This morning I went to a bar mitzvah.
Some of you might be wondering what I was doing going to a bar mitzvah on a Tuesday morning that is not a Rosh Chodesh (and therefore no Torah reading). I did a double-take myself…until I remembered that the most important part of the bar mitzvah is not getting an aliyah of reading the haftarah (or getting pelted with candy). The most important thing is
the gifts when the new man accepts upon himself Ol Malchut Shamayim (the yoke of heaven).
That is what I witnessed this morning. After selichot (the family is Sefardi) and shofar blowing (before Shacharit), the new man publicly donned his tallit for the first time with a blessing, then his tefillin. Different friends and relatives helped him to put on his tefillin. After this he led the prayer service, and then gave a dvar Torah.
Seems a little old-fashioned. But it seemed right.