Hi, I have a question about daughters. I’m not sure if it’s applicable to your site but I thought I’d send it anyway. My daughter was born just before lockdown nearly 2 years ago and we couldn’t have a kiddush for her. Many people have said to me it’s extremely important to have a kiddush for a girl. Someone even said that her midrasha made a kiddush for all the girls in case they’d never had one as a baby. What is the source for this? Is there a chiyuv to make a kiddush for a daughter or is it just a nice thing to do?
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According to the Talmud (Bava Batra 91a), Boaz held 120 feasts for his many children. Rabbeinu Gershom comments that this included feasts at the birth of each boy and girl. The minor tractate Semachot (2:3) refers to a festive meal in celebration of a daughter's birth, and this is cited by a number of early authorities, including Ramban (in Torat Ha-adam).
To this day, it is customary in many Jewish communities to celebrate the birth of a daughter, praising and giving thanks to God for her birth and her mother’s health, and providing an opportunity for community members to join in praising God and blessing mother and baby.
A Shabbat kiddush is one such custom. It is not obligatory, but encouraged. Shabbat is a good time to hold this type of celebration because people have more time (and it may be the day on which the baby is named). On the other hand, those who wish to include friends and family who don’t live in walking distance can choose to celebrate during the week.
Some stories have circulated about rabbis who encouraged families to hold a “make up” kiddush. Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson reportedly took this approach, though not specifically with respect to prospects of shidduchim. (See here.) These anecdotes seem to have created a strong impression among the public. There is no halachic obligation for families who did not hold celebrations for pandemic babies to make them, though it is a nice idea.
As we God willing begin to exit the pandemic, a community might consider holding a joint celebration for all of the families who missed the opportunity to celebrate meaningful events like this over the past few years.
See more Q&A here.
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