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How Should We Celebrate our Birthday?

How Should We Celebrate our Birthday?

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It is good to be thankful for what you have in life and what you have accomplished. But open your eyes to the larger picture. If we are to appreciate the fruits of life, we must first appreciate the tree that bears the fruit: birth itself.

Birth is your beginning. It is a window to the chance of a lifetime, the chance to fulfill your unique mission. So a birthday is a momentous occasion, to be commemorated just as a nation commemorates its birth or as an organization celebrates its founding. Still, it is much more than an occasion to receive gifts. It is a chance to remember the day that a major event occurred, to celebrate and give thanks and to reflect upon how well we are fulfilling our calling.

Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year: The same energy that G‑d invested in you at birth is present once again. It is our duty to be receptive to that force. How do we do so? By committing to a life guided by G‑d's will, and by using the abilities and resources we were born with to perfect ourselves and society, and to make the world a good and sacred home for G‑d.

A birthday is a time to celebrate birth itself, the joy of life. It is also an occasion to rethink your life: How great is the disparity between what I have accomplished and what I can accomplish? Am I spending my time properly or am I involved in things that distract me from my higher calling? How can I strengthen the thread that connects my outer life and my inner life?

A birthday can also teach us the concept of rebirth. To recall our birth is to recall a new beginning. No matter how things went yesterday, or last year, we always have the capacity to try again. Your birthday is a refresher, a chance for regeneration--not just materially, but spiritually.

On your birthday, gather with family and friends and study something meaningful together.

There is no better way to celebrate a birthday than to commit a special act of goodness. It is easy enough to say you are thankful; it is far better to show it by doing a kind deed, something that you did not do yesterday. Not because someone is forcing you. Not because someone suggests it. But simply because your inner goodness, your soul, wants to express its thanks for being born and alive.

Such an act of kindness gives G‑d great pleasure, because He sees that the child in whom He invested, the particular child he wanted to be born on a particular day, is living up to its potential. And nothing, of course, gives a parent greater joy. This is the true experience of birth, the true beginning of a life of meaning.

Selected readings from Toward a Meaningful Life: The Wisdom of the Rebbe (William Morrow, 1995), authored by Simon Jacobson based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory. Reprinted with permission from the Meaningful life Learning Center
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vishwa gujarat June 30, 2017

Thank you so much for encouraging me; I had just thought of celebrating my birthday like this and when I read this, it made my thought a powerful one. Reply

Katheryn Culver Laramie April 28, 2017

Thank you

Born on Mother's Day do not get along with my mother. She has been upset that I wasn't born 3 days later on her birthday.

Never really had a birthday. It is and always will be about her so thank you for this information I will try to apply it. Reply

Alisa Daniels Rego Park April 17, 2017

Please pray for me. I'm having a very hard time and lots of problems. Reply

Gashaw Adama,Ethiopia June 30, 2016

Thank you so much for your inspiring thoughts.I have been thinking of how can I use my birth day as a special day to transform my life. Reply

Fro October 30, 2014

What an inspiring and revelational article this is. Thank you, Simon Jacobaon for sharing your thoughts Reply

Arpit Parekh India November 21, 2013

Thanks Your article is refreshing, and made me think. Thank you Reply

Nisha Australia October 10, 2013

Bday Hi there, I just came across your site by chance. I haven't celebrated my birthday ever since I was young. I've never felt a special need to celebrate my life.
But reading your site made me think twice about it. Reply

Dean Bangkok, Thailand June 16, 2013

My birthday and thank you Tomorrow is my birthday and I'm so happy that I can read your article. It gives a lot of new thoughts to me and it also makes my life more meaningful. Thank u Reply

Anonymous Trinidad April 4, 2013

how to celebrate a birthday Excellent thoughts and facts, saved my life I see new purpose for me being here and Know that there is something that I must contribute like no other can. I am going to give life on my birthday thanks a lot. Reply

Anonymous India February 4, 2013

Birth is your beginning. It is a window to the chance of a lifetime, the chance to fulfill your unique mission. So a birthday is a momentous occasion, to be commemorated just as a nation commemorates its birth or as an organization celebrates its founding. Still, it is much more than an occasion to receive gifts. It is a chance to remember the day that a major event occurred, to celebrate and give thanks and to reflect upon how well we are fulfilling our calling.
Because time itself is like a spiral, something special happens on your birthday each year Reply

Adamson Nigeria January 28, 2013

Wow my birthday comes on the 11th of february, and boy do I feel so alone. But thanks to this article, I might end up not making it all about me like I planned to, and start thinking of making a difference when it eventually comes Reply

barbara January 23, 2013

I enjoy reading this thought, thank you, I sent it to some of my friends as well. Reply

Vijay Mumbai, India September 18, 2012

Nice thoughts Tomorrow I am going to celebrate my birthday with these thoughts in mind. Thank u Reply

Vita Nicosia, Cyprus January 25, 2012

The Meaning of Birthday Today is my Birthday and my inside was thirsty of these reflections. Thank you for your article. These ideas made my Birthday meaningful. I started thinking how to implement them... Reply

Dabo Jos, plateau April 6, 2011

how to celebrate my birthday in a Godly way thank you. Reply

hayley newcastle, New South Wales April 2, 2011

jewish beliefs I have recently left a religon i have grown up in all my life and I am searching for th true one. The religon i grew up in did not celebrate birthdays infact they forbade it. The information that you just gave me was very good, but if the origins of a birthday were pagan would it be right to celebrate it? I am very confused. Reply

Anonymous March 29, 2011

???? very nice reasoning, but it is a human reasoning, not Biblical, I don't even see a Biblical reason to celebrate it. Reply

Ezza Amitai Melbourne, 3182 via chabadillinois.com December 9, 2010

My birthday and thank you Thanks to R. Simon Jacobsen and Chabad for this article. It is full of good suggestions on how to view my birthday, and how best to celebrate it.

I've never liked the 'traditional' party, with gifts and drinks etc. Doing an act of chesed (kindness) with friends and family sounds like a great way to spend the day.

Todah rabah (thanks) and blessings. Reply

Frank H Manila, Philippines September 17, 2010

How to celebrate a birthday Why should it be a special act of goodness on my birthday? It should be acts of goodness all the days of my life! Then I can celebrate my birthday in the best way possible. Reply

Anonymous Westbloomfield, Mi via baischabad.com July 23, 2009

celebrating birthday Thank you so much for this article. My daughter will be celebrating her birthday later this month. She has read this and is thinking of what to give and to whom. Shalom Reply

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