An Anthology of Chabad-Lubavitch Customs
Regarding Pregnancy, Childbirth, Circumcision,
Redemption of the Firtsborn, and the Birth of Girls
Conduct During Childbirth
Compiled By Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Holtzberg from The Wrintings of the Rebbeim of Lubavitch
Translated by Shimon Neubort
Published and copyright © by Sichos In English
(718) 778-5436 • info@SichosInEnglish.org • FAX (718) 735-4139
- It is customary to hang a Shir HaMaalos in the room of the new mother and the newborn, immediately upon the expectant mother's arrival at the hospital. This serves as a safeguard for the mother etc., both during the birth itself so that it will proceed normally and easily, and also during the following days, so that they will survive for a long life.
Another reason given is that this is a part of [the child's] education — so that the first thing that the child sees will be something holy (from this we may also infer how important it is to ensure that the child does not look at pictures of unclean things).
- According to the instructions issued by the Tzemach Tzedek to his sons during the birth of the Rebbe Maharash, the following chapters of Tehillim are recited: 1,2,3,4,20,21,22,23,24,33,47,72,86,90,91,92,93, 104,112, and 113 to the end.
- It is obvious that the husband should not be present in the delivery room during the birth.
- (Back to text) End of Sefer Raziel HaMalach, and elsewhere. See Tishbi on the letter lamed, entry for "Lillis." Plaques featuring the verses of Shir HaMaalos along with the Names [of G-d and angels] etc. contained therein are well known throughout the Jewish world, each community having its own specific customs.
- (Back to text) From the Sichah of 19 Kislev 5747 regarding things one should be careful about for the safety of the woman giving birth, including at the hospital (edited version printed in Hisvaadiyos 5747, Vol. 2, p. 37. Teshuvos U'Biurim BeShulchan Aruch, p. 446): "It is fitting and proper to publicize everywhere that Jewish people live, the custom of hanging Shir HaMaalos." See also the Sichah of Yom Simchas Torah 5737 (printed in MiGevaos Ashurenu, p. 96). See also Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 25, p. 309, where the Rebbe points out that "One should try to obtain permission from the hospital administration by explaining this properly, with words that proceed from the heart, which enter the heart and will certainly accomplish their task (and we point out that thank G-d this custom is constantly spreading throughout the Jewish world)."
- (Back to text) And obviously this will forestall any complications such as "...she had difficulty giving birth" (Vayishlach 35:16).
- (Back to text) For even after the birth (during the first three days) she is considered to be a patient whose life is in danger, and we may violate the Shabbos laws for her (Shabbos 129a; Rambam, Hilchos Shabbos 2:13; Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim, and also the Alter Rebbe's edition 330:4).
- (Back to text) Sichos Kodesh 5737, Sichah 7 of Yom Simchas Torah; also printed in MiGevaos Ashurenu, p. 6, with the addition: "It is true that the child was just born, and cannot yet distinguish between light and dark or between sweet and bitter. Nevertheless, since he has already come into the world and he possesses eyes with which to see the world, we should see to it that before his eyes should be the letters of the aleph-beis, from whose combinations all of creation has come into being." See details in Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 25, p. 309.
- (Back to text) Beginning of Sefer Toldos Admur Maharash (compiled by the Rebbe).
- (Back to text) Teshuvos U'Biurim BeShulchan Aruch, p. 445. See also the Sichah of 19 Kislev 5747, with the addition that since this is in violation of the Shulchan Aruch, it cannot be construed as a good thing. See the psak din of the Beis Din of Crown Heights of 4 Teves 5747, issued pursuant to the above Sichah: "It is obvious and clear that the husband should not be present in the delivery room (see Niddah 17a 'amar Abbaye...'; Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim Ch. 64; Yoreh De'ah 195:7)."