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to your Bar-Mitzvah. Check our question and answer section.
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Removal of theTefillin

Is it permissible to remove the Tefillin during Kaddish in general? If I started to remove my Tefillin before the Kaddish began, can I finish during the recitation of the Kaddish? It would be appropriate to point out that I am careful to answer "Amen" while I remove the Tefillin

The Kaddish is a very important part of the Prayer Service. It is essential that a person be very focused and answer "Amen" in the appropriate place when the Kaddish is being recited. It is therefore preferable to avoid removing one's Tefillin during the Kaddish. If one must do so, however,he should be careful to maintain good concentration during the Kaddish and answer Amen. Answering "Amen" is considered to be instrumental in bringing holiness into our existence. It's important function is evidenced by the fact that on Yom Kippur neglecting to answer Amen is included in the "Viduy" list of transgressions.The exact spiritual effect of answering "Amen" may be beyond our understanding. It is clear, however, that we need to be conscientious in answering Amen

Rabbi Rephael Hadaya

Studying for the Bar-Mitzvah

Is one required to study with a Rabbi or is it possible to study with a teacher who isn’t a Rabbi? How long before the Bar Mitzvah is worth it to start studying

It is better to learn for the Bar-Mitzvah with a Rabbi, because besides learning to read the Torah and Haftarah portion there are many laws and customs to learn ( such as the laws of Tefillin,Tzitzit, etc).These things may be unfamiliar to you, and the Rabbi could be helpful in familiarizing you with these laws

I recommend that one starts to prepare and study for his Bar-Mitzvah at least three and one half months prior to the date
With great respect

Rabbi Raphael Hadayah.

Bar-Mitzvah Torah Reading

On the week that I was born, The Torah reading for Shabbat was the Parasha of "Acharei-Mot /Kedoshim" which was read as a double Parasha. My question is what to do since on the week that I celebrate my Bar-Mitzvah these two Parshiot are not combined, but rather are read on two separate weeks. In such a case am I obligated to read both Parshiot on two consecutive weeks, and if not which Parsha would be considered my Bar-Mitzvah Parasha

First, I would like to wish you Mazel Tov on your upcoming Bar-Mitzvah

Secondly, I would like to clarify for you the idea of the double Parasha. Since there are more Parshiot in the Five Books of the Torah than weeks of the year, sometimes the Parshiot must be combined so that all of them can be read in a one year cycle. In a 'Leap Year" which is a year in which an extra month (the month of Adar) is added there are fewer double Parshiot needed, as there are more weeks in that particular yearly cycle
A Bar-Mitzvah boy's "Aliya" or the Torah portion that he is to read on his Bar-Mitzva is not determined by what Parasha was read on the Shabbat after his birth. Rather,it is dermined according to what is read on the Shabbat closest to the day of his 13th birthday
If you send me your date of birth according to the Hebrew Calendar , I will be happy to tell you the date of your "Aliya" to the Torah and which Parasha is "your" Bar-Mitzvah Parasha
With my Blessings

Rabbi Rephael Hadaya

Blessing over twins

What Blessing does the father have to say when he has twin sons celebrating their Bar-Mitzvah? Does the wording of the Blessing of "Baruch Shepatrani " change is such a case

My advice to you is that since there are those fathers whose custom it is to make the blessing "Baruch Shepatrani" when the son is called up to the Torah,it is fitting to bless each one of the twins separately. However, there are those that make the blessing at the Bar- Mitzvah ceremony itself, and then it is possible to make the general blessing to include both of the twins. This matter is not obligatory and is therefore decided according to individual needs and customs
With my blessings

Rabbi Raphael Hadaya

Bar-Mitzvah Celebration

My son will be celebrating his Bar-Mitzvah in three months. My husband's grandmother passed away this week. In view of this loss, is it Halachically appropriate to plan a party/celebration to be held in a social hall at the time of the Bar-Mitzvah

For you it is permissible to plan a celebration since your husband's grandmother (may she rest in peace) is not considered one for whom the laws of mourning would apply. They do apply to your husband's parents, however.Your in-laws would be allowed to participate in the Bar-Mitzvah party as long as the party could be considered a "Seudat Mitzvah." As such, the party would have to be organized in the following way

