Sunday, 27 Kislev, 5784
  |  December 10, 2023

Oh No, I’m Almost Thirteen

From the COLlive inbox: “This past summer, I was a staff member in a mainstream Chabad overnight camp and I noticed something about the boys who will soon be turning Bar Mitzvah - and this issue needs to be discussed.” Full Story

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I don’t know what you’re trying to say
August 24, 2022 1:34 am

It’s more like a thing by the kids the 3 fasts not family’s teaching about. And if your Problem is the chinuch mix the 3 fasts out of it (and Stam even if the chinuch isn’t the best having strong minhagim and keeping to them is very important for kids)

I don't know what you're trying to say
Reply to  I don’t know what you’re trying to say
August 24, 2022 5:05 am

I don’t know what you’re trying to say

Al - derech - mashal
August 24, 2022 1:42 am

During the CCP virus, instead of focusing on maintaining a healthy lifestyle (diet/exercise) and strengthening immune systems, some were hyper-focused on wearing masks

Reply to  Al - derech - mashal
August 24, 2022 8:05 am

why not both?

Reply to  Al - derech - mashal
August 24, 2022 8:28 am

Isn’t it time to move on? The only people who still care about COVID are the liberals on one end and the COVID-deniers on the other end.

Reply to  Al - derech - mashal
August 24, 2022 9:33 am

during a massive heatwave, some people are so careful about their traditions that they still wear multiple layers of clothing, a kapata, wool tzitzis, and hat! crazy right?

Don’t mock others when you probably do the same in your own life for different reasons

Kol Hakavod!
August 24, 2022 2:00 am

If this is your takeaway from camp, if this is your complaint, thenall I can say is Kol Hakavod!!

August 24, 2022 2:07 am

Dear bachur, thank you for presenting your point in a clear respectful way. The boys in your bunk were lucky to have you . You write valid points .

Other unfortunate barmitzvah distractions include:
August 24, 2022 2:20 am

Unnecessary and wasteful Israel trips and vacations (there are many letters from the Rebbe about this).

Overdoing the materialism at the actual party, from the unnecessary to the unbecoming, double decker desserts to DJs etc

And yes, as the OP writes: this all stems from a general lack of focus and missing the point of the celebration.

Reply to  Other unfortunate barmitzvah distractions include:
August 24, 2022 11:20 am

My wife was reading in the N’shei Chabad that the rebbe wrote about DJ’s they being an avir of pritzus. Even if one does not have money ( these days it’s more than live music)the rebbe was against using a DJ .

Reply to  Resident
August 24, 2022 11:50 am


dang hold back
Reply to  Other unfortunate barmitzvah distractions include:
August 24, 2022 4:22 pm

I don’t think there is an inherent issue with going full on out with Bar Mitzvah parties. It all depends on what the reasoning behind the event is. Is it for you to flaunt all your Gelt that you have, is it for your social standings, or is it for you to make your son have an enjoyable time, or if you’re on Shlichus, to show not Frum people what a real event imbued with Simcha is, and to inspire them?

Djs fine, I relent about that, but double decker desserts? Don’t think there’s a problem. Besides, I’m hungry.

August 24, 2022 2:28 am

Finally, someone busted the 3 fasts myth. What’s next? Toiveling 9 times?

ט' פעמים
Reply to  Yes!
August 24, 2022 11:59 am

תשע פעמים – ראיתי מי שציין לס׳ הליקוטים צ״צ אות נו״ן ערך נט״י ע׳ קיז, והוא באוה״ת קדושים ע׳ קיח, שהביא מהרמ״ז לזח״א וירא קב, ב. וטה״ד הוא וצ״ל ב׳ טבילות. ותוקן בהוצאות אחרות. אבל כ״ה מפי השמועה מהריל”ג ששמע מהרבי כהוראה לרבים, ראה לדוגמא מעשה מלך ח״א פרק כג הערה 5. ועוד. וכן נמסר מפי השמועה שנאמר כן להרימ״מ ע״ה טננבוים באלול תשי״א בתור בעל תוקע – קובץ העו״ב י״א ניסן תשס״ב ע׳ 99

Maybe not...
Reply to  Yes!
August 24, 2022 4:27 pm

To dip 9 times is a misconception. The actual minhag is to טובל 3 times while standing, then spread out, then three standing again

You are right
Reply to  Maybe not...
August 31, 2022 1:51 pm

In the book Hamazkir on Rabbi Leibel Groner it says that the rebbe told him to do 9 (and i think it says like what you said )

myths need not apply
Reply to  Yes!
August 24, 2022 5:26 pm

as the bocher says its not a myth but a minhag.
according to ahron burkis, the rebbe toiveld 9 times. (there are also accounts of 54 tvilos, but 9 isnt a myth just becuase of that)

