Sunday, 4 September 2016

Bas Mitzva Celebrations

Question: Should girls celebrate their bas mitzva with a seuda?
Answer: The Magen Avraham (OC 225:4) writes that parents are obligated to make a seuda for their son on the day of his bar mitzva just as one does when he marries.
R’ Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe OC 1:104) wrote that while one can celebrate one’s bas mitzva at home, it is no different to any other birthday party. He continues that if it were up to him, he would even put a stop to bar mitzva celebrations, especially as they often have little religious content and can cause chillul Shabbos. Elsewhere, (Igros Moshe OC 2:97) he questions why there is a difference at all between celebrating a boy’s bar mitzva and a girl’s bas mitzva.
He later wrote (Igros Moshe OC 4:36) that it is appropriate to make a kiddush in shul to mark this milestone.
R’ Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg (Seridei Aish 3:93), however, argues that while people didn’t celebrate bas mitzvas in the olden days, times have changed. Girls attending Beis Yaakov schools is a relatively modern phenomena, one that has greatly benefitted us. Likewise, celebrating one’s bas mitzva can only be seen as a positive ‘innovation’.
Similarly, R' Ephraim Greenblatt (Rivevos Ephraim 1:158) writes that parents should make a seuda for their daughters turning bas mitzva, as it is no different to a boy turning bar mitzva.
Similarly, R’ Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer 6 OC:29; Yechave Daas 2:29) felt very strongly that one should celebrate one’s bas mitzva with a seuda just as one does for a bar mitzva. He quotes various acharonim who write about the importance of making a seuda for a bar mitzva and demonstrates how their reasons apply equally to girls.
He concludes that providing there are divrei Torah and songs of praise, the celebrations are deemed a seudas mitzva.

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