The Blessings That are Made on the Birth of a Son or Daughter (part I)
According to the Gemorah (Brachos 59b), the blessing “hatov
vehamativ” is made when a boy is born. Nevertheless, many communities do
not recite the blessing because of the uncertainty that the child will survive.
Today, medical examination can generally establish the viability of the newborn,
even when it is born prematurely and placed in an incubator. So, now, the blessing
can be recited even in those communities which, in the past, omitted it. According
to the Ben Ish Chai, a person who does not recite the blessing should have the
birth of his child in mind when reciting “hatov vehamativ” in the blessing
The blessing “hatov vehamativ” is recited even when a son is born
to a person who already has several sons, for the birth of a son was desired
by both parents. The Mishnah Brurah considers the possibility that when a son
is born to parents who already have sons and were looking forward to having
a daughter, the blessing should not be recited. He does not resolve the issue,
and the poskim authorize the blessing without qualification.
Most people don’t realize that the blessing “hatov vehamativ” should
be recited by the mother as well as by the father. The mother can fulfill her
obligation to recite the blessing when the father recites the blessing if both
have her obligation in mind.
The father recites the blessing even if he is in another city and has not
seen his newborn son. Nevertheless, if he will have an opportunity to see the
child, he can wait and recite the blessing when he sees him.