Are Birthday Celebrations Un-Jewish?

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  • #602428
    avhaben
    Participant

    Is there any source of Jews celebrating birthdays with parties and gifts prior to America?

    #859678
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    There are also no sources of Jews eating hot dogs with mustard and relish before coming to America. Does that make it UnJewish?

    The Wolf

    #859679
    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Good point, Wolf.

    Actually, the Ben Ish Chai mentions that it was his family’s Minhag and that it is a good Siman.

    #859680
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Wolf,

    There were no hot dogs in Bavel (or Radin for that matter). There were birthdays.

    #859681
    gabie
    Member

    Haleivi: Do you follow all of the Ben Ish Chai’s minhagim? What was his minhag, anyways?

    #859682
    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    There were birthdays.

    Not in the common, contemporary sense that you’re thinking of. I’d wager that in ancient times, many people did not even know exactly when their birthday was.

    The Wolf

    #859683
    Think first
    Member

    I recently saw an article written about this amd I was quite surprised. Seems like the chasam sofer would make a seuda on his birthday and invite people. The writer also mentioned many other Gedolim that did similarly. Also its a day where ones mazal is “good” if ur into that stuff.

    #859684
    avhaben
    Participant

    What is the source of that claim regarding the Chasam Sofer? And where is that article?

    #859685
    Toi
    Participant

    I’m not coming to argue against the chasam sofer (if its true), but I heard from a rebbi that the only place we find a birthday party in the Torah is by paroh. And he was bad.

    #859686
    gabie
    Member

    In the sefer Afraskta D’anya he writes that the tradition of the Chasam Sofer is that one shouldn’t celebrate his birthday. The Minchas Elazar writes that the Rabbonim of the previous doros didn’t celebrate birthdays. And the Gemora in Avoda Zora lists the Roman holidays and celebrations (in an uncomplimentary way), and one of the Roman celebrations mentioned is birthday celebrations.

    #859688
    sam4321
    Participant

    Rav Chaim Kanievsky calls it minhag paroh. The Taam vadaas brings down that the Chasam Sofer held one should celebrate his bris day instead of his birthday.

    #859689
    gefen
    Participant

    sam: um….. so what should my daughters and I celebrate?

    #859690
    avhaben
    Participant

    The point is not to assume that you should celebrate.

    #859691
    sam4321
    Participant

    Gefen: good question. Not everyone says celebrating birthdays is wrong. Whichever way you hold, I don’t think making a machlokes is better than serving a cake. The point is a lot of people celebrate their English birthday which is not even part of the discussion and it is sad that some don’t even know their Hebrew birthday.

    #859692
    writersoul
    Member

    gefen: kiddush day? Might be a bit hard, though, considering that I didn’t have a kiddush until I was a year and a half (the shul was under construction, etc. etc.).

    We celebrate birthdays in my family just not SUCH a big deal. Like we have a cake and we decorate the kitchen and the birthday kid gets to pick dinner. Just cute stuff, nothing fancy.

    TO slightly change the subject, what’s with the recent trend in making crazy-fancy bas mitzvahs? My sister’s going to all her friends’ ones and they are literally through the roof. They’re fancier than a lot of bar mitzvahs that I’ve been to.

    #859693
    147
    Participant

    The Taam vadaas brings down that the Chasam Sofer held one should celebrate his bris day instead of his birthday. ……… Indeed the christians do, since jesus’s Bris would have been 1 week later on January 1st, hence they count their new year from January 1st.

    #859694
    Toi
    Participant

    147- or youj just spewed up a nice coincidence with which to further your anti-dass-torah shittos. And make fun of the Chasam sofer. Not a smart move.

    #859695
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    There were birthdays.

    Not in the common, contemporary sense that you’re thinking of. I’d wager that in ancient times, many people did not even know exactly when their birthday was.

    The Wolf

    If they felt it important to celebrate a birthday, they would consider it important to keep track of the day. They must have kept track of it for twelve or thirteen years, though, to know when mitzvah obligations began.

