January, March, June or November (or any of the other months not listed)...Nope, that's not the birthday about which we are writing. Jewish Treats wants to know: Do you know your Hebrew birthday?
Knowing the date of one's Hebrew birthday can be an important building block in one’s Jewish identity. There are two reasons why one might want to have this information. The easy and obvious reason is that two birthday parties are better than one! (Hey, you’ve got lots to celebrate, right!)
On a more serious note, however, the Jerusalem Talmud (Rosh Hashana 3:8) relates that a person has a special mazal on his/her date of birth on the Hebrew calendar. “Mazal” is a difficult word to translate, often defined as luck or fortune. Mazal, however, is a much more spiritual concept--it is the spiritual influence that affects a specific person or time. Some days are known to have particularly good or particularly bad mazal. For instance, the ninth of Av (Tisha Ba’Av-date of the destruction of the Holy Temples) is a day of notoriously bad mazal for the entire Jewish nation.
A person’s birthday is a day of positive mazal for that person because it is a day that represents potential. Great leaders of Jewish life have viewed birthdays in many different ways. Some have felt that a birthday is a day meant for introspection, reflection and resolution for the future. Others have used it as a day to celebrate with those close to them, or to bring the celebration to others by handing out tzedakah(charity) and brachot (blessings).
So now that you know the significance of this date in your life, we repeat: Do you know your Hebrew birthday?! (If the answer is no, click here to find the date.)
This Treat was last posted on January 21, 2009.
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