The party should take place on the actual Hebrew date of the Bar-Mitzvah

The party should include a "Drasha" or words of Torah

In view of the fact that the mourners should not listen to live music, make sure that they are not present in the room at the time that music is being played

Those in mourning must act as hosts at the party, and as such must be involved in serving the meal to at least one of the guests

If these guidelines are followed, the party is considered a Seudat Mitzvah and as such mourners are allowed to participate
Wishing you Mazel Tov and good tidings

Rabbi Raphael Hadayah

Bar-Mitzvah at the Kotel

Is it permissible to have a "Seudah" (festive meal) in the area of the Kotel after the "Aliya" to the Torah on the Bar-Mitzvah day

It is not considered to be appropriate to have a "Seudah" in the area directly adjacent to the Kotel, however one could arrange a Seudah in the plaza right behind the Kotel. I would recommend that you be in touch with the Kotel organizational authority for tips and guidelines in organizing a Seudah in that area
With Mazel Tov wishes

Rabbi Raphael Hadyah

Aliya on a Monday or Thursday

Dear Honored Rabbi
I wanted to ask a question. Is it true that if the date of your Aliya to the Torah comes out on a Shabbat it is not necessary to go to the synagogue on Monday or Thursday. I am asking because I am 18 years old and I was wondering if I should have gone to the synagogue also on the weekday
My blessings to you in support of your successful website. I found out about it through the internet. where it was highly recommended. It really sparked my interest because it is so motivating and makes one want to learn for his Bar-Mitzvah

Dear Shlomie
Thank you very much for your positive feedback on the Bar-Mitzvah website. I would like to respond to your question about a weekday Aliya to the Torah. If a Bar-Mitzvah boy's birthday falls on Shabbat then only an Aliya on Shabbat is required. If his birthday falls earlier in the week then he is called to the Torah on the Monday or Thursday closest to his birthday
With my Blessings

Rabbi Refael Hadaya

Reading the Haftorah

Dear Honored Rabbi
Can a "Kohen" read the Haftorah on his Bar-Mitzvah
Thank you in advance

To Yotam
Greetings and blessings and Mazel-Tov
A Kohen can read the Haftorah not only on his Bar-Mitzvah but on any day of the year. It is important for him to clarify that it is his choice to go to read the Haftorah even though generally Kohanim are honored with the first Aliya to the Torah. In this way there should be no question about his status as a Kohen
With my Blessings

Rabbi Rephael Hadaya

A question for the honored Rabbi

What do you recommend be done when there is no one available who has prepared the Torah reading or who is well enough versed in the Teamei Hamikra to read the Torah in the synagogue? Are there some Teamim that are less crucial to the Torah Reading than others

There are two components of the Torah Reading which are reading /pronunciation and musical notes. Regarding reading and pronunciation, it is required that both be accurate. An example of this is the Mil-el and Mil-ra pronunciation which must be followed. If the Torah Portion is not read correctly ,the reader must be corrected and then go back and re-read the word. If the person reading made an error in the designated tune or note he does not need to be corrected and also is not required to re-read the word
Regarding the Teamim: It is preferable to read the Torah using the Taamim. If there is no other option, the reading should be done by someone who knows the proper pronunciation and punctuation. This is a requirement. Some Teamim such as the Etnachta and the Zakef Katon indicate the end of a sentence. It is important to read using those Teamim because in many cases they may influence the meaning of the sentence
With my Blessings

Rabbi Rephael Hadaya

Putting on Tefillin-Sephardi or Ahshkenazi

Is someone of Ashkenazi descent allowed to put on Sephardi Tefillin?If so are they allowed to use them in any case or only when there are no other Tefillin available

Someone of Ashkenazi descent is allowed to put on Tefillin that were written according to the Sephardi custom and to say the Blessing over them, and does not need to look for another option

People of Sephardi descent may use and recite a blessing over the Tefillin that were written according to "Rabbeinu Zalman" (the Chabad tradition). That is because this tradition follows that of the Rambam

People of Sephardi descent should not put on the Tefillin that were written according to the Ashkenazic tradition . If there are no other Tefillin available to one of Sephardi descent he may use the Ahskenazic Tefillin but he does not say the blessing over them


How many times do I need to read my Parasha

One is not able to serve as a Torah Reader for a congregation until he has passed Bar-Mitzvah. Someone that has reached the age of 13 and has become a Bar-Mitzvah may read from the Torah. If after Bar-Mitzvah one wants to serve as a Torah Reader for the congregation on other occasions it is very admirable. It is very important that the congregation be satisfied with the arrangement
With blessings

Rabbi Rephael Hadaya.


