Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Today is my birthday. I generally do not write here about personal matters but Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Jacobson explained to me last night why it is worthwhile to publicize our birthdays:
"The Lubavitcher Rebbe initiated 'Operation Birthday' for our generation. It was important to him that people celebrate their birthdays by spreading the word with great joy. He also wrote about what we should accustom ourselves to do on our birthdays: give tzedakah, pray with greater intent, recite Psalms, make a good deeds resolution, however small, but keep it stringently, and more.
Why did the Rebbe insist we make a big deal out of our birthdays? In my opinion, one of the major challenges of our era is to discover why we are here. When we succeed in rejoicing over the day that we were sent into this world, we appreciate that we were created because of divine faith in us and in our abilities, and that this faith is renewed from year to year.
There are people today who think they are nothing, and this is simply horrible. People endure painful circumstances and may become trapped in a web of confusion where even abundance does not bring them joy.
Celebrating your birthday conveys an important message for these times: You are celebrating the fact that the Holy One blessed be He, believes in you. He rejoices in your life and in your good deeds in this world. This day is a reminder that, no matter what, infinite potential and infinite light exists within you".
Wow. Thank you Rabbi Jacobson for the meaning you have given to our birthdays. And mazal tov to you all on the day you were sent to light up the world.