    #859696
    yitayningwut
    Participant

    Weird. Judaism is all about celebrating anniversaries of important events. All the yamim tovim are about that. You make a bracha on a fruit that you haven’t eaten in a year, why? Because the fruit means so much that you can actually honestly say with sincerity ??????? ??????? ??????? ???? ????? I heard from my rabbeim that the idea is you are celebrating and thanking Hashem for the fact that you made it until the next year, or until you needed a new suit, etc., and they said ?? ??? one should celebrate a birthday for the same reason, even if there’s no mitzvah to make a bracha. Now maybe there’s no special inyan to make a party, but to say that it’s somehow not a Jewish idea to celebrate a birthday, is a shtus. In my humble opinion of course.

    #859697
    sam4321
    Participant

    Yitay: the ones who hold that it is not jewish bring the gemara in eiruvin that better not to have been born,so why celebrate .the ones who make birthdays when they turn 60,70… base it off pirkei avos.

    #859698
    Toi
    Participant

    yit- And the chasam sofer’s not so humble opinion is not like you. BTW, the havana in celebrating yamim tovim is not that they are anniversaries of anything- go ask your rabbeim about that.

    #859699
    ambush
    Participant

    I do believe that the Ben Ish Chai made a seudah- a “party”, as a thank you to Hakadosh Baruch Hu for his life, for bringing him into the world, and for this reason, he said everyone should celebrate their birthdays…

    #859700

    Birthday present min haTorah minayin?

    …? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???? ?????? ??? ????? ?????

    Tehillim 2:7-8

    #859701
    gabie
    Member

    ambush: The BIC doesnt write everyone should do it. He writes “There are those that have a custom… And it is a good sign.”

    #859702
    Logician
    Participant

    The “Aderes” says that the only time the Torah mentions a birthday celebration is by Paroh.

    #859704
    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Gabi, he writes that it is his Minhag. He mentions that some have the Minhag of celebrating the Bris day, but it is not his Minhag. He does have a Teffila for that day, though.

    The reference of Noach Lo Shelo Haya Nivra is more about what would have been better. To be upset about being created goes against every Teffila of Hodaa. We always thank Hashem for life. The Maharal writes that although it would be easier not to be created we bend our will to the will of Hashem. That is why the Gemara says that we should thank our grandparents, who if not for their Cheit we would not have been created.

    Think of it this way. It is definitely easier to remain a child but the fact is you grow up, and celebrate it, too. (I’m not just referring to the Seuda of Bar Mitzva. I’m talking about any human that celebrates growing up.)

    Some feel that pointing out the older age can cause Ayin Hara, while the Ben Ish Chai says that it is a good Siman. Bilvad Sheyichaven Libo Lashomayim.

    #859705
    cherrybim
    Participant

    We celebrate Bar Mitzva which is essentially a birthday and we celebrate Moshe Rabeinu’s birthday- 7 Adar. Lubavitch still celebrates the Rebbe’s birthday and birthdays in general. The Chofetz Chaim had a big birthday party when he was in his ninety’s. And I get an aliya to celebrate my birthday. Yidden in galus need celebrations and good wishes, hence the reason for the American minhag of “vort”, which I can’t find in the Torah either.

    #859706
    Avi K
    Participant

    Gabi, the BIC (First Year Re’eh 17) writes that he and his family did it and that it is a siman tov (there is a source for this in the Yerushalmi Rosh HaShana 3:8). Sixty is mentioned in the Gemara (Moed Katan 28a) and seventy by the Chavat Yair (Siman 70). The Bet Yisrael (Siman 31) explains that seventy is the normal human lifespan and having attained it is a good thing.

    #859707
    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    Cherry, there always was a Seudas Eirusin, of which it is a direct descendant.

    #859708
    Toi
    Participant

    cherry- R Gedalia schorr in his sefer ohr gedalyahu explains the reason we make a vort. And its not some warm and fuzzy im in galus reason. A bar mtzva isnt celebrating a birthday, its celebrating that a person is now a mitzuveh vi’oiseh. zayin adar is also Moshe rabbeinu’s yuhrtzeit, and thats why most people celebrate it. Lubavitchers celebrate the rebbes b day cuz hes not dead, so he cant have a yuhrtzeit. anything else?

    #859709
    gabie
    Member

    If the seforim say we make a celebration on the 13, 60, and 70 birthdays davka, obviously the underlying basis is that we don’t do it on every birthday.

