This post is part of the #blogelul project started by the inimitable Ima On (and off) the Bima. I am using it as my motivation to rejuvenate this site and get myself back into the swing of things.
Most people are familar with the tradition of Bar and Bat Mitzvah – welcoming a person as a fully responsible person who is obligated to all the commandments. This usually happens on the first Shabbat after they turn 12 (for a girl) or 13 (for a boy).
People are less familiar with the tradition of Bo Bayom, the exact day a boy turns 13. Regardless of the date of their Bar Mitzvah celebration, this is the first day that their status matters.
Or at least, it should. For most kids, it’s just another day. Maybe it’s marked by parents sending in doughnuts for the class, or taking a few pictures. But otherwise, it’s the opitimie of that old joke “It is my Bar Mitzvah. Today I am a man. Tomorrow, I go back to 7th grade.”)
SO on the morning of my son’s Bo Bayom, we weren’t expecting much. Nothing was going to happen, it was just another day.
He came home hovering a full 2 feet off the ground. Something had obviously happened.
“I was getting all my stuff on for shacharit, and I could see the Rebbis were moving around a lot, in and out of the room, making phone calls, that kind of thing.” he breathlessly related, “it turns out, there was a field trip and a lot of the teachers had gone. So they were trying to make sure we had a minyan. All of a sudden, Rabbi Klein looks at me. ‘Natan!’ he said, ‘isn’t today your Bo Bayom?’ I told him it was, and then he went to the door and SHOUTED up the hall! He said ‘It’s ok. We’ve got Natan here. We’re good!’.”
Even though it was hours later, you could see the effect that moment had on him. “We were good”, he repeated, more to himself than to us. “We had a minyan. Because, you know, today I counted.”