Establishing a "Jewish calendar" was the first mitzvah (commandment) the Jewish nation received from God. This unique calendar is based on the lunar month, but is occasionally adjusted so that it remains synchronized with the solar year and its seasons.
Thus from year to year, a date on the Jewish calendar will fluctuate with respect to other calendar systems, but will always remain in close proximity to its corresponding date on the commonly used Gregorian (solarobased) calendar. For example, if your civil birthday is on June 15th, your Jewish birthday will always be within a few weeks of that date. Click here to determine when your Jewish birthday will fall on any given year.
Your Jewish birthday has dual significance: a) According to Jewish tradition, your mazal (good fortune) is dominant on your birthday. b) As a nation we celebrate those dates when special events that affected our destiny occurred, a.k.a. holidays. As individuals we celebrate those dates that have personal significance--and what is more significant than your birth? It is when the Creator said, "Here, I am giving you a body, a soul, and a divine mission. I have absolute trust in your ability to pull through for Me."
In 1988, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, inaugurated a "Jewish Birthday Campaign." He asked that we all utilize this most special day of our lives to its utmost. A day to recommit to the mission that God entrusted to us--bettering and sanctifying ourselves and the world around us.
What's so special about your Jewish birthday?
First and foremost, a birthday is a day to feel grateful. It's a day for parents to be grateful to God for the precious gift He granted them. A day for the Jewish nation to be grateful for the addition of a new member of the nationofamily. And, of course, it is a day for the birthday celebrant to express gratitude to God for the gift of life.
This is the day when you were given the mandate to change the world. The day when God entrusted you with the mission to challenge a world that is hostile to spirituality and transform it into God's private sanctum. And in accomplishing this goal, you, too, were given the ability to achieve incredible spiritual heights--heights unimaginable to the soul before it was dispatched from its lofty heavenly abode to inhabit a physical body.
Celebrating a birthday is thus also a demonstration of confidence. Confidence that you are and will continue to be worthy of God's trust. No matter the obstacles, you will persevere and live up to God's expectations of you.
This day takes on additional significance if you are above the age of bar or bat mitzvah. The word "mitzvah" means commandments, but is also related to the word "tzaveta," which means "connection." Fulfilling G?d's commandments is the vehicle through which we connect to God. Until bar and bat mitzvah, mitzvot are primarily an educational experience--the commandment element kicking in upon adulthood. That means greater responsibility, but an infinitely greater connection, too. Your birthday is also the anniversary of that momentous occasion. Another reason to be grateful...
Time is like a spiral. Annually, on the anniversary of any momentous event, we have the ability to tap into the same spiritual energy that originally caused that event (hence the concept of Jewish holidays).
When you were born, God invested within you a soul abounding with talents and qualities. Your mazel was shining and at full strength. That same energy is present once again every year on the anniversary of that date. On this day you have the ability to accomplish that which would perhaps be very difficult on another day.
Rosh Hashanah is so special because it is the birthday of humankind--it is the day when Adam and Eve were created. Your birthday is your personal Rosh Hashanah--utilize it to its utmost!