So true
August 24, 2022 2:32 am

So many times I have heard this, this is a problem that needs to be addressed. Instead of stressing the importance of the three fast (which is all well and good) we should be putting the stress on the more important stuff in life. Like you, every kid I ask why he does it he replies, “so I will get used to fasting”. This is misinformation and we need to get the truth out there, that this will not help you, you aren’t being cool you are being dumb. Hopefully parents, teachers and kids will realize and put the chayus… Read more »

Of all the issues plaguing bar Mitzva age boys
August 24, 2022 3:54 am

This one is the most non issue
Kids need to channel their passion and drive somewhere
Thank G-d they’re interested in this

Reply to  Of all the issues plaguing bar Mitzva age boys
August 24, 2022 8:56 am

Sometimes choosing to fix what you might call a non-issue is the easiest and smartest way to go about tackling a bigger problem.
If it’s a non-issue and parents make this small change- not by simply eliminating this practice, but by giving a love for keeping the Mitzvos along with the physical excitement of becoming Bar Mitzvah- it will bring bigger changes to the world and will only do good.

Concerned chossid
August 24, 2022 6:58 am

In this dark time after Gimmel Tammuz, our children are not to blame.

King Khan
Reply to  Concerned chossid
August 24, 2022 2:39 pm

ya it’s not, it’s the educators, duh!

Thank you
August 24, 2022 7:12 am

Great points.
I asked Rabbi Broin and he told me the 3 fasts is a myth.
We should be focused on better things as you mentioned
Thank you

What the
Reply to  Thank you
August 24, 2022 9:39 pm

You serious I heard from countless rabanim that’s it has strong roots in Halacha, just because you’re rov doesn’t agree with it, it doesn’t mean it’s not true

Reply to  What the
August 31, 2022 2:18 pm

which rabanim?

You like some minhagim but not others.
August 24, 2022 7:21 am

You write that children should be taught to dress like a chossid but “dressing like a chossid” has no basis in Halacha whatsoever. It’s all minhag. So why is that minhag more important than any other minhag? It’s your own personal preference.

Not sure what you mean
Reply to  You like some minhagim but not others.
August 24, 2022 8:57 am

It’s Minhog vs myth

Minhog vs Myth?
Reply to  Not sure what you mean
August 24, 2022 9:58 am

There’s reason to believe EVERY minhog is myth. Most of the things we do because of minhog have no basis in Halacha. Everything relating to chassidus or being a chossid is pure minhog. Not to say minhog isn’t important, but there’s no difference between minhog and myth.

dont get you
Reply to  Minhog vs Myth?
August 28, 2022 10:52 pm

the difference between minhag and myth is simple, one has a source in a sefer or instruction of the rebbeim. the other is just because my friend did it, going viral is not a source

Reply to  You like some minhagim but not others.
August 24, 2022 1:55 pm

The Jews in Egypt didn’t change their way of dressing, halacha tells us we have to separate ourselves from the ways of the goyim, etc. There are many reasons why it’s important to dress like a chossid (you could call it dressing like a Yid also), and it has a long history. The three fasts was invented relatively recently and has no reason or backing whatsoever.

This is wrong
Reply to  What
August 24, 2022 9:28 pm

Jews didn’t always wear 50s style hats and suit jackets. Especially the Jews who left Egypt. Through your history Jews looked pretty similar to the people around them.

For some reason lubavitch decided the 1950s style dress was what they wanted to stick with. Maybe because that’s how it was when the rebbe took nesius.

There’s nobody in lubavitch today who looks anything like the chassidim of 100 years ago.

Reply to  What
August 25, 2022 10:35 am

So then why don’t we dress like the Jews in Egypt?

August 24, 2022 7:29 am

The 3 fasts we’re made up and there’s no reason that a kid should fast for them, they say there practicing there’s no such thing as practicing for a fast because every fast is different.

Yom Kippur
Reply to  Agree
August 31, 2022 2:19 pm

besides Yom Kipppur which a 12 yr old must fast according to the alter rebbe

Don't know about this
August 24, 2022 7:31 am

Thing I dreaded the most about my bar mitzvah was chazering the maamer. Would the OP say we get rid of this “minhag”? For my own kids I encouraged them to fast as practice runs. I told them if you see its becoming too hard, by all means, break your fast there are another two practice runs before it becomes halachik. I also checked in with most (besides the ones who were in camp at the time and I couldn’t) throughout the fast day to see how they were doing. Would you believe every one of my children fasted through… Read more »

I feel you man.
Reply to  Don't know about this
August 24, 2022 4:25 pm

Maamer was hardest for me too, even though I did it in Hebrew and when push came to shove, I only did first section and a half by heart.

And yet
August 24, 2022 7:38 am

I dont think this was a minhag from the family. It’s a newborn minhag stemming from nowhere.

August 24, 2022 7:59 am

The 3 fasts are a minhag shtus!!

