In my community, Bar Mitzvah’s are a common occurrence. People have big families as it’s one of the commandments in the Torah to be fruitful and multiply. Most families have a few boys and make Bar Mitzvah’s often.
Families like mine are in the minority. I suffer from infertility and my son was born after 5 years of struggling. Six years later my daughter was born. So far, I have my one and only son. He will turn 13 next week. A Bar Mitzvah is a big deal. It’s the year the boys become men (in theory as we all know you don’t magically become mature once you turn 13), they become accountable for their own actions and may be counted as a person in the minyan (prayers). It’s also the time for them to dress in the traditional ultra Orthodox garb daily.
The Bar Mitzvah is celebrated with a festive meal attended by family and close friends. On Sabbath, the Bar Mitzvah boy is called up to read from the Torah. In our community (there are different sects, all with different customs), the boy only says the blessing. After the prayers, most people make a Kiddush (A spread/reception with cakes, fruit, salads…) In my community the people don’t make a kiddush for Bar Mitzvah’s but since this is my only son, I decided to have one at my house for my friends (ladies only). Next Sunday will be the big day. A beautiful meal celebrated with my family and friends. Many of my siblings and relatives are coming from overseas. I am making one Bar Mitzvah only so all of my siblings from all around the world are making a special effort to attend.
It’s an emotional milestone for so many reasons. He was a long awaited child, born after years of struggles. I will miss his twin brother who passed away as a baby. It should have been a twin Bar Mitzvah. The feelings will be bittersweet, glad and grateful for my surviving son and longing and sadness for his precious brother who was taken from us before we had a chance to get to know him. He will be in our thoughts on this special day.
I hope and pray that I merit to have another child, maybe another Bar Mitzvah to celebrate or a little sister for my daughter.
Son, have a happy birthday and we’re so proud of you!