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Zeved habat

Zeved habat (Hebrew: זֶבֶד הַבָּת‎) or Simchat bat (Hebrew: שמחת בת‎) is a Jewish naming ceremony for newborn girls.

Contents

  • Ashkenazi custom 1
  • Sephardi custom 2
  • Mi sheberakh blessing 3
  • New ceremonies 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6

Ashkenazi custom

In the Ashkenazi community, namegiving ceremonies for newborn girls were not widespread and often limited to the father announcing the baby's name in the synagogue on the Shabbat, Monday, Thursday or other occasion when the Torah would be read following the birth. Sometimes a kiddush will be held at the synagogue for family and friends. Although ceremonies can be found in Ashkenazic sources. Rabbi Yacov Emden includes a text in his famous prayer book . In the 20th century, interest in traditional ceremonies for welcoming baby girls has been revived, and new ceremonies have evolved. These ceremonies are often known under the newly coined terms Simchat Bat or a Brit Bat. There is no explicit source in the Mishnah or Talmud specifying when girls should be named.

In medieval times, girls were named during Shavua Habat (lit. "week of the daughter"). In early German Jewish communities, a baby naming ceremony was developed for both girls and boys called a Hollekreisch, which literally translated to mean the giving of the secular name. The ritual took place after Shabbat lunch. The babies were dressed up, and boys were draped in a tallit. The book of Vayikra (Leviticus) was placed in the crib. The crib would then be lifted up and the following recited in German: Hollekreisch ! How shall the baby be called? Ploni Ploni Ploni (i.e. his or her name three times). This was done for boys who had received their Hebrew names at their brit mila already. Nuts, sweets and fruits were then distributed to the guests. The custom applied to both boys and girls.

Sephardi custom

In the Sephardi community the Zeved habat is usually celebrated within the first month of the birth. It is held privately in the synagogue or at a party at home. It is often led by the ḥakhám or hazzan. The main elements of the ceremony are the mother's thanksgiving for deliverance (Birkat hagomel); the recital of Song of Songs 2:14 (and, in the case of the first daughter born to the mother, Song of Songs 6:9); and the namegiving prayer itself in the form of Mi sheberakh (imoteinu) (see below). Additional elements may include Psalm 128 and the Priestly Blessing (Birkat kohanim).

Mi sheberakh blessing

The words in parentheses are recited in the Moroccan Jewish community.

English Translation

New ceremonies

The Simchat Bat ("Celebration of the daughter") or Brit Bat (loosely, welcoming the new daughter into the covenant) are now becoming more common. The celebration typically consists of a communal welcoming, a naming done over a cup of wine with the quotation of appropriate Biblical verses, and traditional blessings.

"Moreh Derekh", the Rabbi's manual of the Conservative Judaism movement's Rabbinical Assembly, presents a ceremony based on traditional Jewish forms, with a number of options that parents may choose to perform: (A) Lighting seven candles (symbolizing the seven days of creation) and holding the baby towards them, (B) Wrapping the baby in the four corners of a tallit (Jewish prayer shawl), or (C) Lifting the baby and touching her hands to a Torah scroll.

Further reading

  • Herbert C. Dobrinsky: A treasury of Sephardic laws and customs: the ritual practices of Syrian, Moroccan, Judeo-Spanish and Spanish and Portuguese Jews of North America. Revised edition. Hoboken, NJ (Ktav); New York, NY (Yeshiva Univ. Press), 1988. (Pages 3-29.)
  • Book of prayer of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation, London. Volume One: Daily and occasional prayers. Oxford (Oxford Univ. Press, Vivian Ridler), 5725 - 1965. (Page 180.)
  • "Namegiving", in A guide to Jewish religious practice, by Isaac Klein. New York (JTS), 1979. (Page 429.)
  • "Berit Benot Yisrael", in Hadesh Yameinu = Renew our days: A book of Jewish prayer and meditation, Ronald Aigen. Montreal (Cong. Dorshei Emet), 1996. pages 228-233
  • Mothers and Children: Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe Elisheva Baumgarten, Princeton University Press

External links

  • When Should Baby Girls be Named?

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