Mmmmmm….not quite
August 24, 2022 8:24 am

It might be that you’re not a parent yourself or it might be that I have girls but my experience with kids and fasting is that….they kind of WANT to do it. And by “kind of” I mean, they’re chomping at the bit to do the thing to the point where you’re telling your begging 5 year old that they’re allowed to “fast until bedtime” or “fast until breakfast.” (To clarify for the author of this article, who doesn’t appear to know about this whole schematic, “fasting until bedtime” etc is the same as every other day where they’re not… Read more »

Message for our kids
August 24, 2022 8:50 am

“Chossid: behaving (and dressing) like a Chabad chossid, caring about what the Rebbe cares about, and doing more than what’s expected from a regular Jew.”

We teach our kids to feel superior to “regular Jews”. Is that the message we are giving our kids?

From Binyomin Silver
Reply to  Message for our kids
August 24, 2022 12:27 pm

The talmudic definiton of Chossid is one who goes “Lifnim mishuras hadin,” beyond the letter of the law. This means that a chossid does more than everyione else, like in the gemaras example: a tzaddik buries his nails, and a chossid burns them. Yes, Chassidim are superior. We can elevate ourselves without putting down others.

Reply to  Message for our kids
August 24, 2022 1:58 pm

We aren’t inherently superior, we just hold ourselves to a higher standard, making us superior in the sense that we act that way

Peer pressure
August 24, 2022 9:05 am

Great article. My son felt “peer pressured” into fasting his three fasts, one of which was in camp. Even though I told him he doesn’t have to. He didn’t eat properly beforehand and ended up very sick!

August 24, 2022 9:11 am

There’s no need to nitpick him every single thing that goes wrong or confuses you. I think it’s cute that they think they have the best and I encourage my kids to try to see if they could make it and if they couldn’t OK and it was no need to make a big deal about it.

Social pressure
August 24, 2022 9:28 am

It isn’t the parents.

I don’t curse – my teen does
I don’t refer to non Jews with derogatory names – my teen does
I don’t have gaming devices at home – me teen is an expert player anyway
I discouraged 3 fasts – my teens fasted anyway

Age 12 is exactly when social pressure becomes a big deal and so you end with situations that are bigger than any one person can solve on their own.

From a staff member in camp this summer
Reply to  Social pressure
August 24, 2022 12:32 pm

Ok, that’s you. Here was what I encountered in camp with certain children: 1: I curse because my father does at home. 2: Many crown heights kids have inherent racism from their parents who lived in ch during the riots. 3: My parents bought the gaming devices for me (it could’ve even been for me doing well in school etc. 4: My father told me to fast the three fasts. Preparing your kids for social and peer pressure starts at home. The same way you tell your kids before camp that there are staff members you should stay away from… Read more »

Reply to  From a staff member in camp this summer
August 24, 2022 4:27 pm

Every point you just said is absolutely correct. Kudos

Hold up.
Reply to  Social pressure
August 24, 2022 4:30 pm

Soz fam, but there’s no problem with having a gaming device at your house, as long as the gaming is kept to a moderation and is placed before the important stuff. As my saintly father would say, “Work hard, play hard”. It’s a much better medium of entertainment than non-Jewish music, movies and TV shows, because a: there is an unfathomable amount of videogames that don’t have any bad content in them, and b: you are actually doing something when you game, as opposed to watching a movie like a brain-dead potato. So don’t make it sound like it’s a… Read more »

Or maybe
August 24, 2022 9:34 am

Their mother makes better food for those fasting than those not

Oh yeah!
Reply to  Or maybe
August 25, 2022 10:40 am

Good point….and more Gatorade!

thanks and much appreciated
August 24, 2022 10:16 am

Kudos to the writer for expressing the truth and finally enlightening many where our focus should be.

August 24, 2022 10:36 am

You are right it’s a Total myth and parents should know that and focus on different things, however just to point out alot of kids actually WANT to fast at that age.

You expressed very thoroughly throughout the artic
August 24, 2022 11:18 am

Which was great to read.
In chinuch in general: you cant impose on a child/young man to do something that you are not doing.
Second: the young man shouldn’t feel forced. Forced minhagim or mitzvos lead to letting go of yiddishkeit chv
Lastly: encourage. From personal experience: Half a day is fine for training, more then a half a day is wonderful – keep going to the best of their capability and a whole day is great BUT NOT MANDATORY. If you tell it to them sincerely that’s what really counts and they’ll do the best of their capability.

