Dear Rabbi Weiman,
I was fascinated by the words of wisdom which you wrote on the Aish website www.aish.com regarding the month of Shvat.
My daughter has a bat mitzvah coming up on the 10th of Shvat. Can you tell me what is the significance of the Bat Mitzvah and if there is any specific significance that she can draw from having a Bat Mitzvah in the month of Shvat.
Congratulations to you and your daughter.
Many people assume the bar/bat mitzvah time is about maturity. However, this time seems to be more about a wholeness of spiritual harmony than about maturity. Some people mature earlier, some later. But the obligation of the commandments can only come when there is a proper balance between the soul and the body (neshama and guf). When its an equal fight, only then can a moral challenge be considered consequential. Up until that time a child is practicing and becoming familiar with morality. At bat mitzvah she becomes responsible for her soul. Of course there’s still somewhat of a grace period where the punishment for transgression is not so harsh until real intellectual maturity sets in (around 20 years of age).
The main significance of having a bat mitzvah in the month is when her birthday is. The bat mitzvah usually follows the birth date. The month and subsequent spiritual influence is directed more strongly to someone born in a particular month. So the article on Shvat, and others on my website will
pertain more specifically to her than someone born in a different month. Only she, though, will be able to see herself in those words, and how those words relate to her and her particular situacions in life.