The other day my friends decided to
throw me a surprise birthday party. I really enjoyed it but it got me thinking:
If a fetus is a living organism complete with a functioning heart and brain (to
the extent that Judaism is rather opposed to voluntary abortion), doesn't that
imply that life really starts at conception. So why the big deal over the day
Yes, Judaism believes that the fetus is
considered an actual life. From the time of conception the soul prepares for
its decent into the body. However, it is only at the moment of birth that the
soul completes its decent, creating an autonomous human being, with infinite
potential to contribute to the world. The moment of birth marks the beginning
of one's purpose on this earth. Everyone has their specific mission for which
their soul comes down into this world. Everyone's journey towards that goal is
individual and unique.
Until the baby is born it exists only
as an extension of its mother. Its true independent mission only begins at the
moment of birth. To put it in simple terms - existence is present from the time of conception but purpose is only from the moment of
The spiritual environment of the child
from the beginning of its existence definitely has an impact on the outcome of
its mission. The months of pregnancy are a very precious and delicate time.
Just as nutritional choices of the mother have a profound impact on the child,
so too the behavior and surroundings of the mother have lifelong effects on the
spiritual development of the child.
Many people continue to live the life
of a fetus - eating, drinking and merely existing. Celebrating the day of birth
reminds us that we are here with a unique mission and that we have been given a
"once in a lifetime" opportunity to fulfill this purpose.
So happy birthday and may you have
a life filled with depth and meaning.