Is it necessary to celebrate a Bar-Mitzvah in a party hall, or is it appropriate to celebrate it only at the Kotel or Western Wall

If you have a meal (Seudah) on the exact day of your Bar-Mitzvah in which at least ten men over the age of Bar-Mitzvah participate and which includes the Blessing over bread, it is considered a celebratory meal ("seudat mitzvah)" . This celebratory meal can also, of course, include women
The date of the Seudah goes according to the Jewish calendar in which the specified date begins at nightfall and finishes the next day at nightfall. Accordingly, if you were born on a Monday, your Seudah could be on Sunday night or on Monday until nightfall
Regarding the party hall, many people arrange an elaborate celebration of a Bar-Mitzvah in appreciation and in the spirit of the holiness and the significance of the day. It is important to be careful that the celebration stays within the boundaries of modesty and holiness. If you think that a more elaborate Seudah would not be within these guildelines, it is better to keep it small and modest with at least the required ten men for a Minyan
Best wishes that Hashem will reflect his goodness on to you. Blessings for success and Mazel Tov

Rabbi Rephael Hadaya

Bar-Mitzvah Date

I would like to ask the honorable rabbi if there is any difference between the Sephardi and Ashkenazi tradition in the date on which a Bar- Mitzvah is celebrated. Do both traditions celebrate a Bar-Mitzvah and call a boy to have his Aliyah to the Torah on a boy's thirteenth birthday
With thanks in advance

I am not aware of any differences in the Sephardi and Ashkenazi traditions regarding the date of one's Bar-Mitzvah
The date of one's Bar-Mitzvah is determined solely according to one's birthday.There are those who adhere strictly to the exact hour of birth in determining when the Bar-Mitzvah Aliyah to the Torah should take place. According to this custom, a Bar-Mitzvah boy that was born in the morning may be called up on the same day as his birthday, but one born in the afternoon would wait until the next day on which the Torah is read (Monday, Thursday, or Shabbat) to have his Aliyah so that he has reached a full 13 years from his date and time of birth. In this particular case two Bar-Mitzvah boys born on the same day may end up having their Aliya to the Torah on two different days
Wishing you Mazel Tov

Rabbi Rephael Hadaya

Pause Between Words

Honorable Rabbi
I would like to know after which of the Torah reading notes/Taamim should one pause, and after which is one obligated to continue on to the next word

In order to answer you in the clearest manner , we will separate the "pauses" that you asked about according to their length

The "Sof Pasuck" is the note after which there is the longest pause
The "Etnachta" has the next longest pause
The "Zakef Katon, Tarcha, Segulta, annd Zakef Gadol" have the next longest pause
Next is the Riveah, Pesek,Tvir, Kedma, Trei Kadmin, and Trei Taami
Shortest in length of pause is the Grish, Shnei Grishim, and Pazar Gadol
The Taamim after which there is no pause and one simply continues reading are Zarka, Shofer Holech, Talsha, Tilsha, Azla, Darga, Maarich,Shofar Mehupach, and Yativ

With Blessings and Good Luck Wishes

Rabbi Rephael Hadaya

Torah Scroll

Shalom Honorable Rabbi
Why does the Torah Scroll not have the notes (Taamim) with which it is to be read

The reason that the Torah Scroll does not have the notes or punctuation is found in the mystical work of the "Kabbalah', and therefore cannot be explained in a simple way. Any explanation would involve having an understanding of Kabbalah

Briefly,the simplest explanation is that the higher the spiritual level, the more one must rely on a sense of rather than a visual perception. This relates to the fact that the notes and punctuation are of higher spiritual standing than the letters of the Torah. Therefore the letters are printed on the Holy Torah Scrolls but the notes and punctuation are not
This is only a very surface level explanation, and one who wants to understand further would need to learn Kabbalah
May you be merited to understand deeply

