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Section: Halacha   Category: Tshuvos
Be'er Moshe: Baby Looking in Mirror, Walking Over Children, and Red Strings - Old Wives Tales or Real Minhag?

Rav Moshe Stern zt"l (Be'er Moshe 8:36) was asked regarding the validity of three minhagim pertaining to children.
1. Not to let a baby looks at itself in a mirror before its teeth start to come out because the teeth may not come out on time and its speech development may be delayed.
2. Not to walk over children because it may stunt their growth. If one walks over a child he should make sure to walk back over again.
3. Tie a red string on a baby carriage and/or crib to ward off Ayin Hara.

He says they are all valid minhagim that were practiced in his home, and people in general were careful about them. He quotes a Rashba that says that you should not cheapen or be "Mizalzel"  Minhag Nashim Zekeinos (old wives tales) since they are certainly rooted in holy ideas, even if we have forgotten the reason for them.

RELATED ARTICLES:children  Debriciner Rov  halacha  minhag  Minhag Nashim Zekeinos  red string

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Visitor Comments: 5

jm, 2008-02-14 06:15:45
where is this rashba please for my own notes thank you
Anonymous, 2008-02-16 15:11:05
You can see it quoted in the Beer Moshe 8:36. Unfortunatley he doesn't give a Mareh Makom. Revach
TF, Lakewood, 2010-02-15 12:43:22
I asked my rosh yeshiva, R' Shmuel Kaminetzky, shlit"a, just over a month ago about the red string and mirror in regards to our new baby. He said not to worry about either,as they are bubba ma'ases. (Though he did add to put on the red string around relatives who felt strongly about it, so as not to make them upset).
Anonymous, 2010-02-15 23:11:59
His comments have ramifications for the Kabbalah red strings now popularized by the apikorishe Kabbalah Centre. He says that he saw these strings being used by his father's house, and he views these minhagim, like the Rashba, as being founded upon the hills of sanctity. However, he does not cite a specific makor for this practice. I wonder, how heviews this Rashba in light of the Tosefta (Shabbat 7:1) which prohibits tying a red string around the finger because of "Darchei Emori."
aw, Monsey, 2010-02-17 13:23:07
1. A mirror might confuse a baby
2. One might fall and injure the baby. (Thus retreating over the baby would be contraindicated.)
3. Tosefta Shabbos 8, 4. It is darchai emori and ossur.

The Rambam, Chovos Halvovos, and others, disagree with the Rashba and advise one to follow the dictates of reason in areas that are not revealed by Hashem.

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