My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of G-d (Proverbs 2:1-5).
One of the best known customs of the Jewish people is that of Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Whether or not one is from a Jewish background, most people realize that the Bar/Bat Mitzvah is an important step in the life of a Jewish child. As the Hebrew/ Aramaic name implies (bar is Aramaic for "son"; bat is Hebrew for "daughter"; mitzvah is Hebrew for "commandment"), this is a milestone in the life of a Jewish child. It is a time when the child takes responsibility for his or her own religious life. It is considered the biblical age of accountability. The child crosses that precarious gap between childhood and adolescence, with its requisite duties.
The historical background of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah custom is somewhat more difficult to track than many other traditions. This is primarily because there is no specific reference to the ceremony in the Hebrew Scriptures. However, there are dozens of verses that support the idea that there is an age of accountability to the commandments of the L-rd. Some would find it ironic that the most detailed account of a Bar Mitzvah in the Bible is actually in the New Testament, at the "Bar Mitzvah" ceremony for Messiah Yeshua.
From God's Appointed Customs
by Barney Kasdan
Class is held every Tuesday evening for young adults who will be B'Nei Mitzvot during the coming year.