With Blessings

Rabbi Rephael Hadaya


In another few months my twin sons are celebrating their Bar-Mitzvahs. How should they divide up the Torah Reading between them? Should each one of them read and equal number of Aliyot to the Torah and half of the Haftorah? Who should read the "Maftir" portion

If their Aliya to the Torah is on a weekday, one of the twins can read the Aliya of the" Kohen" (as long as the Kohanim that are present are amenable ), another unrelated person can read the Aliya of the"Levi", and then the other twin can read the third Aliya
On Shabbat, one twin can read the third or sixth Aliya, and the other can read the Maftir
To answer your other question, there is no set Halachic ruling regarding who should read the Maftir portion, so that you can let the twins decide or else let the one that was born first read the Maftir. Use your best judgment in this matter

Mazel Tov and may it be a good and successful time for you

Rabbi Rephael Hadaya

Putting on Tefillin

A) How much before the actual Bar-Mitzvah date should one begin putting on Tefillin
B) According to the Ashkenazi traditiion does one begin putting on a Tallit at the time of his Bar-Mitzvah or when he gets married

A) The obligation to put on Tefillin really begins when a boy is old enough to take care of his personal hygiene, and can therefore participate in the Mittzvah of Tefillin in a pure manner that is respectful of its holiness
There are various customs regarding when to begin putting on the Tefillin. The "Ramah" says that it should be done on the day of the Bar-Mitzvah
Other Halachic authorities say that it should be near the time of the Bar-Mitzvah.The halachic debate centers around the age at which the boy will be able to take care of his personal hygiene appropriately. It is therefore recommended that a boy approaching his Bar-Mitzvah ask his father or uncle regarding their opinion in this matter
There are customs that require a boy to put on his Tefillin for the first time a month before, or on the Monday or Thursday before his Bar-Mitzvah. Some even put it on the day before. Everyone has his custom and understanding of the appropriate time to begin putting on the Tefillin
B) Regarding your second question, most people following the Ashkenazi custom put on the Tallit for the first time on the day of their wedding. There are some whose custom it is to put on the Tallit at the time of the Bar-Mitzvah
With Blessing

Rabbi Rephael Hadaya

Reading according to the musical notes

A. What is the source for reading the Torah according to the musical notes/Taamim
B. Why are the notes/Taamim not written in the Torah Scroll

To answer your first question

To answer your second question: The reason that the Torah Scroll does not have the notes or punctuation is found in the mystical work of the Kabbalah and therefore cannot be explained in a simple way. Any explanation would involve having an understanding of Kabbalah

Briefly,the simplest explanation is that the higher the spiritual level, the more one must rely on a sense of rather than a visual perception. This relates to the fact that the notes and punctuation are of higher spiritual standing than the letters of the Torah. Therefore the letters are printed on the Holy Torah Scrolls but the notes and punctuation are not
This is only a very surface level explanation, and one who wants to understand further would need to learn Kabbalah
May you be merited to understand deeply

With Blessings

Rabbi Rephael Hadaya

Celebration at the Kotel

According to his day of birth, my son's Aliyah to the Torah for his Bar-Mitzvah should rightfully be on Shabbat. I would like to celebrate his Bar-Mitzvah at the Kotel. Should the celebration take place before or after the Shabbat of the Aliyah to the Torah
I am wondering what actually needs to be done on the Shabbat of the Aliyah to the Torah. Is the Seudat Mitzvah (festive meal) conflict with the customary meal if done on Shabbat

It is preferable to to have the Bar-Mitzvah celebration or Seudat Mitzvah on the-actual day of the Bar-Mitzvah or at least after the Bar-Mitzvah boy has reached a full 13 years of age. In your particular case, the Seudat Mitzvah should be either on Shabbat or on Sunday, depending on exactly what time of day your son was born. If he was born at 10:00 a.m.then it should be after that time in the morning
The Seudat Mitzvah should be done on the day of the Bar-Mitzvah. If a Bar-Mitzvah falls on a Shabbat, the Shabbat meal becomes the Seudat Mitzvah and there is no problem of "mixing" two festive meals together
Wishing you Mazel Tov and continued good news

Rabbi Raphael Hadaya

Bar-Mitzvah costs

I would like to know how much one needs to pay a Rabbi to teach a Bar-Mitzva boy what he needs to know for his Bar-Mitzvah. I would like to know how much would be appropriate since there does not seem to be any hard and fast rules about that
With thanks

