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Publisher's Foreword

Ascending Fortune

The Birthday of the World

The Birthday of a Nation

Pre-natal Nationhood

The Birth of Man

Happy Birthday!

Birthday Celebrations

Birthday - Rebirth - Resolve

Anniversary of Physical and Spiritual Birth

Why Were You Born?

A Custom of Old - Renewed

Birthday Customs and Practices

Birthday Reflections & Celebrations
Birthday Customs & Practices

Birthday Customs and Practices

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  A Custom of Old - Renewed 

  1. It is customary to be called to the Torah on the Shabbos preceding your birthday. When the birthday occurs on a day that the Torah is read you should also be called to the Torah on that day.

  2. On your Birthday increase your contribution to Tzedakah before morning service and afternoon services. When the birth day is on Shabbos or Yom Tov - give the extra Tzedakah before Shabbos (preferably - also after).

  3. Put more time and effort into your prayer. Pray with greater concentration, meditate on the greatness of the Creator and put more intensity in your recitation of psalms as well. (If possible, read at least one complete book of Tehillim.)

  4. Study the psalm which corresponds to your new age, [1] and which you will be saying daily through the coming year. [2] (E.g. when one reaches the age of 20 he begins reciting Psalm 21.)

  5. In addition to your regular, daily study periods - on your birthday study an extra lesson in revealed Torah - Nigleh - and esoteric teachings - Chassidus. This is in addition to the daily quota of Chumash, Tehillim, Tanya and Rambam.

  6. Study a Chassidic discourse by heart [3] (or at least a part thereof) and review it in the presence of a group of people on the birthday. This may also be done at another auspicious time in connection with your birthday; especially at the Shalosh Seudah meal of the following Shabbos.

  7. Reach out to your fellow Jews and teach them Torah and Chassidus, with true Ahavas Yisroel.

  8. Isolate yourself in seclusion for a while on the day of your birthday and retrospectively [4] review your conduct for the past year - see what needs repentance and improvement - and make good resolutions for the future years.

  9. Accept upon yourself some new act of piety or more zealous observance in some area of action [5] - all within your grasp. [6]

  10. Celebrate a happy party with your family and friends in honor of your birthday - give praise and thanks to the Holy One, Blessed Be He, - if possible say the blessing of Shehecheyanu on a new fruit - with happiness and the joy of a mitzvah. [7]



    * These customs (unless otherwise noted) are excerpted from HaYom Yom - 11th of Nissan; Sefer HaMinhagim Chabad pg. 81, Letters of Lubavitcher Rebbe Shlita, Vol. 6 Letters #1,548, #1,858; Vol. 7 #1,898, #1,929, #2,022, #2,066, #2,097, #2,116, #2,146, #2,210, #2,226,

  1. (Back to text) "Yechidus" to Bar Mitzvah Boys - Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 20, pg. 578; vol. 26 pg. 347, etc.

  2. (Back to text) In addition to the well-known custom: "On each Rosh Chodesh study...part of the psalm corresponding to your age" - "If the psalm has many verses study two or more verses each month. If there are fewer than 12 verses...repeat some verses, (so that you) study the entire psalm through the whole year." (Letters of Previous Rebbe, Vol. 5 #1339).

  3. (Back to text) Wherever your heart desires, but in a conscientious manner - Letters of Lubavitcher Rebbe Shlita, Vol. 7 #2097 - see next footnote.

  4. (Back to text) See Letters, ibid. #2226: "Picture in your mind a yechidus that you had in the past, what you asked the Rebbe and what he answered - and then study his teachings."

  5. (Back to text) Start by adding a new study period for Chassidus (Letters, ibid., # 2066).

  6. (Back to text) It is proper to accept a new aspect of religious zealousness on Rosh Hashanah, one may deduce from this that on an individuals personal Rosh Hashanah - his/her birthday - when the individual new year begins the same should apply. (see Sicha, Acharon Shel Pesach 5748 fn. 33) - Letters, ibid.

  7. (Back to text) Sichos: 25 Adar; Acharon Shel Pesach (et. al.) 5748.

  A Custom of Old - Renewed 
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