Being a Jewish Adult in Post Biblical Times | MitzvahMarket | MitzvahMarket

Being a Jewish Adult in Post Biblical Times

Being a Jewish Adult in Post Biblical Times

When my daughter turned 1, I had a friend who – instead of wishing her a happy birthday – congratulated me for “making it”. This concept kind of stopped me in my tracks and made me raise an eyebrow. But it was true, yes I did make it. Because as a new mom, you kind of forget that you exist.

This memory randomly came back to me this week as I was packing favor bags and checking things off my to-do list for my daughter’s upcoming bat mitzvah.

I was thinking how at the age of 1, I thought I made it. I got my child to day 365. I safely delivered her to one full rotation around the sun. In those days, everything was a fog and I don’t know if I even realized how big of a deal that was. In those days, I barely had time to brush my teeth, so the concept of achieving anything wasn’t even on my radar screen.

However, I’m starting to think we deserve that compliment again, as our children are becoming Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. I have once again delivered her to a momentous occasion. She is becoming an adult in the eyes of the Jewish people. Interestingly enough, her Bat Mitzvah falls one day after her thirteenth birthday. So, she in fact has now rotated around the sun 13 times or 4,746 days.

In my temple’s Bat Mitzvah manual,  it talks about what it meant to become an adult in the eyes of the Jewish people during biblical times. It talks about how at this point, a child’s parents absolve themselves from the fault of their actions. They are now an adult and they need to take responsibility for themselves. It equally states that upon this occasion, children – now adults – were ready to marry, and become parents themselves, procuring the next generation of Jewish people.

For many reasons I’m very happy I do not live in biblical times – no offense to biblical times. But that one sentence really struck me. My baby, whom it feels like just turned one year old, was ready to be an adult and become a mother.

What a crazy concept when you start to actually think about that. But also, I understand in biblical times life expectancy was not what it is today so people had to hop to it. Plus, they did not have Netflix, so what else was there to do?

But as all of us are going through this right now and dealing with all the emotions involved in becoming the parent of a B Mitzvah, imagine also if when you got home from your party, you packed up your child’s swag and sweatshirts, and shipped them off to their new spouse’s house! Are any of us ready to be grandparents at this stage? NO!

So what does it mean for a child to become an adult in this day and age? Well for one, Google sent me an email saying my daughter’s email account terms would change. I don’t know why, but that struck me hard.

Equally, she can now get her own credit card and decide on her own if the overpriced athletic shorts she wants are worth the price.

More than that, I am unsure. Can she no longer order off the kid’s menu, or did that stop when she was ten? We haven’t been to a restaurant in a while…

Last weekend we attended a friend’s son’s service. In his adorable medium-pitched voice, he finished his speech with “Now I’m a man, I can do manly things… like shave my non-existent mustache” and then he cracked up. It was absolutely adorable and one of the funniest Bar Mitzvah speeches I have ever heard. But it made me think: if this was biblical times, would this child-man be told to take a wife and set up his own home? That is just crazy!

In addition, if my daughter went off to be someone’s wife, who would tell her to clean her room, shut off lights, put away her “self-care journey” items, and close her drawers?

But all joking aside, no matter what “becoming an adult in the eyes of the Jewish people” means to your child – and I believe it means something different to each one- it is a huge milestone and something so important.

Whether it be thinking about where Judaism fits into your life now that you are a Hebrew school “graduate”, the desire to go to Israel, or just incorporating tikkun olam into your life without your mom telling you to do it, our babies are now adults. 

As I mentioned in my speech, when a person becomes a parent, they invest so much into this new little being trying to prepare them for life, adulthood, etc. But much like we don’t get a manual when this child is born, we don’t get an alert telling us that it worked. Or maybe we do, and this day is our green light.

With that said, find me a parent who is sitting in their synagogue on the day of their child’s mitzvah gazing up at them chanting Torah – like our forefathers – and I guarantee you’ll find a parent who sees their child as so much more than a child in that moment.

At that point, I hope they stop, look around, and realize that they made it too. Mazl Tov — to you both. 

Stacey Wallenstein is the founder of the parenting & lifestyle blog The Mint Chip Mama. Visit her website at and find her across all socials at @themintchipmama.

Posted in Editorial, Mitzvah Advice