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Mendy Kaminker
Mendy Kaminker

Is the birth of a baby a reason for celebration?

Oh, don’t give me that strange look. Of course every birth is a reason for celebration! Seeing new life coming to the world is one of the greatest miracles.

Still, I am asking from the baby’s point of view. Should he or she celebrate their own birth?

Well, let’s consider the following facts.

Before the baby is born, they have everything they need.

On a physical level, they are inside their mother’s womb, protected from all harm, constantly nourished and always feeling the bond with the mother.

On a spiritual level, the Talmud tells us that an angel is visiting the fetus in utero and is teaching them the entire Torah!

After birth, nothing can be taken for granted anymore. Life seems to get so much more complicated.

So yes, the new parents are excited to see their baby; are the babies excited to be out there in the world? Perhaps they would have preferred to stay in the womb forever? 

This week, I listened to a talk by the Rebbe from 1969. The Rebbe asked this very question and found the answer in Our Parsha.

In the Parsha, Moses is referred to as “an Egyptian man”.

Why would the Torah describe Moses as an Egyptian man? Although he was born in Egypt, Moses belonged to the Hebrew tribe that was despised by the Egyptians. 

The Zohar offers the following explanation: 

Egypt was very significant in Moses’s life. “This is where he was born; this is where he matured; and this is where he ascended to light” (rose to power).

In other words, Egypt played a big role in the making of Moses.

Let’s remember this: Egypt was very hostile to Moses! In fact, before he was born, Pharaoh decreed that all baby boys should be thrown to the Nile River, in an effort to kill Moses, the future redeemer of the Jewish people!

Yet it was in Egypt where Moses became who he was. Precisely because he was in such an adversarial environment. The challenges caused him to rise above and beyond, to discover powers that he never knew he had.

The newborn baby might feel very good in the mother’s womb. It feels protected and secured. But this inhibits him or her from achieving their full potential. 

This is why we celebrate births. We tell the precious newborn: welcome to the world! Yes, it’s not a perfect world. Yes, some serious obstacles await you. But at the same time, now, finally, you can tap into your greatness. 

And that is a reason for celebration, for the baby, too. 

A baby in its mother’s womb might feel comfortable, but it will never be truly happy. Because happiness comes from a sense of fulfillment. And that sense can come only when we tap into our inner power.

Thank G-d, our challenges are nothing like the ones endured by the Jews in Egypt. Still, no one lives a challenge-free life. We all have moments of difficulties. And especially when we want to do a Mitzvah and accomplish something positive, we can expect some bumps on the road

Knowing that it was all designed by G-d with the sole purpose to make us better, can help us change our attitude towards those obstacles.

Instead of challenges, we can view them as ladders:

They help us climb higher.

About the Author
Rabbi Mendy Kaminker is the Chabad Rabbi of Hackensack, and an editorial member of Chabad.org.
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