The 18 century rabbinic giant, Rabbi Moshe Sofer, known by the name of his major work as the Chatam Sofer, resolved a fascinating question by way of this insight.The Talmud teaches that truly holy people die on their birthday.Of course, not so, but still I would not discount the celebration of a birthday just because Pharaoh celebrated his. finally, an article validating my strong held belief that birthday celebrations are NOT part of our mesorah.A birthday can be a day of reflection on what good things one has accomplished with their life, eveybody might not have as nice a list as Rabbi Blech but most can find something worthy of celebrating... I dont celebrate my birthday, I use that day to contemplate my life, the past year, and my future goals. This is the first time I read an essay from a Rav saying he is not celebrating birthdays.Why the strange neglect of what we would think is a significant day worthy of celebrating and rejoicing?Another occasion that Jews do celebrate yields an answer.Yet, it is the Jewish way, no birthday celebration. In such a case, maybe, when you reach a certain age, say 65, it's better to say "enough already," and start looking forward to the day when you will relieved of all this wordly trouble.
It’s because a few years ago I noticed something remarkable in the Torah that made me rethink the whole idea of giving special significance to the day I was born.
When we are born, we have as yet accomplished nothing.
We have no more than potential, alive to face the challenges that will confront us but with no assurance that we will overcome them successfully.
Click here to purchase Rabbi Blech's new book, The World from a Spiritual Perspective: A Collection of Insightful Essays from Rabbi Benjamin Blech, a frequent contributor to Aish, is a Professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University and an internationally recognized educator, religious leader, and lecturer. I had no sense of "missing" or being deprived of a birthday. The boys parents came to our home and still, I could NOT apologize. However, as the decades go by I like to be in touch with elderly friends - on significant birthdays like 80 or 90! He died on his 107th birthday very peacefully, surrounded by close family. All those days you celebrate reach back to that one original day.
He is the author of 19 highly acclaimed books with combined sales of over a half million copies, A much sought after speaker, he is available as scholar in residence in your community. I was raised in a strict but loving Hasidic home by my great uncle Sidney. Knowing how my great Uncle raised me, I am sure it was BECAUSE he did not wish to bestow an ego upon me. My uncle smacked me once on the rear and it broke my heart. My Uncle woke me early one morning and told me my brain did not work like normal people, I was terrified. He took me to meet Professor Einstein who labeled me a genius. If you don't have any accomplishments, like those listed by Rabbi Blech, then, maybe you don't have any reason to celebrate that day.