Babies Looking Into Mirrors

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  • #591735

    oomis
    Participant

    What do you know of the idea that a baby should not look into a mirror until after the first tooth has come in? Has anyone heard this, is there such a law, and what is the makor and/or rationale for it?

    #692234

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    I’ve heard it’s a lubavitcher minhag.

    I don’t follow it

    #692235

    I heard that it’s an inyan not to let a baby look in the mirror until s/he’s three months old and that it’s because they see a malach. I heard it from many people but I don’t know if its something real. It doesn’t hurt to be careful.

    #692236

    dunno
    Member

    I heard 2 yrs old. I really wonder about the source…

    #692237

    anonymrs
    Participant

    ive heard until they get their first tooth, and ive also heard until they begin to talk.

    #692238

    oomis
    Participant

    So what I am hearing is, a) it is a Lubavitcher minhag b) no one who has mentioned it knows of a source for it c) no one agrees on the age the baby can be to look into the mirror and d) the kid might see a malach (or might not), and e)(and most important) no one yet has said it is halacha.

    I really need to know and I cannot reach my rov to talk about it. I had a visitor in hysterics by me, because her baby MIGHT have seen a mirror on a toy.

    #692239

    I’m almost sure there is a mekor and is exact info abt this i’ll try to find out asap

    #692240

    oomis
    Participant

    Thanks, sdhkn

    #692241

    aries2756
    Participant

    I heard it from my mother when I was young. I am sure it was an old bubba meisah. I was told until a baby started to talk or s/he would be frightened and wouldn’t talk. It didn’t work, they all talk and they love looking into the mirror. Somehow my mom forgot about it as we started bathing the kids in the bathroom instead of in a baby bath in the bedroom and lifted them up wrapped in their towels and showing them off in the bathroom mirror.

    #692242

    baalhaabos
    Participant

    I was told by a choshuva Yerushalmi that it is until they get a tooth.

    #692243

    artchill
    Participant

    aries2756:

    I wrote similar on Motzei Shabbos but the moderator deleted it. Then again, they deleted every post of mine that night. Guess it was a late night for the Moderator!!

    #692244

    Mayan_Dvash
    Participant

    I heard a shiur a number of years ago from a known Posek in New York who said it’s nonsense. Same thing about “stepping over” somebody.

    #692245

    yeshivahman
    Member

    The debrecziner rav z”l brings it in Be’er moshe (don’t remember exactly where) and says that until the baby gets its first tooth it should not look in a mirror.

    #692246

    Velveleh
    Member

    When I had a child I was also nervous about this as many toys come with mirrors.

    So I asked R Yaakov Hillel who told me that there is no mekor for it.

    #692247

    hereorthere
    Member

    Maybe it has nothing to do with spirits or angels but might be more based on down to Earth, reasons?

    For example: Perhaps a baby that looks into mirrors will grow up being vain and could G-d forbid wind up being like some who always have to worry about their looks, and who can’t pass by a mirror without admiring themselves?

    So if as babies, they are taught not to look at mirors, perhaps they might be less likely to get that characteristic of being so vain, and self absorbed, later on in life?

    #692248

    anon for this
    Participant

    hereorthere, your theory that infants are discouraged from looking in mirrors so as not to promote vanity or self-absorption is an interesting one. However, I disagree with that explanation, because most babies won’t recognize themselves in a mirror before they’re a year old. Before that age, looking in a mirror wouldn’t foster vanity, since infants don’t realize they are seeing themselves. And judging from previous posts, there don’t seem to be any minhagim discouraging babies from looking in mirrors past one year of age.

    #692249

    although i was so sure of myself that there is a mekor for this – however the answer i received is that there is No Mekor for it – just like stepping over someone – that they won’t grow. (I would be a shrimp if that were the case)

    #692250

    smartcookie
    Member

    Anyone heard about not kissing the sole of a baby’s foot? Anything to that one???

