What is the origin of the practice of giving “pesicho” (the honor of opening the Ark) to the husband whose wife is expecting a baby?

  • I recall it is a Chida, but don't know a source.
    – YDK
    Aug 21 '11 at 3:29
  • It's supposed to be a segulah to have children, but public segulot in some places are only given to people who the outcome is virtually certain. Other places I have seen give 'p'ticha' to childless husbands who hope to one day have children.
    – avi
    Aug 21 '11 at 7:44
  • For those that will have difficlty understanding (I had to re-read this several times), the reference is to "p'ticha"....
    – AviD
    Aug 25 '11 at 8:44
  • I remember once hearing that the removal of the Torah from the Ark is supposed to parallel removing the fetus from the womb. I have absolutely no source to support this.
    – Double AA
    Jul 8 '12 at 5:20

In the back of the Chumash Shai LeMorah, a list and hierarchy of the the people who are obligated to receive an Aliyah to the Torah. He adds parenthetically as follows:

It is written in the Sefer Avodat Hakodesh of the Chida Z"l that there is a custom in Eretz Yisroel that someone whose wife enters her 9th month of pregnancy should be careful to do the Mitzvah of Opening the Ark. This is a nice custom and has Kabbalistic support.

Here is a link to the Chida (Mareh B'Etzbah 3:90).

"Pesicha During Pregnancy", by Rabbi Yossi Braun, extensively covers this topic and brings many places that discuss it. (Thanks to Uri Cohen for the updated link.)

  • 2
    I just want to point out, that the Chida is not the origin of the custom. The Chida is reporting a custom that exists in Israel during his time.
    – avi
    Aug 22 '11 at 8:01

From an article "Pesicha During Pregnancy", by Rabbi Yossi Braun:

The Birchas Ephraim 60 (This is a pamphlet that is printed as an addendum to Pischei Sh'earim, Talmudic novellae by Rabbi Yisachar of Tchenstechow - Bilgurei 5660). says as follows: "My children, do not forget to introduce the tradition from our master, the Rashba, in whose name I have found recorded, that one should accustom himself that when his wife is pregnant he take the honor of opening the ark from the seventh month onwards during the recitation of the liturgical poem An'im zemiros. At this stage he should recite a prayer in accordance with what G-d will place in his mouth".

Based on this the custom dates back to the 13th century - although it is only mentioned for Anim Zemiros.

  • Is this your source? If so, you should cite it.
    – Isaac Moses
    Aug 22 '11 at 17:15
  • I am citing it, although I have copied it from a Parsha sheet that a local individual gives out in my town. Aug 22 '11 at 17:49

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