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A Jewish Wet Nurse

1 1) The overall education of a child begins at birth; therefore they should not suckle the milk of a gentile woman following the law cited in Shulchan Aruch:2 “In any case, a child should not be allowed to suckle from an Egyptian woman … for the milk of an idolateress fouls the heart and engenders a wicked nature in [the child]. Similarly, the wet nurse (even if she is Jewish) must not eat forbidden foods, and so also the child himself, for all this will cause him harm in his later life.” This is the child’s training that the father and mother must be careful about to take care that his food and drink shall all be kosher.

Lighting an Additional Shabbos Candle

2) Some have the custom to add an additional candle after a child is born; [the purpose of this is] to illuminate everyone’s fortunes.3

Modeh Ani

3) Reciting Modeh Ani is something that pertains to every individual, whether great or small; even to an infant who cannot speak yet. It is the custom of women to recite Modeh Ani on behalf of (and with) the child.4

Making the Child’s Room into a Mikdash Me’at

5 4) A suggestion, and a double entreaty to each one of the Jewish boys and girls that they make there room (their bed, their desk, etc.) into a mikdash me’at,6 a “house” of Torah, prayer, and charity: where they study torah each day, recite a prayer to G‑d, deposit charity in the charity box7 (except on Shabbos or Yom Tov), etc. Each should have his own Siddur for prayer, a Chumash (or other Torah sefer) of his own, and also his own charity box. On the page preceding the beginning of the Siddur or other sefer, he should write the words לה' הארץ ומלואה (“To G‑d belongs the earth and all that fills it”)8 or at least the abbreviation לה"ו and his name, in keeping with Jewish custom. If possible, [this should be written] also on the charity box.

These instructions pertain even to a very small child who has not yet begun to speak, since he has a space of four cubits dedicated to him by his parents (or his siblings) having hung near him the verses of Shir HaMaalos9 or the like (Torah), they study a Torah subject in his behalf, they pray and recite blessings (in his Siddur) in his behalf,10 and they give charity for his merit (in his charity box).

A Letter in a Torah Scroll

5) It is proper to see to it that every boy and girl member of Tzivos HaShem even the youngest should have a letter in a Torah scroll.11

Footnotes
1.
Sichah of Yom Simchas Torah 5737 (Sichah 7).
2.
Yoreh De’ah, end of Ch. 81. See also Otzar HaBris.
3.

Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 11, p. 289; Yemei Melech, Vol. 2., p. 608. See also Likkutei Mahariach, Vol. 2., p. 13b:It is the custom of women that when they give birth to a son or daughter they add one candle; support for this custom is implied by the Gemara, BaMeh Madlikin: “…In reward for increasing the number of Shabbos candles they will have sons and sons-in-law who are rabbinic scholars.”

4.

Sichah of Shabbos Parshas Vayeishev 5749 (printed in Hisvaaduyos 5749, Vol. 2, p. 37, unedited):It is obvious that the principle of “For You have restored my soul within me” applies to each and every one, since each person becomes a “new creature” [each morning].

5.
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 26, p. 420 (letter to Jewish children)and Sichah of Shabbos Parshas Beshallach 5747 (edited; printed in Hisvaaduyos 5747, Vol. 2, p. 449ff); Sichah of Shabbos Parshas Mishpatim 5747 (edited; printed ibid., p. 474); Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 14, p. 279.
6.
A “miniature Sanctuary.” Cf. Yechezkel 11:16; Megillah 29a.
7.
In the Sichah of Beshallach (ibid.) it is noted that “into this [charity box] he deposits of his own funds, from which he could have purchased food to sustain his life” (Tanya, Ch. 37).
8.

See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 14, ibid., note 13:From Scripture, Tehillim 24:1. See also Shabbos 119a; Testament of Rabbi Yehudah HaChassid 47. Regarding what is written in Damesek Eliezer (loc. cit.) that one should not write a whole verse (in accordance with Tosafos on Kiddushin 30a) in fact the text is altered by writing the abbreviation לה"ו. And we see that this is the practice of the common folk, for each of them writes this in his seforim. Compare also the custom at many gatherings of pious people, where they write, ברוך הבא בשם ה (“blessed is he who comes with the Name of the L-rd”).

9.
See supra, 2:1 and footnotes
10.
See Sichah of Beshallach (ibid.): “For even a one-day-old child inherits the entire Torah; see Mishnah, Niddah 43b; Rambam, Hilchos Nachalos, end of Ch. 1 and 1:3.”
11.
For details, see Hisvaaduyos 5741, for 11-13 Nissan, [S.I.E. essay “A Sefer Torah for Children”]. The connection between Torah and very small children is explained in the previous note.
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