    #859710
    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    Toi: Then why do they celebrate the yohrtzeit too?

    #859711
    Toi
    Participant

    its an excuse to get hammered.why do they farbreng. seriously.

    #859713
    longarekel
    Member

    Paroh was no fool. The Torah does not discuss fools. He celebrated the birthday because it deserves celebration. HOWEVER he celebrated it the wrong way. Since he considered himself a god, he celebrated himself as the source of his existence. The correct way to celebrate it is to recognize that Hashem is the Source of his existence and on that day an extention and reflection of that Source was brought to this world. This is a cause for celebration since every year on that day that energy is once again renewed (to a lesser degree). This is why his mazal is considered to be stronger on that day and is a good time to give brachos to others in addition to being mispallel for oneself and others.

    #859714
    longarekel
    Member

    Gefen: The reason for celebrating the brisday is because a boy is not considered complete until the orlah is removed. Since a girl does not have an orlah, she is born complete and therefore her birthday is equivalent to his brisday (according to this opinion. personally I think they should both celebrate the birthday).

    #859715
    longarekel
    Member

    writersoul: It is appropriate to celebrate a bas-mitzva because she then becomes a metzuva v’osa. However since it is proper for her to be a tzenua, it should not be a grand affair, but rather a small celebration at home. That would be good for a bar-mitzva as well, but for a girl an extravagant bas-mitzva celebration is a contradiction in terms.

    #859716
    Logician
    Participant

    Toi – kdai haleidah she’tichaper al hamisah. sounds like Haman was happy about it being his yartzeit, and we’re happy because its his birthday.

    #859717
    longarekel
    Member

    Logician: Very good point. I always wondered why chassidim are so into celebrating yahrtzeits. The fact that they were tzaddikim doesn’t help since Moshe and Aharon (and Yehoshua and others) were certainly tzadikim and the Shulchan Aruch recommends fasting on their yahrtzeits(Orach Chaim 580).

    #859718
    Toi
    Participant

    Logician- I cant figure out what you wrote.

    #859719
    cherrybim
    Participant

    “there always was a Seudas Eirusin, of which it is a direct descendant’

    You can find all kinds of reasons after the fact, but the vort evolved in America. Same for all the other stuff; birthdays became a minhag America in the frum community and the celebrations can bring people closer to Hashem with all the good wishes and brochos and happiness.

    #859720
    postal
    Member

    Vorts didn’t start by goyim. Birthday parties did. (Romans?)

    #859721
    longarekel
    Member

    The Ben Ish Chai was never in America.

    #859722
    Logician
    Participant

    Toi – Chazal say that Haman was happy that the Pur fell on Adar, because that’s when Moshe died. However, he did not know that he was born then too, and so “the birth atones for the death” (don’t know what it means, that what it says).

    The way I heard from my Rebbe, is that you would assume that Moshe’s death is not an auspicious time for Klal Yisrael, because it represents the leaving of Torah. The fact that he was born then too, shows that his petirah wasn’t truly an end, but a “rebirth” (Chazal discuss how a talmid can reach greater heights after his Rebbe’s petirah – think Elisha.)

    If so, a yartzeit is only a good day by tzadikkim, by whom the concept “hish’limu shi’nosum” applies.

    #859723
    Avi K
    Participant

    Longarkel, he is in America now. His sefarim are available in both Hebrew and English.

    #859724
    Toi
    Participant

    I chapped that you were bringing down a rashi in megilla, just didnt chap the oisfeer.

    #859725
    nfgo3
    Member

    I believe that the Lubabitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Sshneerson, advised Jews to treat their birthdays as their own personal Rosh Hashanahs.

    #859726
    cherrybim
    Participant

    Hakaras Hatov is forever. It is a worthy thing to show gratitude and recognition to the miracle of your birth once a year, on the anniversary of that wonderful event.

    #859727
    gabie
    Member

    That’s what the Bris Milah Day, every year’s anniversary, does.

    #859728
    longarekel
    Member

    Avi K: I think you missed my point. My point was that birthday celebrations could not have started in America since the Ben Ish Chai celebrated birthdays and he was never in America.

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