Project Description

The meaning of the Western Wall

The Western Wall is often referred to as the Wailing Wall or Kotel. It is one of the most significant places for the representatives of Judaism. This ancient limestone wall is situated in the old part of Jerusalem. It is strongly connected to the Temple Mount, which is why the wall is thought to be holy. It is also the place, where Jewish people come to pray.

There are certain days on which the Torah is recited at the Kotel. It is read on Monday, Thursday, Rosh Chodesh (which is the 1st day of every month), and finally chol hamoed (all the days between Sukkot & Passover). Only on those days, it is allowed to celebrate Bar mitzvah by the Kotel.

Bar Mitzvah meaning

Initiation is one of the most important occasions in the life of every Jewish boy. When he gets 13, he is considered to be an adult person and a member of a Jewish community. The occasion requires serious and long preparations. The boy starts preparing several months before the event. He attends the lessons of a Rabbi in order to learn the Hebrew language and the verses of the Hebrew Scripture.

The family is usually ready to spend lots of money to make the occasion special. Along with the official Bar Mitzvah ceremony, there is a party with delicious snacks, music, dances, and photographs. People usually prepare every detail including decorations, dishes, clothes, cake, etc. The guests come to congratulate a young man on the occasion. They bring gifts, greeting cards, and sweets. The celebration might last till the late night.

As soon as initiation is over, the boy is no more a child but a man. Now he has to pray and read his Torah portion of the week, which is separately selected to chant on a definite week. Thus, he recites it almost every day in the morning as all the rest of the adult Jews.

This week Torah portion. Torah reading for today

The portion is selected for a week. Every day the Jews come and chant it publicly. It happens during the morning service. Partial readings start in the afternoon of Shabbat, then come the readings during the morning prayers, and full readings during Shabbat morning services.

Bar Mitzvah Torah portion

It is impossible to read the whole Hebrew Scripture during the ceremony. That’s why several verses are usually selected for the event. The portion is chosen in accordance with the character and thinking of a certain child.

Bar mitzvah at the Wailing Wall

The ceremony consists of a few parts. The first one is blessings. It includes putting on the Tefillin and repeating the Sh’ma. The next stage is the most significant. The young man who celebrates Bar mitzvah should come to the Wailing Wall and cite the blessings during the reading. The male guests also participate in the celebration. It’s required to select the ones to fulfill the certain duties on the event. They should:

  • take out the scroll
  • raise up the scroll before & after the reading
  • pass the scroll to the young man celebrating his initiation
  • read the Torah.

If you are selected for any of the duties, it is a great honor. For the Jewish people, it is preferable to choose family members.

Besides reading, the ceremony is accompanied by the music. It creates a joyful atmosphere and makes Bar Mitzvah a real holiday.

After the end of the reading, the Bar Mitzvah boy is always given a time for a private pray. Then he can place a note between the Wailing Wall’s ancient stones.

Bar Mitzvah speech

Speeches during the initiation are another important part of the occasion. The hero of the event is responsible for the preparation of his speech, which then will be delivered in front of his family, friends, and other guests. Many young men are afraid of this stage of the occasion but the truth is that there is nothing difficult in writing a speech. The latest usually consists of several parts:

  • It includes the welcoming words directed to the guests.
  • Hebrew Scripture wisdom. It contains a part of the Torah weekly portion (it might be a story or a certain idea).
  • Personal significance. The boy should tell what the ceremony means to him as well as what influence the maturation has on him.
  • First, express your gratitude to your parents as well as other relatives. Then it is vital to thank the rabbi and finally, all the guests for coming.

It is important to express your own feelings and emotions in the speech. Before the ceremony, it is necessary to repeat it a few times a week.