Saturday, August 8, 2009

Spit in the Baby’s Eye?

I went to sit outside today, and my neighbor shows up by her door with her 3 week old baby, I hadn’t seen him yet, so she invites me into come and chat and see the baby. So I come in, and I commented on his blue eyes, and the mother said that all babies start off with blue eyes, so that was interesting to learn.

But then her parents were over to help out, and her father asks her husband if he spat in the babies eye yet. The babies mother and her husband look at her father as though he came from the moon. Then he said, it’s from the gemara, from bava basra, that the Bechar shows he’s a bechar by spitting into babies eyes, that the people would bring their babies to the bechar. So the mother of the baby tells her husband he has to spit in the babies eye cause it says that in the gemarah, to listen to her father. So then he says he doesn’t understand. I mean come on!

So then her father says, just like you go to the Rebbe for advice and you listen to him, same thing you should listen to the Gemara. Meanwhile, I was sitting on the couch next to the baby and the babies mother. So I saw he was actually going to do it because his father in law and wife were telling him too. So I got up from the couch and didn’t want to look. So he went over, I’m not sure if he actually spat on the eye, or if the eye was closed. It seemed pretty barbaric to me.

Has anyone else heard of this?

Meanwhile this is the couple that shows their affection in an interesting manner. So the baby has congestion and was breathing with noise from his nose. So then her father says that she should take medicine for her high blood pressure, and she said she can’t because she’s nursing. So then she jokes that when she dies her husband will marry someone who will be able to nurse the baby without a problem. Then her father says that when he remarries he should get a wet nurse or something.

I just couldn’t believe the way they were joking. To joke about death, and him remarrying, it was just crazy. Especially because she has a tumor, and their always fighting making it seem like they would divorce each other. I just don’t get it.

To add on to the confusing/Surprising day, my brother comes home from shul telling me that the guy who did the kidney trafficking is the father of someone I had known. His grand child had been in my sister’s class a long time ago, and then the kid’s mother decided to remarry to a guy from Mexico and she moved there, so I’ve never seen them again.


Auror said...

Huh I never in my life heard of this! What's a bechar, you mean like a bechor (oldest)? And if that's the case, does this custom apply if the husband is the oldest or if the son is the oldest?

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

yea, I meant Bechor, sorry wasn't sure how to spell it.
He said it applies if the husband is a Bechor, not if the son, cause this was their 3rd baby, so the baby wasn't the oldest.
I tried to google it, but I couldn't find anything, so I guess I would have to check the gemara, or ask someone that learns it.

Auror said...

Wow so the bechor gets to spit only in his sons' eyes right, not other
people's babies...? And is there like a 'taam haminhag' given (reason for
the custom)?

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

I'm not sure if it's only sons, could be daughters too, cause the father in law said this his grandfather did it on all the grand children. But it's strange he didn't mention anything about the first 2 kids. I guess he had assumed they knew about it.

It's really strange, he said it had to do with proving that it's a bechor. I have no clue. I asked my father about it, and he said he never heard of it, and that times change.

He made it sound like it's a Halacha from the Gemara and not a custom! lol

Guest said...

First of all, it's bech"o"r, (not "ar") according to all pronounciations.

So, yeah, like I said, there is an unending plethora of superstitious instructions in the Talmud. No rabbi says we should still follow them today. If one would it would prove to be quite difficult anyway...

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

yea, sorry, Auror corrected me on that too.

Yea, so that's what I thought that we don't have to follow it.

Thanks for looking it up again.

lomo said...

Source: Bava Batra 126b, almost as a direct comment on the Mishna.

frum single female said...

i think that it would be hard to joke with a spouse about death especially when one of the couple has a serious health problem. however sometimes people need to use humor to deal with things, so this might be why the couple was doing this even though they seemed serious.

%Shocked% said...

Woops. That last comment was me. Didn't realize that I had to change the Guest to my screenname. I thought it would do it for me.  

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

That sounds like a good explanation. I would feel better if they were truly joking about it.

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

No problem, I've noticed a lot of people using "guest" by mistake.

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

(Sorry for the multiple comments, trying to get it right)

<span style="">Just copying and pasting from "lomo":
"It mentions that Rabbi Hanina knew that a child was the firstborn of the father and not the mother because the childs father told people who suffered from eye pains to get some of his sons saliva for treatment, and "we learnt" that the saliva of a man's <span></span><span>firstborn (son) has healing properties and not that of the mother's firstborn. (In the ancient near east saliva was also seen as having healing powers in general, especially for the eyes)."</span>
"it's only if someones eyes are hurting them (for some reason "eye-aches" seem much more common in the Talmud) or something. If the baby is fine there's not as much of a reason to be spitting on him. ..and like I said, Moroccans do a sort of "mock" spit, since actually spitting would be pretty wierd (also, the Talmud says that someone who spits in another's face looses his share in 'olam haba')"</span>

FrumCurious said...

Hey babysitter -

I can kind of see why they joke like that, it probably IS their way of dealing with her health condition. I use humor to get through hard things at times where you can't seem to smile for any other reason.

So heck, at least they're dealing with it.

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

Yea, I guess humor can be a healthy way of dealing with issues.
The reason why it bothered me though, was that it didn't sound like they were joking. I guess it's just not my style. But knowing that others use this method too, I can better understand.

Moshe said...

If I'd be the father, I'd offer to spit in father-in-law's eye first to see if he likes it.
The idiot father-in-law should open the gemara and try out some of the recipes on himself first.

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

oy vey, lol.

I guess that's what happens when something is passed down, without being looked up first.

Moshe said...

"Why are you doing it?"
"My father did it!  Said it's from gemera!"
Except neigher of them know from where and in what context.

lvnsm27 said...

I've never heard of this one before.  I think I saw a comment on FB that they don't really spit or something.  I don't know.

 The couple's humor is kindof weird.  maybe they were trying to lighten the mood, or maybe their humor is just diff.   

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

yea, I copied and pasted the FB comment earlier.

yea, I think their humor is just weird.

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