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Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundown (reason for that uncertainty is beyond the scope of this TftD).  For most of his life, this also won't have much of a practical affect on his actions; he'll just be stringent with Torah obligations (waiting till the 1st) and lenient with Rabbinic obligations (enjoying the opportunity to run to do mitzvos on the 29th).

However, there are two quite significant affects of his decision to arrive בין השמשות on a Friday night.  First, the Friday night after Jewish boy is born, we make a gala celebration call "Shalom Zachor".  Go see the cited Wikipedia page for more details.  The point for us, though, is that because he arrived בין השמשות, one may ask whether last Friday was his first full Shabbos in this world, or will that be the coming Shabbos.  Practically speaking, since we take Shabbos early and since the parents are otherwise occupied, we tend to celebrate the next Shabbos as the boy's first full Shabbos as far as the actual celebration.

However -- I mean HOWEVER -- the preparations -- I mean PREPARATIONS -- need to be completed before the his birthday because, well.. Shabbos is coming!  Since babies don't let you now much ahead of their arrival, there was a significant possibility that he would arrive (head and shoulders, anyway) before sundown.  This young Jew, therefore, was the cause of much Avodah (work) to ensure that all was prepared before the onset of Shabbos for either contingency.  There was also much Chesed (Loving Kindness) being done to ensure the parents had what they needed for Shabbos and the older siblings had what they needed (including adult supervision) for Shabbos.  The bulk of the Avodah and Chesed fell mainly to the Bubbie and Zeidy (meaning, of course, mainly the Bubbie).

Now... about his ברית מילה/bris/circumcision.  The ברית מילה, of course, is scheduled by the Creator of the World for the eighth day of every Jewish male's life (assuming he is healthy).  Since this new Jew came into the world בין השמשות on a Friday night, though, his ברית מילה will be, his health should continue and the time should be perfect, moved till Sunday.  It can't be on Friday, because he may have been born on Shabbos; in which case he would only be seven days old.  It can't be Shabbos, because he may have been born on Friday; meaning Shabbos is already delayed, and once it is delayed, we don't perform a  ברית מילה on Shabbos.  By being born בין השמשות on a Friday night, he is going to cause a lot of people to ask that question and therefore engender a lot of Torah learning!

So this young Jew, as he entered into the world has already improved the world (real Tikun Olam) with Torah, Avodah, and G'milus Chasadim -- the three reasons for which this world was created.  Some are born to greatness, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.  Looks like this guy is going for a triple header!


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