    EDITED, Although the discussion is interesting, the olam in CR is not the best place to definitively determine if a Yiddish practice is the result of hidden Chochma or not.

    #692251

    sofdavar, I am curious, now that whoever you asked is unaware of a mikor for this, and now that you have given a “proof” from your own self, would you step over your child or grandchild?

    #692252

    fabie
    Member

    My wife says that my mother-in-law used to mention that minhag as well.

    #692253

    Rav Moshe Stern zt”l (Be’er Moshe 8:36) was asked regarding the validity of three minhagim pertaining to children.

    1. Not to let a baby looks at itself in a mirror before its teeth start to come out because the teeth may not come out on time and its speech development may be delayed.

    2. Not to walk over children because it may stunt their growth. If one walks over a child he should make sure to walk back over again.

    3. Tie a red string on a baby carriage and/or crib to ward off Ayin Hara.

    He says they are all valid minhagim that were practiced in his home, and people in general were careful about them. He quotes a Rashba that says that you should not cheapen or be “Mizalzel” in Minhag Nashim Zekeinos (old wives tales) since they are certainly rooted in holy ideas, even if we have forgotten the reason for them.

    #692254

    mod 80-interesting because I never heard a sure answer about allowing babies to look in the mirror but I definitely heard that the other two things you mentioned are totally made up and have no mekor(and I asked my rav about it)

    #692255

    mosherose
    Member

    “He quotes a Rashba that says that you should not cheapen or be “Mizalzel” in Minhag Nashim Zekeinos (old wives tales) since they are certainly rooted in holy ideas, even if we have forgotten the reason for them. “

    Too bad it seems that some people seemto take joy in being mezalzel our minhagim and Chazal.

    #692256

    hereorthere
    Member

    Mischiefmaker I would be surprised if YW Moderator-80, was misquoting Rav Moshe (though I do not ‘know’ for sure).

    So if Rav Moshe really said this, what would your Rav say in response?

    #692257

    I will ask my rav and tell you as soon as I know.

    #692258

    Mod 80 – yes i would. I actually asked my posek when i had another shayla. He is very tall and responded to my question that it’s the same thing as stepping over someone. He ended off “noch a mazel they stepped over me when i was young otherwise i’d be like Og Melech Habashan” those were his words. He is a very respected and well known posek in my community and i trust him. Ch”v i’m not trying to be mezalzel in the minhagay Klal Yisroel. If there’s no source, it’s not a minhag.

    #692259

    Thanks sof

    Im not sure I would agree with: “If there’s no source, it’s not a minhag.”

    The source of these old “minhagim” is not always known today. That doesn’t mean there is no source. The source may not necessarily be in Halachah, or even something in Seforim. Maybe some shouldn’t be called Minhagim, but rather the conduct of our alter bubbies.

    #692260

    Mod 80 – fine maybe that’s a little strong statement yes, maybe there are minhagim that we dont’ know the source but we follow them. Lets just remember that even within minhagim there are different levels. At least lets differentiate between them. Concerning this one with babies, i just follow my posek

    #692262

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Moderator 80,

    Thanks for the ???? ????. I always wondered about this ????.

    A link to (Be’er Moshe 8:36): http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=890&st=&pgnum=420

    #692264

    sof

    I agree fully with your decision to abide by your Posek

    #692266

    if there’s no realsource then it’s lo sinachshu

    #692267

    Sister Bear
    Member

    I heard it was because they see the reflection of a Shin-Daled and it scares them.

    We don’t let babies look in until they get their first tooth and when I asked my mother she said because that’s what her grandmother did. 🙂

    #692268

    oomis
    Participant

    One of my babies got her first tooth at three months, others didn’t begin to teethe until a few months later. I think that the tooth thing is probably without merit, unless someone has a real makor for it. There may be a valid reason for babies not looking in a mirror, though I never heard of it until recently, and can only attest from my own experience that the first time my babies saw themselves in a mirror, they ALL laughed with delight and tried to touch the “other” baby.