The answer to your question depends on where your son will be studying. Here in Jerusalem the fees range from 400-600 shekels for the teaching of the Torah Portion together with the laws and customs related to a Bar-Mitzvah
With Mazel Tov Blessings

Rabbi Raphael Hadaya

Bar-Mitzvah during the Counting of the Omer

Is it permissible to have a Bar-Mitzvah celebration during the counting of the Omer which is a time when certain customs of mourning apply

I understand your question to be referring to the period that is before Lag B'omer or the 33rd day of the Omer after which for some the mourning customs no longer apply
It is appropriate to celebrate the Bar-Mitzvah at that time with the following restrictions
the music must all be sung unaccompanied by musical instruments-and without recoded discs or tapes
regarding dancing- there are those (Kaf Hachayim) who allow dancing
regarding haircuts- it is not allowed. In the case of a bar-Mitzvah boy who is embarrassed by his long hair one may ask a Rabbi (myself included) to decide if he may get a haircut during this time. It is preferable to make sure that the Bar-Mitzvah boy gets a haircut before the beginning of the counting in order to avoid a problem
regarding new clothes-it is best to purchase new clothes for the Bar-Mitzvah before the beginning of the counting so that they will not be considered as new during that period. If one did not have time to buy new clothes before the counting he should wear them on Shabbat, and make the "Shehecheyanu" Blessing over new clothes at the beginning of Shabbat
Mazel Tov in your celebration
With blessings

Rabbi Raphael Hadaya

Putting on Tefillin

Shalom Honored Rabbi
In another five months I will be celebrating my Bar-Mitzvah.When can I begin putting on my Tefillin

First- Mazel Tov on your Bar Mitzvah! To answer your question- the responsibility to put on Tefillin every morning begins at the age that one can be responsible enough for his body to ensure that he will be in a holy state as befitting the holy contents of the Tefillin. There are a number of opinions regarding the appropriate time to begin putting on Tefillin due to differences in opinion of when a young man can be responsible for his hygiene . The Ramah says that it is the day of the Bar-Mitzvah . Other Halachic Authorities say that it should be near the date of the Bar-Mitzvah. Some have the custom to begin putting on the Tefillin one month before, or on the Monday or Thursday (Torah Reading days) before, or even on the day right before the Bar-Mitzvah. Each custom is based on a specific understanding or approach. It is best , if possible, to follow the custom of one's father or uncle
With my blessings

Rabbi Raphael Hadaya


Honorable Rabbi
My question is when exactly to celebrate the Bar-Mitzvah of my son who was born on the 14th of the month of Av 5755 . When should he begin to put on his Tefillin? When should he be called up for his Aliyah to the Torah? When should the Shabbat Bat-Mitzvah be celbrated

Note from the staff of the website: although the e-mail address that accompanied this question is incorrect we have chosen to answer the question in this public forum
Greetings my dear Avraham and best wishes on the occasion of your son's Bar-Mitzvah! with G-d's help your son should begin to put on his Tefillin on Friday, the 14th of the month of Av on his birthday
The Shabbat of his Bar-Mitzvah celebration should be on the 15th of Av.The Torah Reading of that week is the Parasha of Vaetchanaan (in the Book if Deuteronomy). Your son is not obligated to be called to the Torah on the Monday or Thursday Torah Reading days of the following week . If he would like to do it he can, but then he would have to prepare the reading of the next Parasha which is the Reading of Ekev
With my blessings

Rabbi Raphael Hadaya

Bar- Mitzvah

Greetings honorable Rabbi
With G-d's help I will be celebrating my 13th birthday in two months. The Rabbi that is working with me to learn for my Bar-Mitzvah suggested that I could learn the Maftir Portion or the'Yom Hashishi" ( I hope that I am being accurate in my words). He explained to me that if someone in the congregation has a Yahrzeit (Memorial) for a family member on that day, they may request to read the Maftir portion
Would you be able to explain this idea to me and also advise me about what to do

