Mazel Tov! It's A Girl

Mazel Tov! It's A Girl

Although there is no set time for celebrating the birth of a baby girl, it is appropriate to make a simcha when a family is blessed with a daughter. In fact, the arrival of a daughter is an immediate simcha in itself.

Many people wonder why Jewish girls do not carry a sign of the Covenant on their bodies as men do. After all, since circumcision is such an important aspect of Judaism, why shouldn’t a woman – who is just as much a part of Am Yisroel as a man is – have an everlasting os (sign) on her body as well?

Chazal (our holy Sages) explain that a Jewish woman is born as if she were (already) circumcised, that is, free of impurity.

The foreskin (orlah) is a symbol of impurity, and must therefore be cut off. Untl the foreskin is detached, the body is considered incomplete. That is why we do not name the child until after the bris, so that his name will not be “attached” to his impurity.

Clearly, if Hashem had so desired, He could have created man already circumcised – already “completed”, but He wanted us to complete our bodies, an action symbolizing our constant efforts to perfect our souls. Although we were born with a soul that has the capacity to be “Godly”, it requires tireless toil in order to fulfill that potential. In that sense, our soul, like our body, is incomplete and we must likewise “circumcise” our soul to remove impurity.

The Talmud’s assertion that a woman is considered circumcised means that she possesses a soul that is more perfect than that of a man, a soul that by nature is closer to Godliness. The “shell” of impurity does not cover the woman as it does her mail counterpart, so she needs so circumcision.

On the verse: “And Moshe went up unto God and the Lord called out of the mountain, saying:  “This shall you say to the House of Yaakov and tell to the Children of Yisrael.” Chazal comment that “the House of Yaakov” (Beis Yaakov) are the women. Note the use of the softer expression, “say to”, in conjunction with Beis Yaakov, as opposed to the harsher expression, “tell to”, which is used in conjunction with Bnei Yisroel. This implies that Moshe was commanded to speak more softly to the women. The Maharal makes the following observation: Beis Yaakov was addressed before the men because their guarantee of reward is greater than that of the men. That is also the reason that Moshe was told to speak gently to the women, for their reward is earned in a gentler, more natural fashion. To the men, however, he had to speak harshly; alluding to the hard life of constant Torah study – day and night - they would have to endure in order to earn their reward.

Both men and women are required to yearn for the fulfillment of sitting in the House of the Lord all the days of their life – in this world and in the next. A man’s “House of the Lord” is the Beis Midrash, the house of Torah study. A woman’s “House of the Lord” can be her own home, as it is written: “She anticipates the ways of her household.” In order to achieve this she must imbue her family with the spirit of Torah and the woramth of chesed (kindness). She must generate enthusiasm in her family members for fulfilling mitzvos and the loving anticipation of the Yomim Tovim (Festivals).

Just like Hashem, Who is Koneh Ha-Kol (creates everything) and Gomel Chasadim Tovim (bestows beneficial kindness), a woman brings new life into the world from the inner chambers of her body. Her offspring are then raised with an innate desire to bestow kindness. Since the very essence of a woman is to give, she requires no circumcision.

Another reason that a woman does not need an os (sign) on her body is because Hashem intended that man and woman should marry and become one flesh. Thus, a woman is connected to the bris of her husband. Man and woman form a union, each one compensating for the shortcomings of the other. Without his wife, the full significance of the man’s bris is limited. The presence of the sign of the Covenant on man’s reproductive organ symbolizes the inherent nature of the “chosenness” of the Jewish People, but that is obtained only if his wife is Jewish. The “chosenness” of the Jewish People is passed on through the Jewish mother only. It is the mother who transmits the Jewish soul; the father makes the Covenant.

Having a baby girl is therefore an occasion for immediate happiness. She is born with the spiritual potential that needs no circumcision and right away she is given a name, to be counted among Am Yisroel.

Excerpted from B'Sha'ah Tovah, printed by Feldheim Publishers. Click here to purchase

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