Bar - Bat Mitswa
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Limud Bar - Bat Mitswa

Usually, on the evening of the Bar Mitswa’s birthday, a Limud, (Lezing, literally ‘Reading’) is organized. Since WW2, also for the Bat Mitswa a Limud is organized.

The general structure is followed. The table shows the specific texts. Although there is no evidence of a fixed selection of Tenach and Mishna for the actual readings, the following is used, based on lists.


Some parts are sung when used

Shira (שמות ט"ו) 
Psalm 29, psalm 67 various melodies for psalms 117-118 and psalm 128

Some examples of the special Nevi'im melody: Melachim 1-6 11 Jeshaya 40, Jirmiya 2


Bar Mitswa:

Torah                תורה

בראשית כ"ז: כ"ח-כ"ט; כ"ח: ג'-ד'; מ"ט: כ"ה-כ"ו
שמות ט"ו: א'-י"ח

ויקרא: ג': א'-י"ז: ז': י"א-ל"ח; כ"ו: ג'-י"ג
במדבר: ו': כ"ב-כ"ז; ט"ו: א'-ט"ז
דברים: ז: י"ב-ט"ו; כ"ח: א'-י"ג; ל"ג: א'-כ"ט

Nevi’im           נביאים

ירמיהו: ב: א'-ג': י"ז: ז'-ט"ו.

Ketuvim          כתובים

תהלים, מזמורים 
 ט"ו, כ"ט, ל', ס"ז, ק', קי"ז, קי"ח, קכ"ח, קל"ג, קל"ד.

Mishna            משנה

חגיגה ג-א חומר או שבת כב-א חבית
ביצה ב-א
יום טובו
יומא ח-א
יום הכיפורים
מגילה א-א

The Ashkenazi parents of Uri Engelsman, friends of JBS' parents, made a Limud on the occasion of his Bar Mitswa in 1960, following the example of JBS' second brother four years earlier (see below list 1956). On the occasion of the Bar Mitswa of Uri's grandson's Lior Yosef in 2022 in Israel, a Limud was held. Uri investigated the background of the selected Limud texts, which can be downloaded.

Bat Mitswa:

Torah                תורה

בראשית ב כא-כה, יא כט-לב, כד י-כו & ס-סז, כט ט-יז, מח טז
שמות ט"ו: א'-י"ח
ויקרא ז יא-טו
במדבר ו כב-כז

Nevi’im           נביאים

שופטים ד ד-י
שמואל א ב א-י
ירמיהו ב א-ג

Ketuvim          כתובים

תהילים מזמור
סז, ק, קיז, קיח, קכח, קלג
רות ד יא-כב

Mishna            משנה

חגיגה ג-א חומר או שבת כב-א חבית
ביצה ב-א
יום טוב
יומא ח-א
יום הכיפורים
מגילה א-א

wpe1.jpg (28992 bytes) Lezing bar mitswa-page-001.jpg (154380 bytes) Lezing-JBS.jpg (831595 bytes) lezing.jpg (51053 bytes)
  List 1956                list 1950's         private list        booklets 190's
(the 1956 list is the invitation plus program of the Limud on the occasion on the bar mitzvah of the 2nd brother of JBS)


Recordings: NN, AAV & JBS.

Torah is read with the normal melody.

Sjemot 15: The shira is sung in unison.

Debariem 28:13: Care is taken to chant the concluding words of this section (hayom lishmor wela’asot) on the melody regularly used for the ending of an kapittel (Aliya). 

Nevi’im is read with a special melody, only used at a limud.


Tehilim are recited. There is a particular chant in use for reciting tehilim. The mizmorim are not said responsively between a leader and the group (except Min Hametzar in Psalm 118).

Psalm 29 is sung in unison on the melody used when returning the Sefer to the Hechal on shabbat.

Psalm 67 is sung in unison.

The bar mitzvah himself reads Psalm 100 (מזמור לתודה)

Psalms 117 and 118 of the Hallel are chanted responsively with the leader just as in the synagogue on Yom Tob. However, the verses from ‘Odecha’ until ‘Hatzlicha na’ are chanted only once. Another difference is that while in the Synagogue service one single melody ought to be used from ‘Hallelu’ until ‘Hatzlicha na’, the leader of a Lezing has the liberty to switch to a different melody for ‘Odecha’ and again for ‘Ana Hashem’. 


Traditionally, four Mishnayot are recited between Kol Yisrael and Ribi Chanaya. Their beginning letters spell the word ‘Chayyim’:חיים


At the end of the Limud, the Rabbi or leader recites a Mi Sheberach. There is no real evidence of written tradition for the text, but the following is currently used[1]:

מי שברך אבותינו אברהם יצחק ויעקב, משה ואהרון ודוד ושלמה 
הוא יברך וישמר וינצור ויעזור את הבחור הנחמד

שהגיע היום למצוות, שיהיה לו בסימן טוב ובמזל טוב.
וגם יברך את אביו ואת אמו ואת אחיו ואת אחיותיו ואת זקניו ואת כל משפחתו
וגם יברך את מורנו הרב... ואת כל הרבנים
וגם יברך את מנהגי ופרנסי קהילתנו
וגם יברך את כל היושבים כאן אנשים ונשים, זקנים עם נערים, יחד אבות ובנים.
וכן יהי רצון, ונאמר אמן 

Next the Bar Mitzvah may deliver a derasha, to be followed by greetings from invited guests and the father.  The Rabbi does not give a speech, as he will address the bar Mitzvah on Shabbat following the service.


On the Shabbat the father of the bar mitzvah gets the mitzvah of Acompanhará (walking in front of the Torah when it is brought from the Heichal to the Tebah and back). 

The Bar Mitzvah himself is called as Maftir. He is called with name (exceptional, see Haftarah) and he himself reads the Haftarah. In the mi sheberach, the following is added: que Deus o faça gozar muitos anos (that the Lord may grant him many years). As boys under bar mitzvah are called as Maftir as well, the Bar Mitzvah boy must be called to the Torah at Mincha to fulfil the obligation of being called to the Torah.

It is the custom that the bar mitzvah boy goes to his mother for a beracha after he finishes the haphtarah. There is no evidence to the origin of this. 

On a bar mitzvah, the golden ponteiro (yad) is used.

During the Service, two boys under the age of bar mitzvah, so called Padrinhos, accompany the bar mitzvah boy wherever he goes.


If the bar mitzvah boy is a Cohen, the duchan is sung in the melody of the Regalim. For the washing, the large “Queen of Sheba” laver is used.

Haftarah Nachamu, as recorded by S. Alvares Vega in 1939 at the occasion of his bar mitzvah, original recording and noise-reduced version. Mr. S Alvares Vega was a nephew of LAV and a cousin of AAV 

Haftarah Vayera (part), as recorded by D. Sondervan in 1956 at the occasion of his bar mitzvah. D. Sondervan is a brother of JBS.

[1] Text received from Mr. S. Behar


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Reference to the source required at all times.        Page last update: 26 June, 2023