A Mother’s Prayer at the Naming of Her Daughter

mother snuggling baby

To carry a child in this threatening world takes faith,
to give birth to a child in this frightening world takes
love,
To raise a child to be a Jew takes courage.

Today I celebrate the gift of life
which can be accepted only with faith, love and courage,

Today I remember Sarah, who watched Abraham
when he took her only son Isaac to be sacrificed,
and I remember the covenant of Abraham, the pain of
Sarah.

Today I remember the wife of Noah, the mother of three
children, who though she has no name in our Torah,
witnessed the suffering of her sisters, the destruction of
all her human brothers, and I remember
the covenant of Noah.

I remember that the Talmud says: one who take a
single life destroys the whole world.
And I say: therefore, she who gives birth creates a whole
world,
and she feels a little of the divine joy of Elohim
creating the earth and every living thing.

Today I name my daughter a Hebrew name and an
English name,
because I have found the courage to raise her as a Jew.
In this same ceremony I pledge her and myself to the
Covenant
of Noah, to work for a world which will nurture life
and not destroy it.

All Jews must enter the covenant of Noah,
as my daughter will do when she learns she is mature
enough
to conceive and give birth;
Both women and men must promise to protect and nurture
all living things.

All Jewish children should enter the covenant of Abraham,
as a boy does when he is circumcised.
Girls and boys alike need to learn Torah and commit
themselves
to the Jewish people.

We will gather our people together to work for a world
which we will not destroy with fire or nuclear winter
or atomic missiles;
Beginning today we must work together for a world that is
safe
for my baby and for all babies everywhere.

When my daughter grows up and decides to give birth, she
will
find, as I do, that whatever causes pain to her child hurts
her.

If all men and women learn to feel the suffering of others,
life can be preserved on this planet.

Faith and love and courage can prevail over threats and
fear
and violence.

Nations will study peace and people will learn to love one another.
Despite our pain, we will work for a world of peace,
In trembling, we will raise our children as Jews,
In fear, we will insist on celebrating life,
on embracing the covenant of Noah and the covenant
of Abraham,
we and our children, and, God helping us, our children’s
children.

From Ruth F. Brin, HARVEST: Collected Poems and Prayers, The Reconstructionist Press, New York, 1986. Used by permission of the estate of Ruth F. Brin, z”l. Rabbi Deborah J. Brin, a daughter of the author, can be contacted by clicking here.

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