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Bar mitzvah

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Rabbi David Sperling

Shevat 25, 5782
Question
A boy that was born in Shushan Purim and the year of his bar mitzvah falls in a leap year when there are 2 Adars and Purim is celebrated in Adar B. When Does he start to put tefilin with Bracha and which parasha he should read?
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. First of all, a big Mazel Tov to the bar mitzvah boy! May he grow to be a great member of the Jewish people – we’re counting on him. A boy born in the month of Adar in a non-leap year (a regular year), who turns 13 in a leap year becomes bar mitzvah in the second Adar. So, in your case, being born on the 15th of Adar (in a regular year) the bar-mitzvah will on the 15th of the Adar Sheni (which is Shushan Purim!). As to the parsha he should read – the bar-mitzvah falls out on (Thursday night,) Friday day. The Shabbat that follows that is Parshat Tzav. So, the Parsha to read is Tzav. However, if you live in Jerusalem, you could also choose to make the Bar Mitzvah on Shushan Purim itself, the Friday, and have the bar mitzvah boy read the Torah reading for Purim (and even read the Megillat Ester if he is talented in that area – but that would be a major effort, above the ability of most bar mitzvah boys). I stress that this option only exists if you live in a city that celebrates Purim on the 15th – which is pretty much only in Jerusalem. Even then, you could still have the call up and reading on Shabbat – parshat Tzav. When does he start to put on tefillin? There are many different customs in relation to this question. In your case, the main thing is to calculate the time from the 15th of Adar Sheni (the second Adar). You should try to ascertain what your custom (family, or community) is and follow it. The major customs are one month before the bar mitzvah, or 2 or 3 months before. In some places they put tefillin on a year before the bar mitzvah. And in other places they don’t put on tefillin until the very day of the bar mitzvah (in your case the Friday the 15th of Adar Sheni). If there is no custom to follow, my advice would be to put them on one month before the bar mitzvah. Again, a big Mazel Tov!
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