It’s Twins: A Double Mazal Tov!

Question

Dear Rabbi, we just had twins – a boy and a girl. What are the customary ceremonies in Judaism following the birth of a baby boy or girl? I am only aware of the circumcision for a boy. Thank you.

5 months

Answers

  1. Mazal tov and mazal tov on the birth of these new additions to your family! May you merit raising them in good health to Torah, chupah (marriage) and many good deeds!

    The birth of a girl is celebrated with a reception, usually held at the synagogue, but sometimes at home, on a Shabbat around the time of her birth. Since the reception is held immediately after services on Shabbat morning and Kiddush is recited then, the reception is known as a “Kiddush”.

    There is a widespread custom to celebrate a boy’s birth on the first Friday night after his birth. This is called a “Shalom Zachor”, meaning “welcoming the Boy.” This custom dates back over 1,500 years, to the Talmudic era. Spiritually it is a prelude to the circumcision which will be held on the eighth day after his birth, because the child’s soul must experience a Shabbat before the circumcision. The gathering also serves to comfort the child’s soul upon leaving the purely spiritual world with its unlimited perception of Torah, and entering the physical world of confusion and conflict. The words of Torah and songs of joy and prayer on this night provide reassurance that the spiritual can be found here as well. A customary food at a Shalom Zachor is cooked chickpeas, or “arbes.”

    On these occasions one also offers a variety of cakes and various beverages — including those used for a “L’chaim” — for the guests to make blessings over in honor of the parents and baby.

    It is very good to encourage people to prepare and say words of Torah in honor of these occasions – either on the weekly Torah portion or about the mitzvah of circumcision for a baby boy.

    A baby girl is named in the synagogue (she does not have to be present) when her father is called up to the Torah, usually on the Shabbat following her birth. A prayer is also recited then for the complete recovery of the mother and the health of the child. (A boy is named during the circumcision ceremony, followed by a prayer for the complete recovery of the mother and the health of the child.)

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team