Surprise!  It’s Birthday Season (mine)!

It’s that time of year again…the solar calendar has rolled around to September 28, which is my birthday on the civil (solar) calendar.

But my Hebrew birthday falls out on the evening of October 19, and lasts until sundown on October 20.

That’s why I call it Birthday Season!  Almost a month of continuous birthday!!  Presents welcome, if they’re good ones…😄

So far, my mother has called to remind me that I have somehow failed in…everything, and my son sent me a text asking for a loan.  Sigh.

I used to love Birthday Season.  My Hebrew birthday falls in the middle of the joyous holiday of Sukkot, where we live outside in temporary dwellings, to remind ourselves of the tenuous nature of life.  Sukkot is a huge roving party.  The dwellings are called, well, sukkot, which is the plural of sukkah, which is one of them.  One dwelling, I mean.  A sukkah can be so small as to admit only the head and upper half of the body of a man, or it can be huge.  But it can only go up the night after Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.  And it has to come down, or at least be ritually invalidated by removing one of the parts that make it a legal sukkah, after the eight day holiday is over.  It is, by definition, a temporary dwelling, just as our bodies are temporary dwelling places for our souls.

In Israel, pretty much everyone has a sukkah, even Christians, who call it the Feast of Tabernacles.  In fact, Christians the whole world over flock to Israel to take part in the Gathering of the Nations.  A huge sukkah colony inhabited by Christians goes up in one part of Jerusalem.  There’s a miles-long parade that goes right by my former house.  How wonderful to see people from every single corner of the globe coming out to celebrate and support the one and only Jewish State!

The Hebrew calendar is mostly lunar, but there is a caveat that Passover must fall in the Spring; so when it gets to the point where Passover is getting so early in the year that it’s in danger of being in the winter, we have a leap year.  Rather than add one day every four years like the civil calendar, we add a whole month every three to four years.  

All this is to say that Hebrew dates usually don’t match up with civil ones.  Therefore, Birthday Season could last as long as a whole month, or only a few days.

At home in Israel, my birthday parties were epic!  At first, I had my own sukkah, large enough to hold at least twelve people going and coming, plus food, drinks, and musical instruments (and my street cats).  I ended up lending my sukkah to friends who didn’t have one, so then my sukkah party was on the rooftop of their building, with a beautiful view of the Judean Hills, even the Dead Sea when the dust from Egypt wasn’t blowing.

Something very special about Hebrew birthdays: we are given a tiny bit of the gift of prophesy on that day.  We use this gift to give blessings to other people, even people we don’t know.  In fact, if someone knows it’s your birthday, they will come to you and request a blessing.

These are not the garden variety blessings that we give each other many times each day (we bless each other many times a day, in the Holy Land.  Complete strangers will come up to you and give you long, complex, and specific blessings, asking your special name, your parents’ names, your children, what you need, they bless you with that and more.)  Birthday blessings are different.  They come from a different place.  You meditate, the two of you enter trance state together, and you wait for the blessing to come.  When it does, you look into the soul of the blessee, and the blessing comes out of your soul through your mouth, the blessee listens intently, taking it in.  Often, the blessing is so deep, so powerful, that the blessee bursts into tears and, if the same gender as the blesser, a long, fervent hug.  We don’t have any physical contact whatsoever with members of the opposite gender who are not related.  But we still bless!

We who observe Birthday Season have adopted the custom of blessing others during the whole of Birthday Season.  Why not?  Maybe the full power of prophesy doesn’t kick in until the Hebrew birthday, but still, the solar calendar counts in its own way.

So to kick off Birthday Season, here’s my Solar Birthday Blessing for you:

May the Blessed Holy One grant you a year of peace, harmony, happiness, enough money for your needs, satisfying endeavors, good relationships, complete healing of body and spirit.  May you be enabled to understand the value of the ephemeral nature of life, and of all living things, and of this planet, the solar system, and the mystery of the ever-expanding universe.

Amen, selah, netzakh, va’ed.  (So may it be, forever and ever, from On High.)

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  1. I really found this interesting!!!…
    Thank you so much for sharing : )
    Ok I have to ask maybe a stupid question??? let me know if I can ask it..if not I understand..

    • No such thing as stupid questions! Ask away…😄

      • OK..Thank you…
        On your religion in the bible days were longer or shorter due to your religion right? or I should say the calendar is different???? do you go to church on a Saturday since from what I have read that is the Sabbath ???? or am I wrong?? unlike other religions today go to church on a Sunday…??Hope you can understand what I am trying to say… ☻♥

  2. You sound so happy when you speak of Israel
    And you’re always about the same when you bring it up
    I know if I could I would do something like that if I could
    Happiness only comes but once
    Oh Laura you don’t deserve your mother
    Or your son
    You know what I mean
    A mother’s love
    I get it
    It’s just the happiness in your voice when you speak of Israel
    As always Sheldon

    • It’s my eternal home. My soul rejoices there, even on the toughest days. Every day of my six years there, I gave thanks for the miracle of being there. What merit do I have, that I had the privilege of living in The Land? Not my merit, but only in the merit of my ancestors, surely, could I ever have such a gift. I bless myself, and all of the People who want to go, to return when the time is right, may it be soon במהרה ובימינו, אמן, סלה, ועד

  3. happy birthday today and every day for the rest of the month. may you be blessed this season and always in all that you do. thanks for being you.

