Tuesday, April 14, 2015


It’s a Boy!

​by Reb Gutman Locks

It's a Boy!


     Mazal tov, Mazal tov - It's a boy. A young man who lives in the Rova (Quarter) has two very young daughters, and just now his wife gave birth to a boy. Having only daughters, I would tease him saying that apparently he was destined to have many daughters but no sons. We were all pleasantly surprised to see him run up to the minyan this morning proudly announcing that his wife had just given birth to a boy.

     Why is it that having a baby boy seems to be somewhat more of a celebration than having a baby girl? The Jewish answer is that boys can do more mitzvahs than girls.

     All Jews, both male and female, are obligated to guard all of the, "you shall not do" mitzvahs. And the males are obligated to keep all of the, "you shall do" mitzvahs. But the females are obligated to keep only the "you shall do mitzvahs" that are not time bound.

     For instance, males are obligated to put on tefillin every day. Tefillin are a "you shall do" mitzvah. But since tefillin are specifically worn in the daytime and not at night, they are considered to be a time bound mitzvah and females are excused from putting them on. The usual reasoning behind their exemption is that women have to be free to take care of the children which takes precedence even to fulfilling a time bound mitzvah.

     So is that any reason to welcome baby boys more than baby girls? For the Jews whose lives are so involved with the Torah the answer is definitely, "yes".

     But there is another more practical reason why historically even secular families seem to welcome boy babies even more than girl babies.

     When a girl grows up the hope is that she will marry and go off and make a family with her new husband.

     When a boy grows up the hope is that he too will marry and make a family, but not that he will go off with his family. The hope is that someday the sons will take over the family business.

     The practical result is that with sons there is at least some dream that when mommy and daddy grow old and can no longer support themselves, their sons will provide for their needs. Obviously, it doesn't always work this way, but few parents, religious or not, expect their daughters will support them in their old age while the parents of sons dream that they will.

     Obviously, both girl and boy babies are wonderfully welcomed into the family, especially into a Jewish family at a time when our numbers are dwindling. 


  1. This is such a misguided and unhelpful post that it is hard to know where to begin. I really hope that you take it down as it does a severe disservice to Judaism on account of your inaccurate portrayal. I am a religious Jewish woman, modestly dressed and behaved, and have never come across such nonsense. Would you dare say to any of gedolei yisrael that their wives or mothers were worth less than them? Because that is not what the Lubavitcher Rebbe said of his wife, nor gadol hador Rav Chaim Kanievski shlita said of his rebbetzin. Rav Wosner zt"l mother sacrificed everything for his gadlut, a woman's profound love of Torah was the inspiration for the daf yomi, and the list goes on ... Rabbi Akiva: "Sheli veshelachem shela hu".

    And the greatness of the Jewish woman is davka that she is willing not to have the greater reward.

    You should read Nefesh Chaya by Rabbi Shimshon Dovid Pincus zatsal to understand the essence of a Jewish woman, her purpose and importance.

    In the meantime I feel sorry for the women in your life.

  2. To Anon #1: Reb Gutman was joking. Where is your sense of humor? This site is not only informative but very interesting. BTW, Mazel Tov to that young man, !his wife and family on the birth of his son. Ken yirbu!

  3. As an Orthodox woman and Rebbetzin, I was deeply offended by this post. I usually love your posts and believe you're all about making a Kiddush Hashem. This post, however, was a Chillul Hashem. Inaccurate, offensive and not worthy of your work in the world. It also gives me pause to think you actually believe this. If you were joking, it wasn't at all clear. If you actually believe this, please let us know so I can stop reading your posts.

  4. The practical is usually the opposite, it's usually (at least in my experience) daughters that take care of parents in old age.

    However, both in Judaism and in general culture it's held that "the son's inherit".

    So from a practical standpoint, daughters should be welcomed more as those likely to be caregivers in old age. Yet sons "continue the family name" - both in general society and in religious Jewish society.

    Orthodox Rebbetzin (and I'm not Reb Gutman), I don't know what you are upset about or how the article is inaccurate. Please explain.

  5. Does Reb Gutman honestly believe, practicably speaking, that it is just because Jewish males have more mitzvahs that there is more ceremony for a Jewish baby boy than for a girl? Far more likely because they will likely hold more power, more choices, inheritance, honour etc in life, and that 'he will rule over her'. Regardless of 'flowery' and illogical apologetics, women are generally looked down upon, or at least overlooked. Examples: Who has not made me a woman morning blessing, the fact that in olden times, a man was allowed more than one wife, agunah problems till now, etc. So equality isn't exactly the name of the game. Women could do without the snide (only joking?) remarks I feel.


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