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A Note From Rabbi Asa

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Last Updated: March 16, 2006

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Preparation, Resources, and More


Preparation

Bris Setup(PDF 409KB)

Honors List (PDF 400KB)


Prayers

Prayers for a woman in labor


Husband's Prayer
May it be Your will our God and God of our forefathers, that You have compassion on all birthing women, among Your people Israel, especially on my wife __________ (her Hebrew name) daughter of _________ (her mother’s Hebrew name). Alleviate her pain and help her have an easy birth. May her child be born to a good life and peace in an auspicious time. May she and the child be spared any pain, harm, or mishap. God, Who is full of mercy, have compassion on my wife and save her from any pain, panic, or mental anguish. Cause the baby to arrive on time so that my wife will continue to be healthy and to serve You properly. God, You will not spurn a broken and humble heart. Hear our prayer and answer our plea, for You are merciful and hear everyone’s prayer. May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing before You, Eternal, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Wife's Prayer
May it be your will that You have compassion on me among all the birthing women of Your people Israel and save me from the curse of Eve. (Genesis 3:16- I will greatly increase your suffering and your childbearing; in pain shall you bear children...). Alleviate my labor pains and help me have an easy, painless birth. May my child emerge quickly and easily, without any damage to me or to my child. May my child be born in an auspicious time to a good life, peace and health, to grace and kindness, to wealth, and honor. May my husband and I raise our child in our heritage, may he be a proud and practicing Jew. May neither the child nor I suffer any internal or external damage. Have mercy on me and spare me any pain, panic, or mental anguish. Cause the baby to arrive on time so that I may continue to be healthy and serve You properly, for You answer in times of distress, merciful King Who has compassion on everyone, Who redeems and saves, hears and responds.

Prayer on Behalf of a Woman in Labor
The following Psalm 20 should be recited 12 times while a woman is in labor: For the conductor: A Psalm of David. May the Eternal answer you on the day of distress; may the Name of Jacob’s God strengthen you. May He send your help from His holy place and support you from Zion. May He remember all your offerings and accept your burnt sacrifice, Selah. May He grant you your wishes and fulfill all your plans. We will sing at your deliverance and raise our banner in the Name of our God; may the Eternal fulfill all your requests. Now I know that the Eternal has delivered his anointed; He will answer him from His holy Heaven with the mighty salvation of His right hand. Some put their trust in chariots and some in horses, but we call out in the Name of the Eternal, our God. They have knelt and fallen, but we have risen and remain upright. Eternal, Deliver us; the King will answer us on the day we call.

Afterwards say
May it be Your will our God and God of our Forefathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, the great, mighty, and awesome God, that You act for the sake of Your mercy and of the holiness of this Psalm and of Your Names that are written in and derived from it. May You have compassion on _________ (Women's Hebrew name) daughter of ___________ (father’s Hebrew name) who is undergoing labor pains. Merciful God, remove her from darkness to light. In the merit of our mothers Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, have mercy on her and remember her for good and a blessing, for she depends on You. Remove from upon her all evil or difficult decrees and relieve her suffering. May her baby emerge to a good and peaceful life in an auspicious and blessed time for us and for the child, and may she suffer no harmful after-effects. Hear our prayer as You did that of the Psalm’s composer (King David). May He who answers the mother answer the child. May the wordsof my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing before You, Eternal, my Rock and my Redeemer.


Parents Prayer Before The Bris

We are prepared to fulfill the mitzvah of the bris. our son is about to be brought into the covenant of Abraham as it is written in the Torah:

“This is my covenant between me and you and your offspring that you must keep – you shall circumcise every male. This shall be the mark of the covenant between me and you”.

The father continues:
I appoint the mohel to act on my behalf to perform this ritual. I pray to God that our son will grow to be learned and righteous and will be a source of pride and joy to my wife and me.

After the mohel recites the blessing over the circumcision, the father recites:

“Baruch atah a-do-nai e-lo-hei-nu melech ha-olam asher k’di-sha-nu b’mitz-vo-tav v’tzi-va-nu l’hach-nee-so b’vri-to shel avraham ahvinoo.”


Father's Prayer After The Bris

Master of the universe, may it be Your will that he be worthy, favored, and acceptable before You as if I had offered him before the throne of Your glory. May You, in Your abundant mercy, send through Your holy angels a holy and pure soul to my son, _______(baby’s Hebrew name) who has now been circumcised for the sake of Your Great Name. May his heart be as open to Your Torah as the entrance of the Temple, to learn and to teach, to observe and perform. Give him long days and years, a life of fear of sin, a life of wealth and honor, a life in which You fulfill all the wishes of his heart for good. Grant me the merit to raise him to the study of Torah, to the marriage canopy, and to the performance of good deeds: to see from him children and grandchildren engaged in Torah and Mitzvos. Accept his prayers among the prayers of all of Israel. May the expressions of my mouth, and the thoughts of my heart find favor before You, God, my Strength and my Redeemer. Amen- may such be Your will.

