What Makes a Happy Birthday?

January 7, 2016


I started this piece several times, often in my head in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. It’s always hard to follow up a successful blog post, and last week’s post got lots of views and shares. It feels good to be popular, even though I know this blog is about the power of one. (To help remind me of this, every Thursday, before I publish my post, I write to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, asking for his assistance in helping my words to affect the “right person or people to bring Moshiach NOW.”)

Ordinarily, I would make my best effort but be prepared for a let-down. But today is no ordinary day. I was anxious about my ability to maximize its power.

Because the most auspicious time for a person to be spiritually strengthened is on a Jewish birthday, and today, at sundown, starts mine. Some might even call this birthday a big one: my sixtieth.  It’s even in a hakhel year, a year when all Jews are especially blessed to “get it together” to accomplish spiritual goals.

So how do I create a blogbuster?

I dismissed writing about aging. Everyone’s heard everything about what doesn’t work as well anymore. The jokes conceal the truth that there’s nothing funny about getting old. By some Jewish accounts, it’s even a sin; the last thing G-d wants is for us to become set in our ways, unwilling to experience His newness every day. To the extent that He blesses us with control over our outlook on life, it’s a mitzvah to choose a young perspective. Since birthdays are meant to be a time of making hachlatas, good resolutions, I can commit to that one for starters.

I want to take full advantage of the day, because a birthday is a day when mazalo gover, the spiritual source of one’s soul shines with power to help that person fulfill his or her mission in this world. What makes a birthday even more empowering is the fact that this mazal has no connection to the forces of nature, but instead stems from G-d’s supernal treasure chest, the place where Jewish souls originate. (In case you wonder why we Jews have miraculously survived against all odds throughout the millennia, this is the reason; our souls aren’t rooted in the natural world.)

The fact that I have even a trickle of understanding of any of this is because of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Now,  at my 60-year milestone, I appreciate how my connection to Chabad was meant to be. It’s not just that I was born weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and there are 613 mitzvahs in the Torah. It’s that the underpinnings of my soul, for as long as I can remember, longed for truth and meaning in the world. I didn’t know his name as a child, but I longed for Moshiach.

The same Rebbe who taught me about Moshiach and taught me that Moshiach is ready to come now, also taught me that my Jewish birthday is my most powerful moment to make Moshiach’s presence felt, within myself and within my sphere of influence.

So I’ll ask you for a birthday present. (If I’ve learned one thing over the years, it’s that you can’t be afraid to ask.) First, if you know someone who might be interested in learning more about Moshiach, or Jewish birthdays, or staying young, please share this post. But I want to ask you for something more. If you’re at all inclined to ask G-d to fix this broken world by sending Moshiach, please do that.

Thank you for reading, for pondering, and for sharing, especially when you don’t feel like it. May you be blessed with revealed good in all ways, always.




  1. Reply


    Happy Birthday Lieba.
    May your blessings be many on this special birthday,
    and that we should be blessed to see the coming of Moshiach in our time.
    <3 shells

  2. Reply


    AMAZING…u r clever every week…I don’t know how u do it…I want to look as young as u at 60, IY”H! Only revealed Brachos until 120…I will definitely share. Have a great birthday, Shabbos and all ur days may it be with Moshiach immediately!

    1. Reply

      Lieba Rudolph

      You are very kind and generous, Ali. Please G-d, you will be blessed with joy and success in all you do!

  3. Reply


    You are an inspiration. Happy Happy Birthday, Lieba. May you continue to write and affect the blog-sphere, the the world, in good health with lots of happiness and youthful renewal. Each day, and every year until 120 and beyond.

    1. Reply

      Lieba Rudolph

      Amen, Ahuva…thanks for writing and for your encouragement. May we always have nachas together!

  4. Reply

    Helene Wishnev

    May the joy and happiness radiating from the beautiful faces in your family photo always surround you, and may you continue to be blessed with revealed good till 120 with Moschiach!. Happy Birthday Leiba!!!

    P.S. What did we just celebrate with you a few weeks ago – not that I’m complaining – just wondering?

    1. Reply

      Lieba Rudolph

      Amen, amen, Helene!! (I wanted to have a Teves gathering in Pittsburgh because I knew I would be away for my actual birthday.)

  5. Reply

    Helen Schwimmer

    What a profoundly beautiful photo! I remember your young kinderlach when Molly and I visited your home in 2002. May this be a year of blessings for you and your family and klal Yisroel
    Happy Birthday and Good Shabbos,

    1. Reply

      Lieba Rudolph

      Amen, Chayaminna! May we celebrate the true and ultimate joy together with Moshiach immediately!

  6. Reply


    Happy Birthday! Thank you for continuing to inspire us.
    Wishing you an abundance of blessings, on this special birthday and always.

    1. Reply

      Lieba Rudolph

      Amen, Leah. Thank you for your beautiful words!

  7. Reply


    Lieba, wishing you a belated happy birthday and a year filled with an abundance of brachos and revealed good only. May Hashem continue to give you the strength and ability to inspire and touch others through your writing and your example, and may this year be the one when we merit Moshiach’s coming!

  8. Reply

    Lieba Rudolph

    Amen, amen. Thank you for your beautiful words, Chani…may we have nachas together with Moshiach NOW!

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