As expectant women approach their due dates, a variety of emotions tend to surface. Some women are filled with excitement, anxiously anticipating the day that they will meet their baby face to face. Others get the jitters, nervous about the upcoming hours of labor. All women pray to G-d for a healthy baby. Many Jewish women would be thrilled to know that there is one special prayer that has been customary for centuries in our tradition to safeguard both the mother and the baby. This prayer is the Shir Hamalot (Song of Ascents, Psalms: 121). The verses of this psalm declare our dependence upon the Creator for our safety and wellbeing and His commitment to guard us at all times.
These holy words contain the power to protect the mother and baby throughout the birthing process and the recovery period that follows. That is why it is so imperative that, as an expectant mother packs up her overnight bag with all of the items she plans to take to the hospital, she not forget the Shir Hamalot. Just having this prayer by her side throughout the delivery provides that extra dose of protection that any woman in labor would welcome!
Once the baby is born, it is customary to place the Shir Hamalot on the baby's cradle; this is a great way to safeguard your new little bundle. It is also the custom to hang the Shir Hamalot in the doorways of your home, especially in the doorway of the baby's room, before entering with the baby. It is important to realize that everything that surrounds a newborn has a spiritual effect. The Torah teaches us that what a baby sees and hears, even during the first day of life, will have an influence on the child for many years to come. Jewish parents are encouraged to expose their children to holy images as soon as they are born. The Shir Hamalot is a wonderful way to begin.
If you are expecting a child or know someone who is, Chabad of Nashville is offering a free, beautiful, full-color Shir Hamalot prayer card for any family in Middle Tennessee that requests one. They come in slightly different colors for boys and girls, designed with gorgeous artwork in pastel pink and baby blue. There is no greater gift to give yourself or your loved one at this precious time. To receive your free Shir Hamalot blessing card, kindly email email@example.com or call 615-646-5750