

    #668694
    Jothar
    Member

    The Zohar which discusses the seudas bar mitzvah of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai would lechora apply to bas mitzvahs (and, to a lesser extent, tzitzis parties) as well. However, what gets lost is the PURPOSE of the celebration, which is to celebrate the person’s obligation in the Torah, not a “rite of passage”.

    Why don’t people make a “bar onshin” party at 20?

    #668695
    truthsharer
    Member

    A bas mitzvah is the same as a bar mitzvah, except one is for a boy and one is for a girl.

    A bar mitzvah is NOT a seudas mitzvah and in Europe a piece of cake and a cup of shnapps was all a kid could count on.

    #668696
    ronrsr
    Member

    yes, dear truthsharer, but that was also a different age. In the last several decades, we have changed the way women are recognized, treated and regarded in society.

    There were many things we could not count on in Europe.

    #668697
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Our daughter Wilma* had her bat-mitzvah last year.

    We had a very simple celebration. We invited family, a few close friends and the girls in her class. We served milchigs (bagels, spreads, baked ziti, lasagna, etc.) in a shul basement that doubles as a simple hall. We encouraged Wilma to come up with a chesed project idea for her bat-mitzvah, which she did (she grew her hair long and donated it to Locks of Love). We had some Jewish CDs for music and there was no dancing.

    For our son’s bar-mitzvah, we established a policy of no speeches — except for *short* speeches by me and the bar mitzvah boy. We continued that for Wilma — I spoke for about five minutes and then she spoke about the parsha and how it related to her now becoming obligated to keeping the mitzvos.

    Overall, it was a very nice affair (IMHO) which was not ostentatious, had religious meaning and yet allowed her to commemorate the special day.

    The Wolf

    *No – Wilma’s not her real name. 🙂

    #668698
    oomis
    Participant

    When it is more Bar than mitzvah, it is not appropriate for the boys, either. I see no reason why people should not celebrate when either their son or daughter reaches the age of kabalas ol hamitzvos, but not in a showy and garish way of conspicuous consumption.

    A boy is no more special than a girl, and it is therefore no less a simcha when a girl reaches Bas-Mitzvah. The difference is that a boy gets an aliyah to the Torah. They are both equally chayav in the mitzvos. If anything, a girl has that distinction a year earlier than a boy. Anyone who goes overboard for either event, is wasting an opportunity, IMO. My father O”H used to say it would be far better to give the money being spent on unnecessary things for the party (such as both a smorgasbord AND a meal, a Viennese Table or flowers), and donate it to tzedaka. The Divrei Torah being given at the simcha, make it special, along with the lebedigkeit.

    #668699
    ronrsr
    Member

    Wolfish and Musings,

    I so agree with both of you.

    I think many types of celebrations are getting out-of-hand. I was just to a wedding where they spent more on flowers than we spent on our whole wedding. They have the money, and I know they certainly gave a great deal of tzedekah, certainly proportionally more than we gave. But I was still a bit uncomfortable, I’m not sure why yet.

    #668701
    arc
    Participant

    people have the rite to spend their money how they see fit. (i’m not referring to takanos) you cant tell someone dont spend your money on fancy things give it to tzedakah.

    #668703
    bein_hasdorim
    Participant

    Wow! mybat is she an only child or girl?

    #668704
    mybat
    Member

    She’s not an only child and she’s not the only girl either. It has become standard to make very big bashes here. A relative brought Miami boys choir to their sons bar mitzvah a few years ago. (don’t forget airfare and hotel)

    I am not judging. I just want to hear if this is seen as normal in most circles.

    #668705
    oomis
    Participant

    Arc, people DO have the right to spend their money as they see fit, you are correct. But when they spend all that money on unnecessary frills for a party that lasts four hours, and then claim they have no money to give to tzedaka (which I have seen happen more times than I would like), that is not frumkeit. And who said not to spend money on fancy things – most people here just feel that excess is wrong.

    #668706
    feivel
    Participant

    if one think Jews have some “right” to spend their money (after explicit chiuvim are met) as they deem fit, you do not understand from Whom comes that money. you do not understand for Whom you were appointed as treasurer and manager of that money. if you think that money is yours, you have a very crooked concept of the Torah and your existence and purpose in the world.

    #668707
    Poster
    Member

    In our circles we dont celebrate bat mitzvahs any differently than we do a birthday party. While a Bar Mitzvah is done in a catering hall with guests, flowers, invitations, speaches – the works.

    Men and women equal rights seems to me to be a goyishe thing, not sure why.

    WolfishMusings, I think the idea of encouraging your daughter to come up with a chesed project idea for her bat-mitzvah is beautiful, and the idea she chose almost brings tears to my eyes. It is special when children see growing up as not just turning a year older but as a chance to become a special person and to make a difference.

    #668708
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    OK, feivel, so what do you suggest? That we ask a shaila every time we spent a discretionary cent?

    The Wolf

    #668710
    feivel
    Participant

    nothing you do is discretionary

    please see Chovos HaLavovos, Msilus Yesharim, and Sharaii Tshuvah

    #668711
    ronrsr
    Member

    and if people start spending less on simchas, who suffers? The musicians, the caterers, the florists, among others. This is a knotty question with far-reaching ramifications.

    #668712
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    nothing you do is discretionary

    please see Chovos HaLavovos, Msilus Yesharim, and Sharaii Tshuvah

    Hmm. Nothing? So, if I have a choice between eating tuna fish or salmon for lunch, I should ask a shaila to determine which is the proper choice (since nothing is discretionary)? Should I ask a shaila before spending any cent over and above what is necessary for our basic support?

