Simkhat Bat - A Welcoming Ceremony For a New Daughter

Found In: Covenant & Naming Rituals

Tags: welcoming, mi sheberakh, shehekheyanu , covenant, tzitzit, Debbie Friedman

I. Introduction and Entrance
As the baby is brought in, the community sings:
 
בְּרוּכָה הַבָּאָה תַּחַת כַּנְפֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה
 
Brukhah haba’ah takhat kanfey hashekhinah } 2x
May you be blessed beneath the wings of shekhinah }
Be blessed with love be blessed with peace } 2x
- Debbie Friedman
 
Three seats are prepared, one for the sandeket to hold the girl, one for Mom and one for Miriam in the middle. The baby is placed on Miriam’s chair.
 
II. Devorah’s Chair
Each male child is circumcised on the chair of Elijah the prophet, the kise shel eliyahu. The prophet, it is taught, comes to each brit milah to strengthen the resolve of parents to circumcise their sons, even at the most difficult of times.
 
Jewish women for generations have seen Devorah as the female prophetess who best represents the values of a new female soul.  She was the Judge of Israel who held the community together during struggles, adjudicated the disputes of her community with fairness and justice, a leader of prayer and a vision-seeker who knew what was hidden to others.  Because of this it is fitting that we choose to honor her at this special moment in the life of this new woman.
 
We cannot deny that the passing of Debbie Friedman influences this chair.  Debbie, whose Hebrew name was Devorah, was a songstress, a colleague and a teacher of Rabbi James.  She helped him discern his path to rabbinical school and a shabbat does not pass where her music does not grace our congregation.  We hope that alongside Devorah the prophetess, Debbie is sitting with this new child to fill her soul with voice, spirit and joy.
This chair we now dub kise shel Devorah hanevi’ah, the Chair of Devorah the Prophetess. We place our daughter in the arms of "Devorah hanevi’ah." We ask that this little one be endowed with the gift of Devorah’s prophetic vision. It is our hope that the prophetess will instruct her in the art of "singing and dancing before the Lord."
 
זֶה הַכִּסֵּא שֶׁל דְבוֹרָה הַנְבִיאָה זְכוּרָה לַטּוֹב: עוּרִ֤י עוּרִי֙ דְּבוֹרָ֔ה ע֥וּרִי ע֖וּרִי דַּבְּרִי־שִׁ֑יר
 
Zeh hakise shel Devorah hanevi’ah, zekhurah latov. Uri uri Devorah, uri uri dabri shir.
 
This is the chair of Devorah the prophetess, may she be remembered for good.
Arise arise Devorah, arise arise to sing!
 
III. Blessing for The Big Sister 
 
(officiant or parents share blessings for older siblings)

IV. Ritual of Covenant
 
Baby is given to the sandeket for the ritual of bringing the baby into the covenant.  During this ritual, bracelets and anklets of tzitzit will be placed on the new baby as blessings are recited.
 
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל הַבְּרִית
 
Barukh atah adonay eloheynu melekh ha’olam asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu al haberit.
 
Blessed are you, The Source of Covenants who has sanctified us with his commandments and commanded us regarding the covenant.

Mother places first bracelet, saying:
May you have vision like Devorah the prophet which transforms the world for better.  May your insight and wisdom lead to acts of righteousness, justice and equality.
 
Father places second bracelet, saying:
May you use your hands for good deeds.  May you grow to be a strong woman, one educated in torah, justice and loving kindness. 
 
Mother places first anklet, saying:
May you be grounded in this world with your eyes lifted toward the heavens.  May you always be sensitive to the needs of your family, friends and those around you.
 
Father places second anklet, saying:
May you always have a sense of home and knowing where you belong.  May you be blessed with a passion for praying with your feet and serving those in need and those who are oppressed.
 
V. Blessing After Covenant Ritual
 
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ
לְהַכְנִיסָהּ בִּבְרִיתָהּ שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם אָבִֽינוּ וְשָֹרָה אִמֵּנוּ
 
Barukh atah adonay eloheynu melekh ha’olam asher kidshanu bemitzvotav
vetzivanu lehakhniso bivrito shel avraham avinu vesarah imeynu. 
 
Blessed by the Presence whose sanctity fills our lives, we bring our daughter into the covenant of Abraham,
our father and Sarah, our mother. 
 
Community responds:
אָמֵן: שֵׁם שֶׁנִּכְנְסָה לַבְּרִית כֵּן תִכָּנֵס לְתוֹרָה וּלְחֻפָּה וּלְמַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים
 
Amen.  Shem shenikhnesah laberit ken tikanes letorah ulekhupah ulma’asim tovim.

Amen.  Just as she is entered into the covenant so may she enter
into the study of torah, into the marriage canopy and into acts of kindness.

VI. Naming Blessing
 
מִי ֹשֶבֵּרַךְ שָֹרָה רִבְקָה רָחֵל וְלֵאָה מִרְיָם וּדְבוֹרָה הַנְּבִיאוֹת וַאֲבִיגַיִל, וְאֶסְתֵר הַמַּלְכָּה בַּת אֲבִיחַיִל הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת הַיַּלְדָה הַנְּעִימָה הַזֹּאת וְיִקְּרָא ֹשְמָהּ _______ בַּת _____  ו_____ בְּמַזָל טוֹב וּבִשְׁעַת בְּרָכָה: וִיגַדְּלֶהָ בִּבְרִיאוּת שָׁלוֹם וּמְנוּחָה וִיזַכֶּה אֶת אבִיהָ וְאֶת אִמָּהּ לִרְאוֹת בְּשִֹמְחָתָה וּבְחֻפָּתָהּ בְּבָנִים עֹשֶׁר וְכָבוֹד דְשֵׁנִים וְרַעֲנַנִּים יְנוּבוּן בְּשֵֹיבָה וְנֹאמַר: אָמֵן

May the one who blessed our mothers, Sarah Rebecca Rachel and Leah, Miriam and Devorah the prophetesses, Avigail and Esther the queen, bless this lovely child and let her be known as _____ ____ the daughter _____ and _____ in Mazal Tov and in a blessed hour.  May she grow up in health and peace.  May The Source of All Creation give to her parents the joy of seeing her happily partnered, the mother of children and full of honor and joy in her old age.  And let us say: Amen.
 
 
VII. Explanation of the name
 
(Parents share how or why they chose the names for their daughter)
 
VIII. Shehekheyanu
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָֽנוּ וְקִיְּמָֽנוּ וְהִגִּיעָֽנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה
 
Barukh atah adonay eloheynu melekh ha’olam shehekheyanu vekiyamanu vehigi'anu lazeman hazeh.
 
Blessed are You, Source of All Blessing, who brings us to life,
sustains us and allows us to celebrate these wondrous occasions together.