    #692269

    lakewoodwife
    Member

    Maybe this will help people who are torn between calling it minhag or Maase imahos. A friend of mine once asked a big poseik (it’s been a while & I don’t remember whom she asked) about buying things for a baby before it’s born (I think this falls into a similar category as the other items that have been mentioned). The response- There is no known mekor for not buying however you must ask rishus from the Bubbies as if it will upset them it should not be done. (He did say that if she could do it in a way that there was no way the Bubby would find out and it really made a difference to her, then she could do it)

    Perhaps we can say something similar here: There is no known mekor, but there are definitely families in which this is the respected practice. If you are a member of such a family, it might be worth your while to try being careful.

    #692270

    Moq
    Member

    The Rashbah is used often to rationalize abiding by something without a known source; the Minchas Yitzchak uses in regards to not eating the first piece of a loaf of bread (many do this only on shabbos). Dayan Fisher, though, used to make fun of the minhag, as it was sourceless. He davka ate the first piece.

    But we do find sources going back three hundred years about it, though none bring a reason. Kol Davar Shachasu Bah Zekenos – it’s actually a Yerushalmi; I assume that’s where the Rashbah got it from. But where is the line? I don’t know. But I know there is one. And I know that hysteria also isn’t warranted.

    #692271

    Moq
    Member

    The Minchas Yitzchak quotes two opinions about the above Rashbah –

    1) The Teshuvas Remah – this Rashbah only applies to something which is mentioned in the Poskim.

    2) The Heshiv Moshe – the Rashbah even applies if there is no other source.

    Correction – the Yerushalmi I thought it was referring in the beginning of Brachos refers to the Chachamim. Or at least I think so.

    #692272

    oomis
    Participant

    I ALWAYS prefer the end piece of bread or challah, and don’t we have a minhag to give the “shpitz” from the bris challah to a pregnant woman? “Kol Davar Shachasu Bah Zekenos” are basically old wives’ tales. I find it interesting that the very people who put such stock into what the Alte Bubbahs and Imahos said to do or not do whether based in a valid HALACHIC source or not, are also the ones who say not to teach women Torah because they are kalos daas.

    #692273

    Moq
    Member

    Oomis…forgive me, are you disagreeing with the array of sources above? Care to explain why?

    The entire premise of the Rashbah is that our mesorah – even things without sources, as per the Heshiv Moshe – is ultimately something to be wary of rejecting. Hence, the Minchas Yitzchak, The Ben Ish Chai, are wary of eating the first piece of challah. Dayan Fisher disagreeed with them on a Halachic basis (based on a Gemara in Horayos. But I don’t believe that’s where you are coming from).

    And perhaps you can source the custom of giving “the spitz” to a pregnant woman? And if you can’t…well, I suppose you should consider it silly as well.

    Do you disagree? Why? You seem to respect “valid halachic sources”; does the Rashbah make the par?

    The concept is that often old wives tales are often based on something. That is precisely what the Rashbah is saying. While the Remah limits it, the Heshiv Moshe does not. There is certainly room for debate here; but you don’t seem to be basing your point on anything. You seem to be rather flippant with Halachic sources.

    Again, based on your professed respect of valid Halachic sources, chazal teach us not to teach (emphasis on teach) women Torah to the fact they are Kaley Daas. This is gemara in Sotah, 6a.

    Presumably that is a valid halachic source.

    This is written in Shulchan Aruch that a woman indeed gets schar for learning Torah, yet it advisable not to do so because most women are Kaley HaDaas. Therefore chazal advised not to so; yet the Remah that women must learn what Halachos are relevant to them. The Chafetz Chaim adds that this applies to anything which brings to Yiras Shamayim.

    Clearly that has nothing to do with Zekenos in the mesorah in regards to how to act (such as not eating the end piece of the bread) as this a Halacha which is relevant to them, and hence it is part of their limud. This would apply to any principle of Emunah, as well.

    In addition, the concept of Kaley HaDaas is not relevant to keeping a chain of a clear halachic psak; rather, halachic analysis.

