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Cycle of Life - Pregnancy and Child Bearing
When a child is born he or she begins a journey - a journey into our world, a journey into our hearts, a journey full of unknown. As human beings, we try to give this journey some guidelines; therefore we try to prepare the person for the next stage and we build rituals that mark the transition from one level to the next.
The Ethics of the Fathers (פִּרְקֵיאָבוֹת) list ages at which a person is obligated or allowed or expected to pass certain milestones of the life cycle:
At five years of age the study of Scripture; At ten the study of Mishnah; At thirteen subject to the commandments; At fifteen the study of Talmud; At eighteen the bridal canopy; At twenty for pursuit [of livelihood]; At thirty the peak of strength; At forty wisdom; At fifty able to give counsel; At sixty old age; At seventy fullness of years; At eighty the age of “strength”; At ninety a bent body; At one hundred, as good as dead and gone completely out of the world. (MishnahAvot 5:21)
These are only guidelines and not all ages listed are relevant to our modern world. However, there are some stages that are celebrated in certain ways in the Jewish tradition. For example, an 8 days-old baby is welcomed into a covenant between him and G-d through ritual circumcision; at the age of 12, a girl celebrates her Bat-Mitzvah; and at the age of 13 a boy becomes a Bar-Mitzvah.
On the next few newsletters, we will follow our life cycle from a Jewish and Israeli perspective flavored with related Hebrew words, idioms and songs. Let us begin today with the beginning – pregnancy and childbearing. Although this stage is essential for our very existence, it is not obvious and doesn’t come with no sorrow and pain, as expressed in the book of Genesis. Also, it is interesting to note that all of the four mothers of the Jewish nation (Sarah, Rivka, Rachel, and Leah) experienced Barrenness at a certain point of their lives. They all eventually enjoyed, however, fruitfulness and created the origins of our nation.
Congratulations! (literally means “in good time” – a blessing for new beginnings)
Part of speech: Noun, masculine, plural, construct chain
Literal Meaning: labor pains, contractions
Literal Translation: Her belly is in between her teeth
Meaning: A woman in an advanced stage of pregnancy
בְּעֶצֶבתֵּלְדִיבָּנִים (בראשית ג, ט"ז)
Translation: In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children (Genesis 3:16)
How is a song born?
It begins from inside
And rolls outside
How is a song born?
Like a baby
In the beginning it hurts
Afterwards it gets out
And everybody is happy
And suddenly Wow (what a beauty)
He walks by himself
How is a song born?
Like a baby
בַּהַתְחָלָה זֶה כּוֹאֵב
You can listen to the song sang by “hakeveshashisha-asar” band here.
See if you can find all of the words in the puzzle below:
Boy, son, child.
A name of one of the porters from the Levites in King David's time.
"And with them their brethren of the second degree, Zechariah, Ben, and Jaaziel, and Shemiramoth, and Jehiel, and Unni, Eliab, and Benaiah, and Maaseiah, and Mattithiah, and Elipheleh, and Mikneiah, and Obededom, and Jeiel, the porters." 1 Chronicles 15, 18
Pious, righteous, kind; a follower of Hasidic Judaism - the religious movement of Rabbi Israel ben Eliezer (Ba'alShemTov); stork (a bird).
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