Pidyon Haben (Redemption of the first born)

Redemption of the first born

"For every firstborn of the Children of Israel became Mine, of man and livestock; on the day I struck every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for Myself. I took the Levites in place of every firstborn among the Children of Israel." (Numbers 17:18)

Originally, the firstborn were the religious leaders of the Jewish people. This sanctification was the result of a historical event that took place at the time of the Exodus from Egypt. During the tenth plague, every Egyptian first-born was destroyed while the Jewish first-born were spared.
The firstborn were relieved of their duties when they were involved in the sin of the golden calf. Only the tribe of Levi remained faithful to God and was not involved with the golden calf. As a result, they were appointed to be the religious leaders in place of the firstborn and it was decreed that the firstborn should be redeemed from a Kohen (a descendant of Aaron the High priest and a member of the tribe of Levi).
The redemption takes places when the baby is 31 days old (including the day of birth) by the father giving a certain amount of money to the Kohen. It is considered a festive occasion and, if possible, should be celebrated among family and friends with a festive meal.

The following four conditions need to be met to obligate one in the redemtion:

The child is a firstborn male

The mother never carried a fetus in utero more than 40 days.

He was born through the birth canal and not by cesarean

The father himself is not a Kohen or a Levite nor is the mother a daughter of a Kohen or Levite.

As mentioned, a Kohen is needed to perform the redemption. The following Kohanim in the Atlanta area regularly perform this ritual:
Rabbi Mordechai Cohen: (404) 634-3078
Rabbi Reuven Stein: (404) 320-6433


Whats in a name?

In Jewish tradition, a name is not just considered a convenient way to call someone.

To label an object is to define its nature. Adam, the first man had this ability when he named all the animals. With his God-given wisdom he was able to choose names that defined the nature of each creature.

For example, the king of the jungle he named the aryeh - the lion. The last two letters of aryeh are yud and heh - which are part of the name of the King of kings - God himself. The donkey on the other hand he named chamor, a word that is related to simple basic matter signifying the donkey's ordinariness and simple mind. It also is related in Hebrew to a measure of volume, signifying the heavy loads that the donkey is so well known for carrying.

Midrashic literature is full with elucidations of the significance of many names. Of course today we do not posses this same wisdom that Adam had. Nonetheless if there are significant events that happen in the life of a family or a country or special requests that we may have they can be expressed through the giving of a name. For example, Shalom to signify peace; Eliezer to recognize Divine help; or Noach to bring to mind the idea of rest.

If a child is born during a Jewish Holiday it is customary to use a name in relation to the Holiday. For a boy born on Purim, one might use Mordechai; on Chanukah, Yehuda or Mattityahu; on Pesach, Moshe, etc.

The name given to a child is eternal; choosing it carefully is a worthwhile endeavor.


Caterers

Bagel Break: (404) 255-6055

Broadway Café: (404) 329-0888

Bijan Catering: (404) 870-1875

Chai Peking: (404) 327-7810 Elegant Essen: (770) 925-3105

Quality Kosher Emporium: (404) 636-1114

Pita Palace: (404) 781-PITA

Pizza Palace: (404) 47-PIZZA




It's a girl!

Traditionally, a baby girl is named the first time the father attends synagogue after the birth. This could be on Monday, Thursday, or Shabbat. The father is called to the Torah, special prayers and blessings are recited on behalf of the mother and newborn baby, and the name that the parents have chosen is formally announced. In some communities, the mother recites a blessing of gratitude for her health and well-being after childbirth (Birkat HaGomel ) at the time of the naming (boy or girl). In other communities, there are more elaborate ceremonies. In some Sephardic communities, newborn girls are clothed in elaborate dress and jewelry for the ceremony. It has no fixed date, but is usually held sometime between seven and thirty days after birth, and is conducted by a rabbi, usually at home but sometimes in the synagogue.

Other traditions have evolved in recent years, providing other ways to celebrate the birth of a daughter. Parents may wish to have a special gathering at a later date to afford the new mother and baby the opportunity to share in the celebration. On Shabbat, a Kiddush or luncheon may be held in the synagogue following services. In addition to the meal, the new parents may offer a few words describing their feelings about the birth of their daughter, perhaps including an explanation of the baby's Jewish name(s). A possible reading for the parents at the naming of their daughter:

FATHER - With hearts overflowing with joy and hope, we bring our daughter before family and friends to give her a Jewish name as she officially joins the Jewish people. We feel blessed in having shared in the miracle of creation and childbirth. We thank God for this new life that has been granted us.

MOTHER - With all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my might I thank God for the gift of this wonderful child. I thank God for a healthy pregnancy and a safe delivery. We pray for the continued health of this child, for strength in mind and body to watch her grow in a home filled with joy, and to become a person who greets the world with passion, courage, humility, humor, and patience.

FATHER AND MOTHER- We pray for God to watch over our family, for the ability to love and nurture this child, to provide for her and educate her in our heritage, to understand her and to allow her the freedom to grow.

GRANDPARENTS - Our God and God of all generations, we are grateful for this new beginning, for the bond of life that links one generation to another - thankful for the blessings of family, for the love and care that bring meaning and happiness to our lives. We rejoice with our children at the birth of their child, our granddaughter.

The rabbi continues with the baby naming ceremony.


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