We all want to make a Bar Mitzvah by the Kotel, the most sacred place where Jews are now allowed to pray since the 1960s. The Divine Presence never left the Western Wall through centuries, so this choice is definitely not surprising. Almost every day, there are a lot of people here: with songs, candies, photographers and videographers and, of course, the main thing – reading the Torah.
It is interesting that Shulchan Aruch does not mention anything about the custom of the Bar Mitzvah. And in the ‘Talmud Nedarim’, he writes that a boy from the age of 13 one day becomes a conscious person and becomes obliged to all the commandments, but this is called as “Alaha Moshe mi-Sinai” – the tradition that goes along as an unbroken chain connecting the Written and Oral Torah. It is the obligation of observing the commandments that begins for the Jewish boy on this day, singles him out of other nations, makes him holy, which in Hebrew means “dedicated”.
The role of Torah during Bar Mitzvah ceremony at the Kotel
In the Code of Jewish Laws, Mishnah, it is written that the Jewish boy first ascends to the Torah on Saturday before the week when he turns 13 years old. As a rule, he begins to wear Tefillin a month before but only as a practice.
Of course, most boys – Bar Mitzvahs, the ascending of whom are held here are from non-strict religious families, and this event not only introduces them to the adult world but also brings closer to the Tradition itself. After all, even a non-religious family that decides to hold Bar Mitzvah at the Wailing Wall takes a huge step toward its roots. For every Jewish guy, this is an exciting and unforgettable event, and especially if it is near the Temple, in the presence of the whole family.
Under the Chuppah
The ceremony sometimes begins in the Old Town, around the Jaffa Gate. The boy is called “the bridegroom of the commandment” on this day, and therefore he may be led under the Chuppah – a canopy with four sticks, under which a wedding ceremony is performed – and this is ‘wedding with traditions’ if it can be said so.
Who is Bar Mitzvah here?
The procession turns into a happy crowd: it is accompanied by drummers and trumpeters, and the family is given rattles, whistles, bells, harmonica to make it fun. Though, these all are optional.
Here can be found several companies that organize Bar Mitzvah; as a rule, these are quite professional inventors. In an entertaining form, they will tell a story about the commandments that a Jewish guy should begin to observe, about the history of the building and destroying the Temple, and about the two main events of this day – imposing Tefillin and ascending for reading Torah.
The Torah Reading
Here it is, an exciting point of the day, the culmination of the feast – reading the Torah. With what tenderness and love every boy reads for the first time in his life the scroll of the Holy Torah! It is so touching and warm!
After the ceremony, each family makes photos for memory. The most common photo is a picture against the backdrop of the Kotel – perhaps, every Jew living in any country in the world has such a picture.