In order that you should understand the answer better I would like to point out: a boy under 13 years of age is not allowed to read The Torah in front of an assembled congregation.This privilege belongs only to one who is 13 years or older. To answer your question there is an Ashkenazic tradition for a boy to have an Aliyah to the Maftir Reading on the Shabbat before his Bar-Mitzvah. The reason for this is that the Maftir Portion is not considered part of the 7 mandatory Aliyot to the Torah on a regular Shabbat service, and can therefore be given to a boy that is underage
This custom allows for the boy to be recognized as one who is about to reach the older and more responsible stage of Bar-Mitzvah. If this is your family custom and if you would like to do it , then it is permissible.You must remember that if it happens that a family attending the synagogue that week has a Yahrzeit they have priority if they want to be called up for the Maftir Aliya.
On the actual Shabbat of your Bar-Mitzvah you should be called up for an Aliya to the Torah at any one of the 7 traditional Shabbat Aliyot according to what you have prepared to do or have arranged in advance with the Director of Services/Gabbai.In general, the idea of the Aliya to the Torah is to read one of the 7 main Aliyot/sections of the Torah Reading. Therefore, it really is preferable to be called up to one of those 7 rather than to the Maftir aliyah on the Shabbat of your Bar-Mitzvah
Another important tip for you is that it is highly recommended to speak with the Gabbai of the Synagogue to coordinate with him beforehand as to which Aliyah you would like to be called up for. It is quite possible that on your Bar-Mitzvah Shabbat there will be other occasions that are being celebrated necessitating dividing up the honors of being called up for the Aliyot. It is not recommended to organize this at the last moment With Mazel Tov blessings

Rabbi Raphael Hadaya

Bar-Mitzvah speech

What is the source of the custom that a Bar-Mitzvah boy should deliver a speech on the day of his Bar-Mitzvah

If you are asking about a written (Halachic) source for the custom, the answer is that there is none. However, there are a number of reasons underlying the custom of speaking

To publicly establish the fact that the Bar-Mitzvah boy has accepted the responsibilities of Torah observance

According to some opinions,by delivering a Torah message the Bar-Mitzvah boy demonstrates that he has reached an age of understanding and therefore it is appropriate for him to begin putting on Tefillin

On the day of his Bar-Mitzvah a boy is blessed with a special soul which can become even more elevated through delivering a Torah message or speech

Through the merit of his Torah study involved in his speech, the Bar-Mitzvah boy's positive inclinations will become so strong as to overcome the negative inclinations that are present from birth

With blessings of Mazel Tov and gratification

Rabbai Raphael Hadaya

Aliyah to the Torah before age 13

Greetings Honorable Rabbi
My son will turn 13 on the 4th of the month of Nisan. My question is whether is it permissible to celebrate his Bar-Mitzvah on a Shabbat a month before his actual birthday for reasons of convenience
Thank you

It is permissible for a boy to have an Aliyah to the Torah before he turns Bar-Mitzvah as long as it is on a Shabbat and not on a weekday
In such a case the yet to be Bar-Mitzvah boy may only read the particular section of the Aliyah that he was called up for and not the whole Parasha /chapter
If one chooses to have the Aliyah to the Torah on the earlier date they should nevertheless have a seudat mitzvah/festive meal on the actural date of the Bar Mitzvah, which in your case would be either on the 3rd of Sivan at night or on the 4th during the day
Mazel Tov

Rabbi Raphael Hadaya

Tefillin straps

Shalom, the following is a question that I was asked, and I would be happy if the Rabbi could answer.
Is there a specific time that is considered appropriate for switching straps on the Tefillin

When the black color of the straps begins to look worn should they be changed

What is Halachically preferable, work done by machine or by hand, as I was told that even machine work is started by hand and it's end result is more durable color

There is no specific time at which the Tefillin straps need to be changed but rather it should be done when they are no longer in good shape

The straps do not have to be changed if the color dulls but rather can be repainted. They must be painted black as that is a tradition that was passed down by Moses at Mount Sinai

It is preferable that the straps of the Tefillin be worked on by hand rather than by machine
With Blessings

Rabbi Rephael Hadaya

שלום. נשאלתי על ידי סבא שנכדו יחגוג את הבר מצוה שלו באמצע ספירת העומר. השאלה מה מקובל לגבי הברכה שלפני הספירה . האם ימשיך לברך או יפסיק. מה ההלכה?

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