Will Bar Mitzvah Bachurim miss their First Day of Tefillin?

This year is one the rare cases that some boys’ Bar Mitzvahs, and requirement to put on Tefillin, will take place before what they consider to be their Hebrew birthday.

Kollel Oholei Yom Tov relates to TLS that boys who were born on the First of Kislev thirteen years ago, (December 2, 2005) will not become Bar Mitzvah this year on the First of Kislev, but rather one day before, the first day of Rosh Chodesh Kislev, the thirtieth day of Cheshvan, (Thursday, November 8, 2018). (Mishna Berura Siman 55 S’if Katan 45.)

The reason for that is, that this year, as opposed to thirteen years ago, since there is a thirtieth day to the month of Cheshvan, it has the halachic status of Rosh Chodesh Kislev, and for all practical purposes, the boy is Bar Mitzvah on the thirtieth day of Cheshvan and is required to put on Tefillin. The issue is further discussed in Shaarei Teshuva ibid. and one should consult with their local Rov.

“People who are not aware of this may inadvertently miss their first day of Teffilin and other Mitzvos,” the Kollel said.

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  1. Mmm… interesting.
    1. If the birthday is the first of the month (1 Kislev) then why would a two day rosh chodesh make a difference? Isn’t the birthday still 1 Kislev, regardless of what day Rosh Chodesh it is?
    2. Why is this being pointed out now specifically for Kislev? There other months that also fluctuate between one or two days of rosh chodesh.
    3. During a leap year, do we say that everyone’s birthday, from Adar Bais and on to the end of that year, is automatically one month earlier now?

  2. Kudos for bringing this to the public’s attention. I’m sure Sofrim will also want to spread the word.
    While on topic, there is a misconception out there that boys turn Bar Mitzvah on their 13th birthday + 1 day. In truth they turn Bar Mitzvah on their actual birthday (the evening before).
    Although there is mention of 13+1 in Halacha, all it means is that you have to wait for the beginning of the day after the completion of the 13th year – a.k.a “the birthday”! (ibid. S’if Katan 42)

  3. Only Kislev and Teves change in different years between one or two days Rosh chodesh. All the other months are ALWAYS either one or two days RC. The reson this year is a rarity is because this only makes a difference for Bar Mitzvah boys when the year in which they were born had only one day Rosh Chodesh and thirteen years later there were 2 days Rosh chodesh. If both had either one or two days RC then the bar mitzvah is on the same day as they were born.

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