Mazal tov? Reflections on Hitting Forty

Mazal tov? Reflections on Hitting Forty

The big FOUR ZERO.

Friday was my 40th birthday. And tonight, right after Shabbat ended, we had our family party.

The party was lots of fun. There were fantastic presents, and great food and an awesome cake. But despite all this fun, for the beginning of the party I was still feeling a bit pensive about reaching this somewhat troubling milestone in my life…

On the one hand I feel sort of psyched about being 40. “Ben Arbaim l’Bina…” The Sages teach that I have now reached the age of wisdom and expanded understanding. And those are two things that I want very, very much.

On the other hand, I feel sort of nervous…my days are passing by, and my years are passing by. IY”H, at my next big birthday, the big FIVE ZERO, I could easily be a grandmother. A grandmother?! My life is rushing past like a river’s white rapids.

But what I realized at the great party my family made for me was this…

I have some nice things to show for these forty years. Various accomplishments that I have under my belt. I finished a BA. I finished an MA. I published one book. And then I published another. I even have a popular website for Jewish mothers (maybe you’ve heard of it?)

But there is only one accomplishment that enables me to feel totally calm and even happy about reaching this milestone. That enables me to look back on these 40 years and feel completely proud about how I’ve spent them…

That accomplishment is the fact that I had children and a husband I love so much with whom to share my berry cheesecake tonight.

Thank You, God, for this family.

Thank You, God, for this life and the loved ones who fill it.

Image courtesy of users Steve and Jem Copley


  1. Mazal tov to you! Ad mayeh v’erim with blessings of nachas, health and happiness. You have certainly made these first 40 count and i am sure you will continue to live a wonderful productive meaningful life!!

  2. I am approaching 40 in a couple months and feeling apprehensive myself, so truly enjoyed reading this! Ad Meah V’Esrim!

  3. mazel tov!

  4. Elana MIzrahi


    MAZEL TOV!!! AD 120, you should only have naches from your family and you should give naches to HaBore Olam ad 120.

    You, your husband, and children should continue to transmit Torah and illuminate the world with light and maasim tovim. I bless you with health, simcha, parnassa, yashuv dat, shalom, and clarity.



  5. you gave mention to the difference between how western society and Judaism look at a person’s lifetime. Western society looks at the tangible accomplishments – academic degrees, career, etc. Judaism tells you what tools you have at different ages – Bina, Gevurot (80), etc. I find that I like that more because there is no tangible way of feeling 40 (and how we perceive our age and accomplishments is totally subjective), but rather, it reminds me what abilities Hashem has given me with the passage of time and what I can do with it.
    And, as you did, recognizing all the brachot you’ve gotten from Above.

  6. Ad mea veesrim and happy birthday!! and keep cheering up all those jewish moms !! and see you in ten years for jewish grand mom website!!!
    we’ll follow you…

  7. Mazal tov! May you continue to enjoy good health, parnasa, mazal, nachas and menuchas hanefesh (hard to come by these days) and keep on inspiring those around you. I became a grandmother at 42 having married young, had a girl first, and she married young as well. My youngest is turning 15 – and I am facing up to the challenge of turning 60 this coming year. My goal is to approach this milestone with simcha rather than trepidation or depression! I am currently teaching 3-4 year olds and it keeps me young!

  8. Rachel Shifra

    Happy Birthday!

  9. I just knew you were a fellow capricorn…strong accomplished yet always striving for more…sensitive ++…and ep roots in the ground no matter how windy it gets…anyways happy bday!

  10. May the next 40+ years be even more wonderful than the first installment. Mazel Tov, and may the binah you’re now absorbing from on high continue to be transmitted to the rest of us!

  11. Jenny, you mentioned some “measurable” accomplishments. If someone could show you all the small accomplishments you made each day (managing to stay calm with the children, cleaning even a small portion of the house so it feel homey and comfortable, saying a compliment to someone and making them feel appreciated, and much more)
    – you’d feel like a giant.
    mazal tov.

  12. Mazal Tov Chana! I’ve been following your writing since you published the manuscript of your first book and I was pregnant with my bachor, and I am so grateful for your contributions to all of us Jewish mommies out here in the world! May Hashem continue to bless with you the koach and clarity to continue to reach higher heights,and fulfill your mission in this world! 40-something is GREAT, personally speaking!

  13. You’ve got it right on – investing in our families is the most significant thing we have done with our lives.
    And don’t fret about being 40. Just relax and the changes within you will come about. Take it from somebody who hit 50. I’m still revelling in the perspectives that change, and the constant oppportunities I have for growth.

  14. mazel tov! now that you’ve hit the “age of binah (wisdom)” you will really start to enjoy the depths of your daily experiences….

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