Senior Kodesh Teacher at Hasmonean High School
Mazal tov are the words we usually hear when we hear the joyful news of new baby who has entered our world. Yet the Torah appears to view the birth as a negative experience as the Passuk states ‘ISHA KI TASRIA VEYALDA ZACHAR VETOMAH SHIVAT YAMIM….TITMA – a woman who seeds and gives birth to a male she will be impure for 7 days’.
Superficially it may look this way but there is a much deeper meaning here which reflects the more serious spiritual aspects of the birth of a child. Until the point of birth the Neshama of the child was in a state of perfection, close to G-d, cushioned from the world’s knocks and blows, but now as it enters our world, the shock on a physical and spiritual level is very real. The cry of the child as it enters the world reflects this dual shock.
Explains Rebi Moshe Martziano from Casablanca ZTL, the Passuk teaches us how to deal with the spiritual anti-climax that is occurring here. The soul being perfectly spiritual in nature needs to be fed the correct nutrients. It benefits from Torah learning, Mitzvah observance, Tefila and positive Character development. The analogy of the Passuk compares the soul to a woman in that it is the centre of the body as the woman is the centre of her house, this is the Isha of the Passuk. The body of the soul would be compared to the husband of the woman who both need to go out into the world in search of spirituality. This is the meaning of Tasria, searching for seeds to plant and grow. The seeds being the Torah learning, Mitzvah observance, Tefila and positive Character development. VeyaldaZachar refers to the effects of engaging in these spiritual deeds and creating angels who speak for the benefit of the soul in heaven.
The Passuk continues to speak of the life of the soul in this world as lasting for 70 years, one day for each 10 years, Shivatyamim. During this time the Yetzer Hara will try and mislead the soul and give it cause to sin and be rendered impure and damaged with the temptations of beauty, taste and power. Titma – she will become impure.
On the eighth day, Ubayomhashmini a reference to the end of the 70 years of life in this world, the soul will receive it’s Brit Mila where it’s source of Tumah is removed so it can bask in the spiritual light of G-d receiving the reward it had earned in the battleground of the physical world of temptation.
The lesson for the parent and ultimately the child is that once the child is born it is entering a battlefield. The child needs to be trained to deal with this in the slow but purposeful Jewish education it will receive from the parents. Yes, a big Mazaltov it is, that another wonderful child, a baby soldier is born in to G-d’s army but a giant responsibility it is too.
May we be Zoche to internalise this message for ourselves and for our dear children.