Kiddush in honor of the birth of a baby girl
Regarding a Kiddush for my daughter’s birth, can I do it on Friday night after the meal? Similarly, can I do it during the week?
The custom of hosting a celebratory feast for the birth of a daughter has early origins. The Gemoro in Bava Basra (91a) states that Boaz had thirty sons and thirty daughters, and he made a total of 120 feasts in their honor. There are various opinions regarding the purpose of those feasts, and indeed, even several versions of the authentic text of that Gemoro. According to Rabbenu Gershom, sixty of these feasts were held in honor of the births of Boaz children, and the other sixty feasts were arranged to celebrate their weddings. Several recent Poskim, including the Pnei Menachem of Gur and Rabbi Pinchos Hirschprung, see in this comment of Rabbenu Gershom an assertion that, already in the times of Boaz, celebratory feasts were conducted for the birth of a daughter.
The Gemoro in Bava Kamma (80a) refers to the “Shavua Haben” and “Yeshua Haben”, festive meals conducted in association with the birth of a boy. Several early Rishonim cite a statement of Chazal (appearing in a Mechilta no longer extant) which mentions not only a Shavua Haben but also a Shavua Habas, referring to a celebration conducted in association with the birth of a girl. According to the Terumas Hadeshen (§269), the Yeshua Haben refers to a Sholom Zochor; a feast conducted to thank Hashem for saving the baby boy from the traumas and dangers of childbirth. Accordingly, the Shavua Habas would refer to a corresponding feast for the birth of a daughter, and indeed, the Yitzchok Yeranen suggests a link between the Shavua Habas and the feast held when naming a daughter. This would also answer the challenge some commentaries raise with the Terumas Hadeshen; if the purpose of a Sholom Zochor is to thank Hashem for saving the baby boy from the traumas and dangers of childbirth, why would this be celebrated only for a baby boy and not a baby girl? According to the approach of the Yitzchok Yeranen, however, we do in fact celebrate both. [See Igros Kodesh Volume 23 page 380 for another answer to this question.]
All the same, it must be noted that many Rishonim explain the Shavua Haben and Yeshua Haben differently, as referring to a type of celebration that is only applicable to a baby boy, such as that of a Bris or Pidyon Haben, and they make no mention of the Shavua Habas.
In any case, there are several reasons given for making a Kiddush on the birth of a daughter:
- To praise Hashem for the merit of having a daughter, and to rejoice in her naming, for it draws down her Neshama (Taamei Haminhagim page 397).
- As a Seudas Hoda’ah for mother and daughter emerging safely from a potentially unsafe situation (Mishmeres Shalom 20:12).
- To create an opportunity for well-wishers to bless the new baby girl (Mishmeres Shalom ibid). It is said in the name of the Hornosteipeler that the purpose of the celebration is to gather at least a Minyan of people to wish that the new baby girl be raised l’Torah l’Cupah ul’Maasim Tovim. In that vein, it is recounted that a father once came before the Hornosteipeler to pour his heart out and seek a Brocho for his daughter who experienced great difficulties in finding a suitable Shidduch. The Hornonsteipler responded that her Shidduch difficulties were attributable to the absence of a Kiddush when she was born, which caused her to miss out on these special Brochos.
According to those who have the custom of naming the baby only on Shabbos, there is a clear reason to conduct the Kiddush on Shabbos day – so that it occurs in conjunction with the naming of the baby. However, Minhag Chabad is to name a girl at the earliest opportunity, so as not to delay the complete entry of her Neshama, and the Kiddush is held at a later time. As such, there does not seem to be any clear need to conduct the Simcha specifically on Shabbos day.
Minchas Yitzchak (4:107) explains that it is customary to wait specifically for Shabbos because the pressures of life make the rest of the week an inconvenient time to conduct a Simcha. [He goes on to suggest that this, in fact, is one of the reasons for those who are accustomed to delay the naming of the baby until Shabbos, in order to allow it to occur in conjunction with the Kiddush, which needs to be scheduled for Shabbos due to convenience.] If this is the entire extent of the reason to schedule the celebration on Shabbos, it would seem that one could schedule the feast for a weekday if this will be more convenient for all the participants.
Despite all this, Rabbi Leibel Groner relays that, as far as he remembers, every time the Rebbe spoke about a Kiddush for the birth of a girl, the Rebbe’s language was “Machen a Kiddush Shabbos”. Once, there was a girl several months old with medical issues, and when the Rebbe asked if a Kiddush had been made, the response was negative. The Rebbe said that a Kiddush in her merit should be held immediately – on the very next Shabbos. The parents did so, and she was healed. (Rabbi Groner also relates that he frequently heard from the Rebbe that a Kiddush is for the welfare of the daughter. All the same, he does not recall the Rebbe making any specific connection between this Kiddush and Shiduchim.)
From this, it would seem best practice to conduct the Kiddush on Shabbos specifically. Therefore, when parents prefer to conduct a weekday celebration, it would seem fitting for this to be in addition to a sponsorship (whether full or partial) of a Shabbos Kiddush.
כבר העירו מרבינו גרשום ב״ב צא, א בעצם הענין. וכן רבינו אליקים שם. וכן הביאו שכתב עד״ז במגדל עוז ליעבץ. דרישה יו״ד שס, ב.
כן הביאו מתוה״א שער ענין הוצאה ד״ה בפרק, בשם מכילתא אחריתי דאבל, והועתק גם בשערי שמחה לרי״ץ גיאות הל׳ אבל: שבוע הבן ושבוע הבת – הבן קודם. וראה יצחק ירנן שם שיתכן דהיינו קריאת שם בבית היולדת בשבת שהי׳ נהוג אז. והנה, שבוע הבן – היינו לפי שו״ת תרוה״ד רסט, שלום זכר שעושים בליל שבת לפי שהכל מצויים בבתיהם. אבל י״מ באו״א בשבוע הבן או ישוע הבן. וגם בטעם שלום זכר – נאמרו טעמים אחרים.
אבל להעיר שבאג״ק כג ע׳ שפ, נמצא הטעם בישוב קושיית דגו״מ יו״ד קעט, שאין עושים שלום זכר לנקיבה שאין השמחה שלימה.
ולהעיר מלקו״ד ע׳ 450. ולכאורה ״מזל טוב״ דשם, הוא שם למסיבה להולדת נקיבה. ויש מקשרים עם שבת שהיולדת הולכת לביהכ״נ. והעירו משאילת יעבץ ב, קפ.
וראה דיון אי מזונתיו קצובים להוצאת הקידוש, שאצ״ל בשבת דוקא – אגרתא דחדוותא ע׳ רא.