    The concept is if a woman is sufficiently capably of totally disconnected her emotions from intellectual analysis. Not that she is not capable of intellectual analysis, but as the power of her emotions in influencing her final conclusion. This is something that we see – and appreciate, I should hope – in day to day life.

    How exactly to apply this principle is a subject of debate. Not random flippancy.

    For further edification, may I suggest Rebbetzins Heller’s excellent “Our Bodies, Our Souls”. She rights extensively about Klaley HaDaas and explains it rather clearly. Or she merely an old wive, as well?

    Perhaps a little more respect for valid halachic sources would be in order? Or at least, why you wish to write as you do and still profess respect for “valid halachic sources”?

    #692274

    smartcookie
    Member

    The end of the challah definitely has a mekor but I’m not sure where.

    It can cuz forgetfullness for MEN when learning if they eat it. But oomis, since you’re female, you can continue enjoying that piece of challah!

    #692275

    Yanky55
    Member

    The ideal as far as babies and mirrors are concerned, is not to have them look at mirrors until they are old enough to understand not to touch the mirror (as babies tend to touch everything they see). If they are allowed to touch a mirror, it definitely causes fingerprints…..

    #692276

    sheldon
    Member

    It says in shulchan aruch that a man should not look in a mirror because of beged isha.

    #692277

    oomis
    Participant

    ” But oomis, since you’re female, you can continue enjoying that piece of challah! “

    Thanks, I will 🙂

    #692278

    oomis
    Participant

    “Oomis…forgive me, are you disagreeing with the array of sources above? Care to explain why?

    The entire premise of the Rashbah is that our mesorah – even things without sources, as per the Heshiv Moshe – is ultimately something to be wary of rejecting. Hence, the Minchas Yitzchak, The Ben Ish Chai, are wary of eating the first piece of challah. Dayan Fisher disagreeed with them on a Halachic basis (based on a Gemara in Horayos. But I don’t believe that’s where you are coming from).

    And perhaps you can source the custom of giving “the spitz” to a pregnant woman? And if you can’t…well, I suppose you should consider it silly as well.

    Do you disagree? Why? You seem to respect “valid halachic sources”; does the Rashbah make the par?

    The concept is that often old wives tales are often based on something. That is precisely what the Rashbah is saying. While the Remah limits it, the Heshiv Moshe does not. There is certainly room for debate here; but you don’t seem to be basing your point on anything. You seem to be rather flippant with Halachic sources. “

    WHOA! Slow down. Most old wives’s tales are excactly THAT, bubba meisas, not based on anything at all of a halachic nature, just passed down from one to another. My friend informed me that her daughter had to change the mikveh night she was going to as a kallah, because when she got to the mikveh, she found out another woman had been in it before her (and her mother told her her grandmother said it is assur for a kallah to go into a mikvah unless she was the first one in). If that were true, 90% of the kallahs I know, went to their chuppahs as niddos!

    I do not disagree with halachic sources (that would be rather chutzpahdig, don’t you think?), but I do disagree with the notion that all of these things have VALID sources that are accepted as halacha l’maiseh. After all as pertains to the challah, SOMEONE has to eat the first piece, you can’t throw it away! And if I am lucky, it will be me…

    #692279

    Moq
    Member

    Oomis, my apologies. I erred. I am sorry. Thank you for not responding in kind.

    #692280

    missme
    Member

    so there is a source in SA that men shouldn’t look in mirrors. what was the source re: babies?

    #692281

    krunch
    Participant

    I actually asked my Rosh Yeshiva, Horav Shmuel Kamenetzky about this, and he told me it was a “bubbah ma’aseh”

    #692282

    missme
    Member

    Wait, I just noticed Mod 80 already cited above a ???? ???? for this (as well as stepping over a baby)!

    #692283

    oomis
    Participant

    Oomis, my apologies. I erred. I am sorry. Thank you for not responding in kind. “

    No apologies necessary. I was not offended.

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