Tag Archives: Torah

The Ingredients of Unity

Day 7 – Berachos 8

The Gemara says that Hashem says that anyone who is involved in Torah, Chesed and Tefilla B’tzibbur, He considers that person as if they freed Him and his son from amongst the nations.

The Tiferes Shlomo explains that the last sentence עם הציבור is referring not just to tefilla, but to Chesed and learning Torah as well. He elaborates, if one has in mind that: the Torah that one learns should be a protection for the Tzibbur, and the reward for his Chesed should go towards the Tzibbur and finally that his tefillos are on behalf of the tzibbur. 

The Maharal takes this a step further and explains that these 3 things are what unites the Jewish people during the times of Galus where everyone is separated from each other and scattered amongst the nations. Therefore anyone who is involved in Torah, Chesed and Tefilla is working to bring the Jewish people back together and Hashem considers it as if you brought the Geula and redeemed Klal Yisrael from amongst the nations.

Based on Tiferes Shlomo Moadim. Maharal Netzach Yisrael 25

The Birthday in Traditional Jewish Thought

ויהי ביום השלישי יום הלדת את פרעה ויעש משתה לכל עבדיו וישא את ראש שר המשקים ואת ראש שר האפים בתוך עבדיו

The sole reference to a celebration of one’s birthday in the Torah is found in Parshas VaYeshev1 . I would like to analyze the tradition of this celebration in Jewish thought and how it applies in both law and custom.

There are many events that we mark with special occasions: The creation of the world on Rosh Hashanah; the judgment of trees and plants on Tu B’Shvat; the dedication of the Beis HaMikdash on Chanukah, the creation of fire on Motzei Shabbos, and the anniversary of one’s birth.

We see many sources for the birthday celebration throughout Chazal.

Rav Chaim Dovid Halevy2 explains that the original Torah source for the celebration of one’s birthday is from Pharaoh, however, it originated as a custom of kings to celebrate their birthdays in public festivities3. and eventually individuals also began to have private birthday festivities in their homes4.

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