    The Wolf

    #668713
    haifagirl
    Participant

    Should I ask a shaila before spending any cent over and above what is necessary for our basic support?

    I am sure there are those who would say “yes.” However, I am not one of them.

    #668714
    feivel
    Participant

    i didnt say anything about asking a shaila. if your seichel is relatively pure of false ideas absorbed from the nations, if one is not so foolish as to think ones seichel can remain somehow above the environment he assimilates into,

    if you work on yourself to fulfill your purpose as a Kadosh, if you are concerned for what HaKodeshBorchu wants you to do, if you love Hashem, if you understand what it means to be a Holy Yid, if you learn the Halochos relevant to your question, you may not need to ask a shaila very often. if one has assimilated the attitudes and values of the Umas ha Olam, then you probably also will ask few shailas.

    if you think that particular choice is discretionary you should carefully study the relevant section in Chovos HaLevovos where he demonstrates clearly that nothing is discretionary. this is a basic fundamental of this world and found in many classic Seforim.

    EDITED

    #668722
    Jothar
    Member

    There is a machlokes haposkim how one should celebrate Bat Mitzvahs. Swiping from Harav Daniel Neustadt:

    Rav Walkin (Zekan aharon 1:6)holds bas mitzvahs are a goyishe custom and should be avoided.Rav Moshe feinstein ( OC 1:104) holds it’s like any other birthday party and is not a seudas mitzvah. The Sridei Eish 3:93 and Rav Avadia yosef (Yabia Omer 2:29) hold it is a seudas mitzvah. However, both The Igros Moshe and the Sridei Eish holds it shouldn’t be celebrated in a shul.

    Rav Moshe ZT”l clarifies in OC 2:97 why a girl’s bas mitzvah is treated differently from a bar mitzvah. The boy undergoes a change in his public mitvzah obervance (Tefillin, minyan, etc) and this warrants a public celebration. The girl’s change is in private observance, and this does not warrant a party. I would like to look up these Igros Moshes inside, since the Zohar which is the source for bar mitzvah celebrations would lechora apply to both.

    #668723
    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    feivel:

    What you said seems to be Calvinist. Please explain how this interacts with the ideas of Bechira, Halachah, and the concept of a “D’var Rishus”.

    Thanks

    [email protected]

    #668724
    oomis
    Participant

    ” If you think that particular choice is discretionary you should carefully study the relevant section in Chovos HaLevovos where he demonstrates clearly that nothing is discretionary. this is a basic fundamental of this world and found in many classic Seforim. “

    “Tell that to all the people who rent a fancy bungalow every summer, or build a summer home in the mountains. Exactly how many residences DO we need? I am pretty sure many of the husbands have learned what is in the classic seforim, and the many rabbonim who go away every summer are surely familiar with the Chovos Halevovos. hashem gave us a world to enjoy. He did not order us to live like ascetics, and in fact we are held accountable for doing so after 120 years, and are asked why we did not partake of the good life (while following the Torah guidelines). If one is blessed with wealth, no one suggests that the person should not travel, buy nice clothing, etc. It just should not be to excess, and it should always be with the idea that as Hashem did a chessed to make them wealthy, so should they show chessed towards others who are not.

    I once heard a very well-off woman complain that she was tired of having to pay full tuition, so that other people could get scholarship assistance, which was parlt subsidized by those paying the big tuition bills. The person she was speaking to answered her, “Maybe that’s the reason Hashem gave you all that money, in the first place. So you would have that zechus.”

    #668726
    mybat
    Member

    I agree with poster. What wolfish’s daughter did is a very nice idea.

    Mazal I know of schools in Brooklyn that don’t allow bat mitzvah parties or even birthday parties. Now after I have seen how things get out of hand I totally understand why certain rosh yeshivahs would ban them.

    A melave malka sounds really nice though.

    #668727
    zachy r
    Member

    a bar mitzva is a seudat mitzvah in reality “truthsharer”

    the common misconception of a bar mitzvah party may be incorrect but there is an inyan to have a suedat mitzvah when u become bar mitzvah

    #668728
    tamazaball
    Member

    a girl ones made a pijama party for her batmitzva and the next day the school called the mother screeming why did she put them a movie( parent trap) after that girls party the other classmates started making big bashes. what is better?

    #668729
    oomis
    Participant

    “The boy undergoes a change in his public mitvzah obervance (Tefillin, minyan, etc) and this warrants a public celebration. The girl’s change is in private observance, and this does not warrant a party.”

    That was extremely interesting and educational. I would propose that a girl also undergoes a public change (though clearly not as obvious as a boy), because she fasts publicly when required by halacha, and though her observance is otherwise mostly indeed private, she is equally responsible to fulfill the mitzvos as the boy is. And though something perhaps may not necessarily warrant a party, it is nonetheless permissible and a nice thing to do for a girl, to mark the occasion. I still believe one should not go overboard, however.

    #668731
    mazca
    Member

    Well let me tell you, I love the idea that bat mitzvas were not so big when my daughters were growing up since it saved me a lot of money but in reality now I think to myself “why not” just because they are girls they do not deserve the same recognition as boys once they reach this beautiful age.

    #668732
    tzippi
    Member

    Mazca, I’m trying to remember what I spent on the boys that I didn’t on the girls. Here you go: Tefillin, a kiddush in shul (would have done one in the house if possible), homemade food for the family that came to town for Shabbos (who didn’t for the girls).

    We made the same seuda for the girls and their classes that we did for the boys; didn’t do an arts and crafts project for the boys 😉

    That’s about it.

    (Husband taught the boys how to lain, so no spending there.)

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