About Me

Rabbi Chaim Coffman
Rabbi Coffman has helped people from all across the spectrum to prepare themselves properly for Orthodox Conversion to Judaism. His students admire his vast knowledge and appreciate his warm, personal attention and endearing sense of humor.
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Welcome to Rabbi Chaim Coffman's Blog!

I would like to thank you for visiting my blog, Beyond Orthodox Conversion to Judaism.

The conversion process can be a lengthy and daunting one to say the least and I want you to know that I am here to help you through it.

I have been teaching newcomers to Judaism for over a decade and over the last few years I have seen that conversion candidates really lack the support and knowledge they need to navigate the conversion process and successfully integrate into the Orthodox Jewish community.

I created my mentorship program in order to help make this whole experience as smooth and as painless as possible! (Can't do much about the growing pains, though ;)

Feel free to get to know me a little through the posts on my blog and visit the mentorship and syllabus page if you are interested in possible joining us.

I sincerely wish you all the best in your search for truth and spiritual growth.

Looking forward to meeting you,
Chaim Coffman

My Rebbe, Rav Moshe Sternbuch

In case you were wondering why I have all of these articles written by Rav Moshe Sternbuch, he is my Rebbe, and one of the gedolei hador (greatest Rabbis of our generation).

Rav Sternbuch fully endorses me and supports my mentorship program.

He is the address for all of my halachic or hashkafic (practical and philosophical) questions that I or my students may have.

The articles are based on his weekly talks on the Torah portion that the Rav gives in Jerusalem in his kollel. As a member of the kollel I get first dibbs on the photocopies and I type them up for my blog so you can all benefit from the Rav's erudition and insight.
Thursday, January 26, 2012

AsktheRaavad: Shecheyanu for a Baby Girl

Question: I just had a baby girl, and I heard that the minhag is not to make a Shehecheyanu on the birth
of a daughter. Is this, in fact, the case? Can the rov also tell me when the best time to name our daughter
is and if we should make a kiddush?
Thank you.
Ami Brachen


The Mishnah Berurah (223:2) rules that one can make a Shehecheyanu when he sees his newborn daughter for the first time. However, the minhag regarding this halacha differs, and Rav Sternbuch rules that the answer to this question depends on the circumstances of the birth. If you did not make the bracha at the time of the birth, you should not make it afterwards. You should name your daughter
at the first opportunity at krias haTorah during the week, unless there will be significantly more people at your Shabbos minyan.

Mazel Tov!

Perhaps there is no greater joy than the birth of a baby. The Gemara states that when a baby boy is born, a parent should express this simcha by reciting the bracha of hatov vehameitiv (Shulchan Aruch 223:1). Even if one missed the opportunity to make this bracha at the time of birth, it can still be said as long as the parent is excited and telling the news to others. While the halacha regarding a boy is
clear, the Gemara does not say how one should act when a girl is born.

Every father waits for the moment when he can see his newborn baby for the first time. The excitement that he experiences when he finally sees his baby can be compared to someone who has not seen his friend for a long time and then suddenly meets up with him. The Mishnah Berurah (223:2) draws this comparison and, based on it, rules that a parent recites Shehecheyanu upon seeing a baby girl
for the first time after birth.

We cannot deny that seeing one’s child for the first time is an exciting moment for a father. However, it is not clear that this feeling is reason for the father to recite Shehecheyanu. There are many happy circumstances when one does not make this bracha. This bracha of Shehecheyanu was established specifically over the joy of seeing someone he has not seen in a long time. One only recites this bracha on a very close friend whom he has a great yearning to meet. A father has simcha over the successful birth of a healthy child and not exclusively over the joy of seeing the baby for the first time.

Since the Rama writes that the bracha of Shehecheyanu is not an obligatory one, one should do as follows. If a person has a number of boys and was hoping for a girl, or he had a specific reason to want to have a baby daughter (e.g., to name her after a parent or grandparent), one can make a Shehecheyanu on the birth. However, if he was hoping for a boy, or he had no particular preference for a boy or a girl,
then it is preferable not to make the bracha.

All of the above applies when one saw the baby for the first time. Once this experienced had lapsed, the simcha lessens. Therefore, if a parent did not make the bracha the first time he saw her, then it is too late to make a Shehecheyanu. If he wishes, he can recite Shehecheyanu on a new fruit and have in mind his newborn daughter, as is the practice on the second day of Rosh Hashanah to avoid the safeik Shehecheyanu with a new fruit.

The Best Time For A Name

The best time to give the name also depends on the circumstances. Tosafos (Gitten 59b) writes that the naming should be done in public. Therefore, if the father davens in a large minyan on a Monday and a Thursday when there is a Torah reading, then he should give the name right away and not leave his daughter without a name. However, if the weekday minyan is very small and he will be davening in a significantly larger minyan on Shabbos, he should wait for Shabbos to give the name. This way, the name will be given with the greatest publicity. However, one should not wait beyond Shabbos. In order to aid the publicity of the name, many have the minhag to make a kiddush upon the birth of a baby daughter. This way, the name is publicized amongst all those who attend. Another reason to make a kiddush is because the child who is born can be compared to a prisoner who was released from captivity, and the kiddush serves as a seudas hoda’ah.

May Hashem bless you with much nachas from your newborn daughter and all of your children.