Following a bar mitzvah boy’s inaugural aliyah (the first time he is called to the Torah as a qualified adult), it is customary for his father to say a special blessing, named Baruch Shepetarani, thanking G‑d for reaching this auspicious moment:

בָּרוּךְ שֶׁפְּטָרַנִי מֵעֹנֶשׁ הַלָּזֶה.

This is what it sounds like:

Ba-ruch she-pe-ta-ra-nee mei-o-nesh ha-la-zeh.

This is what it means:

Blessed be He who has released me from being punishable for this [boy].

Understanding Baruch Sheptarani

The bar mitzvah boy is now a full-fledged member of the Jewish people, and as such, he is responsible for his own actions. This blessing expresses that transition.

This notion was asserted in the Midrash Rabbah, where Rabbi Shimon bar Tzadok stated: A person must care for his son until 13 years. After that, he should say, “Blessed are you L‑rd our G‑d, King of the universe, who has released me from the punishment of this [boy].”1

This blessing is not mentioned in the Talmud or in the earlier Halachic codes. In accordance with the ruling of the Ramah, Rabbi Moshe Isserles,2 the blessing here does not include the name of G‑d, as it would be disrespectful to G‑d to mention His name unnecessarily.