Feb 14, 2011

Rav Chaim Kanievsky On Celebrating Birthdays

Rav Chaim Kanievsky took an unusual trip, for him, to Tel HaShomer Hospital to pay a bikur cholim visit to the Chief Rabbi of Yehud, Rav Turchin.

While in the hospital, someone asked Rav Kanievsky for a bracha, saying it is his birthday. In a jovial mood, Rav Kanievsky responded that in the Torah we only find a birthday celebration mentioned in reference to Pharoah.

One of the rav's escorts then piped in saying that a birthday is really just a signpost that you are getting closer to your death, so, he asked, what is there to celebrate anyway?

Rav Kanievsky responded to that with the gemara that says man would have preferred not having been born at all. Tosfos qualifies that by saying that statement refers to reshaim, wicked people, only. Righteous people, on the other hand, being born is good for both them and good for the world. All that good is definitely a reason to celebrate. (source: Bechadrei)

So I guess it is Pharoah and righteous people who have reasons to celebrate...

2 comments:

  1. All it says in the Torah was that it was Pharaoh's* birthday, and there's the implication of a celebration. It never says that he had a sound reason to celebrate.

    *note the spelling

    ReplyDelete
  2. "In a jovial mood, Rav Kanievsky responded that in the Torah we only find a birthday celebration mentioned in reference to Pharoah."

    כיון שנפל פור בחודש אדר שמח שמחה גדולה אמר נפל לי פור בירח שמת בו משה ולא היה יודע שבשבעה באדר מת ובשבעה באדר נולד

    מגילה יג

    Of course, strictly speaking this doesn't contradict what RCK, and countless others have said. But the gemara does imply a happy significance to birthdays....

    ReplyDelete

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