“Patur Mitzvos” – Being Exempt
I’m curious about what a certain phrase means. What does “patar mitzvos” mean?
You see, I am Jewish, not so knowledgeable about religion, but I work with an Orthodox woman who just got married Sunday. I was invited to the wedding. It was not the first Orthodox wedding I have been to, but it was the first with separate seating for men and women at the reception.
But there was one man sitting in the women’s section who actually had a place-card there. And he was at my table, together with his mother. He was in his early 20s and his mother told me he was autistic, but he didn’t appear visibly handicapped. He actually seemed very smart and gregarious and he liked me a lot. In fact I liked him so much, if I were closer to his age, I’d be interested in marrying him. But I’m 52 and divorced with a grown son and I obviously couldn’t marry him.
The wedding was a very worthwhile experience. His mother was a very nice lady, around my age, and I feel I found a new friend in her. Unlike most guests there, who were dressed formally, she was wearing a plaid top and jean skirt. This made me feel comfortable around her, as I wasn’t so well dressed up myself in a turtleneck and khaki skirt. And she just seemed so relaxed and not overbearing. I exchanged contact info with her, and we plan to get together more in the future when we have more time. She, like me, is a divorcee, close to my age.
I asked her out of curiosity why her son was sitting in the women’s section. She said he was “patar mitzvos” and he wanted badly to be with his mother, and my co-worker’s parents honored this request. What does that term mean? And I am curious why that would allow him to sit with the women.