A Prayer When a Child is Born
he celebration of birthdays is unknown in traditional Jewish ritual." In fact, it says, the only birthday party mentioned in the Bible is for Pharaoh!
A birthday can be an opportunity to bring a spiritual element into your child's life and yours. You can celebrate in a reflective way that helps you think about the blessings and changes the past year has brought. You can celebrate the qualities you most like about your child or reminisce about funny or heartwarming things your child did. And you can reflect out loud about what your child means to you. As your child grows older, this custom is likely to become a highlight of the birthday celebration. The following ideas adapt old rituals for modern celebrations.
In Jewish law, although the human soul exists before birth, human life begins at birth, that is, at the time when the child is more than halfway emerged from the mother's body. For more details about the consequences of this doctrine, see Abortion.
Judaism completely rejects the notion of original sin. According to Judaism, a child is born pure, completely free from sin. We pray daily "Oh G-d, the soul which you gave me is pure. You created it, you fashioned it, you breathed it into me."
Birth by Caesarean section is permitted in Jewish law, as would be just about any procedure necessary to preserve the life of the mother or the child.
Immediately after birth, a woman is considered niddah and must remain sexually separated from her husband for a period of seven days after the birth of a male child and 14 days after the birth of a female child. Lev. 12:2. This separation is the same as the regular monthly niddah separation. In the days of theTemple, when considerations of ritual purity were more important, a woman was considered partially impure for an additional period of 33 days after the birth of a male child and 66 days after the birth of a female child. No reason is stated why the period is longer for a female child than for a male child; however, one of my resources emphasizes that a female child is not more defiling than a male child, because the method of purification at the end of this period is the same for both genders.
Welcome, welcome to this breathtaking world. We have been waiting for you. Waiting to see your beautiful face, to hear the sound of your cry, to kiss you, hold you, rock you. You are the fruit of our love, of our hearts, of our souls.
We have prayed for this day, and now it is here. But no amount of anticipation could have prepared us for you. You are a miracle. You are a gift from God. You are ours.
May God watch over you in love and bless you with health. How can we express our gratitude to You, God? You have sent us a perfect blessing.
Thank You, bless You, Source of all life.