Time for Shnayim Mikra Ve-Echad Targum

This week’s article deals with the issue of when to read shnayim mikra ve-echad targum. From when can this weekly mitzvah be performed, and when is the last time for reading shnayim mikra? Are there special halachos concerning the reading of Vezos Haberachah and Bereishis? What are the laws concerning reading at night? These questions, and more, are discussed in this week’s article.

The Purim Feast

Of all the mitzvos of the day of Purim, the mitzvah that perhaps occupies us the most is the mitzvah of se’udaspurim, the Purim feast. This is not to say that this is necessarily the… Read more »

20/03/2016

Dealing with Bad Dreams

  Parashas Vayeishev discusses some important dreams. Yaakov Avinu “kept the matter” of Yosef’s dreams, anticipating their future fulfillment. Ultimately the dreams were indeed realized when Yaakov and his sons… Read more »

04/12/2015

Bar Mitzvah: Maturity of Body or Mind

We all know the importance of the age of thirteen for a boy and the age of twelve for a girl. These are the times when a boy or girl comes of age, and becomes responsible for his or her own actions and obligated in the mitzvos of the Torah.

Yet, although the ages are well-known, the sources that reveal their importance is less familiar. One of the sources for the significance of the age thirteen in a boy’s coming of age – in fact, the only Biblical source for the concept – is found in Parashas Vayishlach, as mentioned by Rashi (Nazir 29b) and the Ra’av (Avos 5:21).

When Shimon and Levi came assailed the city of Shechem, the pasuk states (Bereishis 34:25): “The two sons of Yaakov, Shimon and Levi, took each man his sword.” Levi was exactly thirteen years old at the time, and we thus learn that a thirteen-year-old is called a man.

In the current article we will discuss the concept of a child’s “coming of age.” What defines a child’s entering the obligation of mitzvos – age or physical maturity? Is there halachic significance to each of these independently? Are there differences between different mitzvos and halachic concepts, or is halachic maturity uniform for all matters?