Adult Bar Mitzvah – the history of greatest importance for all of us
For many years and centuries now, starting from 16th century BC, Bar Mitzva (also written as ‘Bar Mitzvah’) is celebrated by young boys and their families. The reason for that is becoming officially united with God in the religion of Judaism.
Boys and girls have their own versions of this festive day. So, these are called Bar Mitzvah / Bat Mitzvah, in Israel. In the series of future articles, we will tell you more about the holiday itself, how it is conducted and what rules follows. But now, we want to focus more on the place itself: telling you, why Bar Mitzvah is done at the Kotel, Western Wall and why it is so important.
What is so special about Western Wall in Jerusalem
For many generations of Jews, and generally, for over 2,000 years now, the Kotel in Jerusalem is the second-large sacred place in the world (after the Temple in Jerusalem located on the Temple Mountain). The Wall has the general length of about 485 meters, while only several pieces of it are open publically:
- the main site for saying prayers and wailing is 57-meters piece on the Western slope of the Temple Mountain that is open its façade to the square in Jewish Quarter
- the south part of the Wall with about 80 meters in length
- and about 8 meters site (also known as the Small Western Wall) close to Iron gates in Muslim Quarter of the Old City.
The Wall is often called the Kotel – as the part of Jewish word הכותל, which is a part of its large definition, הַכֹּתֶל הַמַעֲרָבִי that is pronounced as “Ha-Kotel ha-Maaravi”. The short part (‘Kotel’) has become another common English name for the Wall, which has other widely known definitions – Western Wall (because it is located on the West from the remnants of the Temple) and Wailing Wall (because Jewish people come here to wail – cry – about Temple’s destruction in ancient days).
The wall is located inside of Jerusalem – the most sacred city of the world, according to Jewish sacred texts of Torah and traditional beliefs. It is considered so for over 3,000 years by Jews and over 2,000 years by Christians.
“Jerusalem” name is a combination of two: “Jeru”, which is a derivation from ancient Jewish word jira (iiru or ieru), which mean ‘reverence’ or ‘awe’ (in front of God Almighty) and ‘Salem’, which was the name of the Lower City on the east that was called Salem (being located opposed to the Land of Moria). Salem may be understood as ‘God’, ‘God-blessed’, or ‘God-chosen’. Altogether, the name of Jerusalem means ‘the absolute awe in front of God.’
The Wall is the only thing that was left from the ancient Second Temple that was destroyed in 70th year BC. The Western Wall is the closest part of the wall to the ‘Holy of Holies’ – the outstanding place, inner sanctuary of the Tabernacle where God dwelt, according to religious belief. And this part of the Wall that everybody comes to is the one that located as close as possible to this sanctuary (above the surface of the ground).
Although the Wall isn’t a sacred piece itself, it serves as eternal and alive memory about the Second Temple days, which every Jew has to mourn and remember (within the greater mission of Jewish people – to make every person on Earth eventually accept the Temple as the center of Creation Act of everything (by God) and Jerusalem as the sacred city that hosts the biggest and only holiness on Earth). According to some data, it is the belief that the presence of God never leaves the Wall. So every of its stone and piece is considered holy and sacred.
Another reason why the Wailing Wall is so sacred – that when the Second Temple was completely destroyed to the ground, the walls surrounding it never were. As they have not fallen during the events that demolished the Temple nor they did during 20 centuries from that time, it is believed they are specifically maintained by the Holy Spirit, which is the pure God’s presence, as the last thing that physically endured from those times. That’s why they mean the God’s presence who wanted people to see the daily evidence that He never left Earth generally and Jerusalem particularly.
So what Jewish Bar Mitzvah ceremony includes at the Wall
Now, from the brief representation above, we know about the importance of the Kotel (Western Wall) and Jerusalem in general for the religious people and belief itself. That is why it is of the highest possible religious importance for Judaism to make Bar Mitzvah as close to the Shrine as possible. Though never specifically outspoken by Torah’s writing about how or where Bar and Bat Mitzvah must be conducted, it is believed that the closer your religious life begins to the Shrine, the closer you will be to the God during all your sane life. And, wearing Tefillin in proximity to it, you have the shortest possible connection to the God.
To do that, many young people, their parents, grandparents, and friends arrive from all corners of the world to celebrate the ceremony of bar e bat mitzvah specifically here, close to the place where the world has started, where God started Universe from scratch (‘and there was light’).
Not only boys and girls of 13/12 years (accordingly) come here to start being united with God. Those of Jews who were forced not to celebrate his/her Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony in young years (due to various circumstances and reasons, including political), want now to come here and conduct the ceremony to feel this eternal bliss inside of selves.
Bar Mitzvah with our assistance
We know several appropriate places near the Kotel to celebrate the ceremony. The first one is at the publically open place of 57 meters at the Square. However, it is a very popular location for many people and ceremonies. So it is always overcrowded and no more provides the feeling of intimate unity with God as one would want.
So the next location is a little bit afar, 15 meters down the stairs, which opens a more secluded location, less crowded and thus more intimate. What’s specifically good for this place – unlike the location #1, it has no fence parting females from males, allowing everyone to participate in your boy’s or girl’s ceremony. So it is relatively quiet, has tables and seats, and suitable for every gender. What’s more – it is also in proximity to the Wall, so no problems with that.
The other locations embrace the open sites of the Wall, not specifically must they be Western part – for those who will not decide to plunge self into the crowd or not wanting to descend low on stairs. For such occasions, we have the place, for instance, covered with a stone arch that also may protect from the precipitations.
Whatever place you’ll choose – with us, all your bar mitzvah activities will be conducted at the proximity to the holiest place on Earth, according to your desires, and with a full understanding of the importance of the solemn moment.