  4. I learned a lot from this great post. And I’m sending that beautiful blessing back to you. Wishing you a joyous birthday season Laura, and a happy, healthy new year.

  5. Happy birthday my dear friend. Love ya!! Xoxoxox

  6. Happy Birthday Laura!!! I loved your story about your childhood birthdays in Israel.

  7. And thank you for the birthday blessing. 💜

  8. Congratulations on making it through another year – always a challenge with chronic pain.

    I enjoyed your explanation of the birthday ritual you’ve created and admire the spirit of celebration at the heart of it.

    It’s a great example of how to “make” your own happiness, putting the less pleasant aspects of life aside for a while to seek out and honor all the good in life.

    • Beautifully said, Zyp. May this year bring you surprises…but only the kind that bring revealed (not concealed) good, healing to your heart, and the pain should vanish pffft! Like a feather on the wind, gone off to decompose and fertilize the earth, amen.

      • Amen Indeed!

        When you said “Pain should vanish like a feather on the wind” it made me think of meditating, when you are instructed to let thoughts go “like a feather on the wind” instead of becoming attached.

        Hmm, that’s an interesting parallel. I’ll have to think about that some more… if I can remember 🙂

  9. It was such an interesting read with so much of love radiating.

    I reciprocate all your blessings and love. I hope you get your dues of miracle soon.

    Happy Birthday

    Love and light,

  10. Happy birthday 🙂

  11. In the New Year spirit and inspired by the traditional Rosh Hashana blessings, here are some special Chubeza New Year blessings to you all: Chubeza is is CAA, Community assisted Agriculture. I recently learned that the prayer for rain is specifically for rain in the amounts in their proper time for food. Flowers have a special merit and don’t need a special prayer for the rains.

    Dates: May the dates we determine to plant, water, and harvest our crops be not too early, not too late, but just right.

    Black-eyed Pea: May our shiners be only from this pea.

    Leek: May all the pests, leaf nibblers, tunnel diggers and other little menaces “leek” away, or at least remain under control…

    Beets: May blessed rains “beet” upon our fields, saturating our earth (but not sweeping it away with its seeds), filling up the reservoirs and watering the plants.

    Pumpkin: May we pump up many beds with seeds, may we empty many trays of plants that will fill up the beds, and may we persevere, as the pumpkin, to the end of the vine.

    Pomegranate: May our hands be filled with bountiful earthly missions, as the seeds of the pomegranate.

    Apple and Honey: May we have crisp, juicy and sweet produce (or tart, spicy, and invigorating).

    Fish Head: May we know to take action from our heads and hearts, and never forget one or the other.

    Mallow (Chubeza): This year, may we try to remember when life was sweet and oh, so mallow. Renew our days, as of old!

    Wishing you a good and blessed year, bountiful in happiness, success and fulfillment!

    Much love from Jerusalem

    • Lovely simanim! Thank you. Where in the Ir ha’Kodesh do you live, if I may be so bold?

      You and yours should have a safe, sweet, full New Year: full of joy, laughter, kindness, and awareness of the Divine Presence, amen.

  12. I know it’s not funny but I laughed out loud at the mother and son comment. Did they at least wish you a happy birthday BEFORE the criticisms and the request? Geeze, Laura.
    Well, Happy Birthday! Now, for all the things you have done wrong….shame on you…and can you float me a loan for say….a couple of thousand dollars? LOL

  13. With G-d’s Help- B’Ezrat Hashem – בעזרת השם
    Happy Birthday – Yom Huledet Same’ach – יום הולדת שמח

  14. Larry Feldman

     /  October 2, 2016

    Happy birthday and shana tova u’metuka!

  15. Is it too late to say Happy Rosh Hashanah? 🙂

  16. Although I have increasingly had less and less time available to keep up with blogging friends, wanted to say I thoroughly enjoyed this informative and love-filled post. I appreciate you sharing (and explaining) some of those traditions or beliefs that don’t align with what is usually referred to as common Christianity, although even to my own ears that sounds so archaic. In so many ways, we are simply one people, all connected by the desire to know peace and spread love, and to leave our children and future generations a world where they might know peace, prosperity, good health, and love. So in that regard, we are always united, despite all the noise the world likes to throw haphazardly like splashed paint against a wall … noise and chaos that divides, rather than binds us together.

    Thank you for the lovely blessing, and it is returned to you in equal doses, especially during your Birthday season. It truly is so apparent how your memories of your time in the Holy Land are dear to your heart. It is always good to hear someone who has such beautiful memories stored away, to help us weather those other days. If I don’t get back around to see you again for a while, I sincerely hope you are doing well and know some peace, and get more and more opportunities to enjoy the glorious calm and peace of nature. The world is capable of being such a beautiful place. Sometimes we forget that, so thank you also for your timely reminder to appreciate those days. Blessings to you, always.

    • 💖 What a beautiful comment, what beautiful thoughts. May your good thoughts spread over the world like the blessing of water. May your light and love bring peace and happiness to you and yours, and may your health and strength increase day by day.

      Much love,



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