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    Having a baby – Tazria

    Because the sidra begins with the religious procedures that follow the birth of a baby, it’s a good occasion to talk about babies as a whole. As far as I am concerned, they are one of the finest pieces of evidence that there is a God.

    The newborn baby, painting by Matthys Naiveu, 1675

    Our ancestors, who did not quite know how to explain pregnancy and childbirth, automatically said the baby came from God.

    It wasn’t a very sophisticated answer but it had the advantage of being true. It isn’t that the baby came down on a cloud from heaven wrapped in a blanket, but Someone was the intelligent Mind that worked out the method of procreation and endowed human parents with the capacity to create new life.

    This fact explains one of the puzzles of the Ten Commandments. The tradition is that the first five commandments are between man and God, the second five between man and man. Nice symmetry, but how is it that our relationship with our parents is in the first and not the second category?

    Answer: the ultimate parent is God, who works through an earthly father and mother to bring the new generation into being. In honouring our earthly parents we honour the heavenly Parent.

    Let’s go further. Only the Intelligent Someone that we call God could enable every child to bring its own blessing into the world. The sages said in Mishnah Sanhedrin that when humans mint coins, the coins they produce are identical, but when God ordains the birth of a baby, every child is different and unique.

    That’s why we can all enhance our daily morning prayers with the words, “Blessed are You who made me me”.

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