Speaking about made-up Minhagim
August 24, 2022 12:48 pm

saying the first Ois of the Bar Mitzvah Mamer by your Hanochas Tefillin is a completely made-up Minhag that has no source. The Rebbe wrote in many letters that every boy by his Hanochas Tefillin should Know by heart very well Perek Mem Aleph Tanya from the beginning till the word “Liyodim” which speaks about the Kavonos you should have while putting on Tefillin. However, there are no letters of the rebbe saying that a boy by his Hanochas Tefillin should say the first Ois of the Bar Mitzvah Mamer.

thank you
Reply to  Speaking about made-up Minhagim
January 22, 2023 11:03 am

so true, glad you pointed this out

No problem here
August 24, 2022 12:57 pm

I would prefer if this article were about tipping and not this. I was not a counselor for many years now but I remember myself being Bar Mitzvah. At that age fasting the first time was more of an exciting thing, a challenge, than something to dread. Same goes with learning to lein. Both these gave a feeling of accomplishment over something like learning yet another maamor. Sometimes something that may not be the most important or “original” is still a good thing since it give a sense of accomplishment. I’m also surprised that how someone dresses made it on… Read more »

well written
August 24, 2022 8:34 pm

Well written article. When I was 11 and came home with the “3 fasts” my father told me theres no such thing, but all my friends were doing it so I did it as well. I dont believe it’s family minhagim, comes more from peer pressure

A little confused.
August 24, 2022 8:58 pm

I believe that the writer of this article kind of missed the point himself. I do agree with what your saying it’s just that the three fasts (as far as I know, and as far as it was for myself) was an existing thing to do not a burden. True people do exaggerated a little but not really something that needs to be addressed as a whole (just some specific individuals).
I think we all appreciate you coming out and telling us but I don’t believe it’s was really necessary.
Those are my thoughts.

The writer is right
August 24, 2022 10:09 pm

Yes, bar mitzvah bachurim should not think or be pressured that they need to learn a parshah. They should lear how to lain in general, and the first thing they should learn is the maamer & kitzur shlchan aruch. If they finished all that, then they can do extra stuff.

Family minhag
August 24, 2022 10:11 pm

My family minhag is that the bar mitzva must make a siyum – either on a mesechta gemara or on all of mishnayos. M

aking a siyum is IMPORTANT because it makes the bar mitzva seuda into a seudas mitzva (and not just a birthday party).

This family minhag is shared by many other families and is sourced back from the first Rebbes (I think Tzemach Tzedek).

Many “chassidim” keep the “easy” minhagim, but let the tough ones slide. It’s the challenging minhagim that separates the real chassidim from the CHINO’s (chassidim in name only).

Reply to  Family minhag
August 25, 2022 8:42 am

I am geza and just because I don’t have my kids make a siyum, it doesn’t make me a “CHINO” (Chassid In Name Only). The term CHINO was never used in previous generations, only Geza or a Tzu-gekumen. Don’t use the term “CHINO” and don’t introduce it to our community.

When people invent things:because the reality is
Reply to  Geza
August 25, 2022 12:32 pm

dont impose on me that you are related to The Baal shem tov and have to hold you in such a status, when you clearly ACT like a CHINO for the purpose to put others down.

What on earth
Reply to  When people invent things:because the reality is
August 26, 2022 5:08 am

Does the Rebbe want chassidim who talk to and think about b’nei Abraham Yitzchok and Yaakov like this? Both of you. The lack of kavod for a fellow yid who is precious to Hashem like an only child born in old age because it makes a person feel good to think they’re better.

August 24, 2022 11:12 pm

Whether its a minhag or a myth, its not worth writing an oped about it. I doubt any kid is forced into it. Most kids like to brag about it, and so be it.

Misht nisht
August 25, 2022 12:03 am

Puleeze. If parents want to instill a custom in their children regarding fast days, that’s their prerogative, just as any other family, sect, cultural, societal custom. It’s not the counselor’s position to judge. If the camp has a policy, which by virtue of their sending their kids there, the parents agree to, then counselors seek to maintain such policy. But counselors aren’t to insert their opinion about such things.

August 25, 2022 3:05 pm

Kesubos daf 50A art-scroll notes #19

Oh look!
Reply to  Source
August 25, 2022 3:57 pm

There is a source after all! In TODAY’s Daf Yomi (the source posted) the Gemara specifies that “Abaye states that 2 years before a boy’s 13th year, he should be trained to fast for a few hours (Yoma 82a). When he becomes 12 he should fast the entire day.” OP- in addition to this being a genuine source, I have a couple bones to pick with your article. 1: in the Chabad Pesach Haggadah (only), Mah Nishtana is written in a different order, beginning with the MINHAG of dipping twice to point out the importance of minhag in Yidishkeit. 2.… Read more »

What is a fast day
Reply to  Oh look!
August 26, 2022 2:15 am

A fast day is a holy day and not a day to just watch movies so even after bar mitzvah they need this memo

It’s worse to baby the kids
September 4, 2022 7:34 am

A Chayol learns to do his duty that he does not like. Each kid can ask a shaila if there is an issue of fasting. Hope we don’t spoil them