“As soon as a new-born infant emerges into the world, Hakadosh Boruch Hu rests His presence within his tiny heart. This does not mean only a limited light. Instead, He rests there in all His Essence, for this is the heart of a child born to Jewish parents.”
Summary: A. Modeh Ani, B. Singing to one’s child C. Kissing a Mezuzah D. Children should make their rooms a Mikdosh Me’at E. Vigilance in Preventing Children from Seeing Impure Entities
- Modeh Ani
The recitation of Modeh Ani is relevant to everyone, regardless of his or her age. As such, it is a custom for mother’s to recite Modeh Ani for – and “with” – their infants.
- Singing to one’s child
It is the custom of Jewish woman to sing inspirational songs to their children – even infants – for example, the lullaby Torah iz der besta zach… (“Torah is the most precious thing”) and the song relating how a teacher instructs his students to say Kametz Alef, Aw. (The Kametz Alef, Aw, recited by a young child alludes to the Kametz Alef, Aw, which begins the word Onochi in the Ten Commandments. That letter includes within it the entire Torah.) This will suffuse them with the love of Torah. This custom, with an emphasis on those songs, should be renewed.
- Kissing a Mezuzah
In a Sicha, the Rebbe states: “We actually see that the nature of Jewish children motivates them to kiss a mezuzah. They raise their bodies to kiss the mezuzah several times a day, in particular, at the beginning of the day when they awake and at the end of the day, before they go to sleep.”
- Children should make their rooms a Mikdosh Me’at
Children should make their rooms a Mikdosh Me’at, “Sanctuaries in microcosm” – On several occasions, the Rebbe turned to Jewish children with “both a suggestion and a request” that they make their rooms into a “Sanctuary in microcosm,” a place for Torah study, prayer, and deeds of kindness, by performing the following activities there every day: a) studying Torah, b) Davening to Hashem, and c) giving tzedakah in tzedakah pushkah (charity box) [needless say, one should not give coins to charity on Shabbos and festivals]. These efforts are enhanced when a child makes his room “a house filled with books,” among them: a) a Siddur, b) a Chumash (and/or other Torah texts), c) a Tanya, and d) an illustrated Hagadah (wrapped for Pesach). He should also have his own tzedakah pushkah and affix it permanently in a visible place in room.
On the inside cover of these sefarim (and on the tzedakah pushkah, if possible), he should, as is accepted Jewish custom, write the phrase: “L’Hashem Ha’aretz Umelo’o” (“The earth and everything it contains are Hashem’s”) and his own name.
These directives are also relevant even for an infant, for he also has a space that is his own. In that space, his parents (or his brothers and sisters) should hang a copy of the Shir HaMaalos, study Torah, recite prayers and blessings (in a Siddur designated for him), and give tzedakah in his pushkah.
- Vigilance in Preventing Children from Seeing Impure Entities
Sight leaves a powerful impact – positively and adversely – on a child’s character. Accordingly, a child should always be surrounded by matters of holiness. For that reason, the Shir HaMaalos should be hung in the child’s cradle and he should not be shown pictures of non-kosher animals.
Needless to say, this does not apply with regard to showing a child pictures of non-kosher animals as part of their studies (whether general studies or study of Tana”ch). Nor does it mean that a child should not be taken to a zoo, because that is a brief and infrequent occurrence.
This concept is particularly relevant in the present era, Ikvesa deMeshicha, the time when Moshiach’s approaching footsteps can be heard. For such efforts precipitate the fulfillment of the prophecy: ואת רוח הטומאה אעביר מן הארץ “I will cause the spirit of impurity to depart from the earth.”
. Hisvaaduyos 5747, Vol. 2, p. 647.
. Hisvaaduyos 5749, Vol. 2, p. 37.
. Sefer HaSichos 5752, Vol. 2, p. 357, et al., Sichos Kodesh 5741, Vol. 1, p. 95; Vol. 2, p. 230; Vol. 4, p. 559.
. Sefer HaSichos 5747, p. 153; Hisvaaduyos 5742, Vol. 4, p. 2124.
. Sefer HaSichos 5752, Vol. 2, p. 357.
. Sefer HaSichos 5752, Vol. 1, p. 89; see also Hisvaaduyos 5747, Vol. 2, p. 647. See also Likutei Diburim (of the Frierdiker Rebbe page תקצה.
. See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 2, p. 26; Sefer HaSichos 5747, p. 326; Kobetz Minhagei Anash, p. 56, et al.
. Sefer HaSichos 5752, p. 360.
. Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 32, p. 26; Hisvaaduyos, loc. cit.
. Hisvaaduyos 5748, Vol. 4, p. 346.
. Tehillim 24:1.
. See Likkutei Sichos, Vol. 25, p. 309ff., and the sources cited there.
. Zechariah 1