11 Shebat 5771 – Jan. 16, 2011. – Perashat Yitro
Shi’ur on Moroccan Minhagim by Rosh Kollel e”h Ribi Mordekhai Lebhar s”t at Yismah Moshé in Toronto Monday nights at 8:45:
* NEW 10. Tu BiShbat in Morocco
70) In some places, when saying “mearba’ kanfot ha-ares,” they would take all foursisiot and throw them once over the right shoulder and then the left shoulder, and then continue on. This is according to the Qabala and is also the custom of Yeshibat Bet El. This is the custom of some elders until today. See Kaf haHayim (Orah Hayim Siman 5:7).
71) When saying the pasuq Shema’ Yisrael, one covers his eyes by placing the thumb and pinkie of his right hand over his eyes and fully outstretching the other three fingers so that they touch his forehead, and after this we kiss our fingers. This is so that we form the name of Hashem, Sha-dai, the three fingers on the forehead create the Shin, the space between the thumb and the index finger creates the Dalet, and the pinkie finger on its own created a Yud. See Keter Shem Tob (Siman 75, pg. 48) and Osar Ta’amé Haminhagim pg. 54.
Customs of Pregnancy
9) When a woman is waiting to give birth, her family members stand together and pray that Hashem should be lenient and reduce her pain and give her a healthy life and peace. Along these same lines, some have the custom to say Tehilim 20 “Ya’ankha Ado-nai beyom sara…” and the piyut ” ‘Et Sha’aré Rason…”. Some also say and repeat the pasuq (Shemot 11:8) “Veyaredu khol ‘abadekha elé elai, vehishtahavu li lemor, sé ata vekhol ha’am asher beraghlekha, ve-aharé khen esé, vayesé me’im par’o bahori af.” We pray together with the family because the prayers of the multitudes do not go unanswered. As well, the mizmor “Ya’ankha Ado-nai” is lofty and exhalted and contains nine stanzas, mirroring the nine months of pregnancy. See Yahadut Morocco (Nashim), Nahagu Ha’ampg. 439, Bayit Hayehudi (Heleq 10, Siman 20), Ta’amé Haminhagim pg. 567. The source for the mizmor Ya’ankha… is from the Tiquné Hazohar (Tiqun 22, pg. 354).
13) After the midwife cuts the umbilical cord, she puts a grain of sugar on the mouth of the newborn and says to him “timtaq hatora befikha, kasukar hamatoq hazé” – ” the Tora shall be sweet on your mouth as this sweet sugar.” This is according to what Hazal say in Masekhet Keritut 6 and in the Shulhan ‘Arukh (O”H Siman 583:1), that since on Rosh haShana we eat sweet things for simana taba (a good sign), all the more so when one comes out of the womb of his mother there is no greater siman tob than this. See Yahadut Morocco (Nashim).