My Jewish birthday begins at sundown tonight. I have very mixed feelings about my Jewish birthday. I was born on the 4th of Av. Essentially, I was born during one of the biggest weeks of mourning in the Jewish calendar. It sucks. As a kid my non-Jewish birthday (August 2nd) was somehow mixed in during The Three Weeks of Mourning. Yes, three weeks of no music and a time of quiet reflection on why we lost the temple, not once but twice. It is rare when I can throw a birthday party on my birthday. Like I said, it sucks. This year the three weeks of mourning are over next Monday and they do not coincide at all with my non-Jewish birthday. I have even heard rumors that the first night of Chanukah is on Thanksgiving, it seems all of the Jewish events are earlier than usual... but I digress.
My Jewish birthday is bittersweet. On one hand, it's my birthday. On the other hand, it's a time of great sadness in my peoples' history. It's nine days of avoiding dangerous activities because historically this is a time bad things happen to people. I am spiritually sensitive to the three weeks. Every year I begin to carry a sadness deep within and I look at the calendar and realize the three weeks of mourning have begun again. I can't help but hold my breath and wait until the nine days are over and we can go back to living our lives normally.
Today my best friend told me she learned something very interested in seminary (a Jewish school for female adults). The Rabbi told her it was important to bless people by saying, "may hashem (God) bless you." Instead of saying, "I bless you with ...." you are acknowledging blessings come from God and you are asking God to grant the blessing. I like that. On your Jewish birthday, it is customary to bless people. Your birthday is a renewal of you. It is a celebration of your birth, of your existence.
As the sun falls and the sky darkens, I am ready to embrace the energy that repeats every year on my day of birth. The heavens opened and my soul was flung into my body this day. My mother cried, suffered and pushed me out of her womb. I took my first breath today. I cried my first cry today. The universe echoes with my existence, the 4th of Av remembers me.
I am grateful for my life. I am grateful for my children and my husband and my family. I am grateful for the opportunity to exist.
To you, dear friend, I ask that Hashem blesses you.
May he bless you.
May you be blessed.
Meet the Blogger!
I'm a mom. A writer. A lover of good fantasy. A proponent of nursing when possible. A birth advocate. I am absolutely horrible at keeping my house clean or the dishes washed or the laundry done. I strongly believe in women having a positive birth. When we start to respect women's rights to birth the way they want, we can start to treat women as equal people in this world.
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