Q. See question 2904 on birthday celebrations above. If one is allowed to, what would be a proper way of celebrating a birthday?
A. Different traditions and customs are mentioned for those who do celebrate birthdays. Some Gedolim would make a siyum on their birthday (Ohr Yisroel p. 187), while others would donate extensively to tzedaka (Horav Chaim P’lagi zt’l, Tzedaka L’chaim). Some recited Shehecheyanu on a new fruit (Ginzei Yosef), others saw to receive an Aliyah LaTorah, while some would daven before the amud (Divrei Yechezkel Shraga ).
Imrei Yosef of Spinka instructed his son the Chakal Yitzchok (quoted on the introduction to that sefer) to begin on his birthday a new Hanhagah Tova or new and elevated tradition on Avodas Hashem, while Hilel Omer (O.H. 139) recommended intensifying the learning of Torah with a new shiur. Toras Menachem and Sefer Hasichos on Minhagei Yom Huledes, quotes a similar tradition of the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt’l.
Ba’al Hatanya is quoted as recommending the recitation of a chapter of Tehilim that echoes the years being commemorated. (Minhagei Yisroel p. 189). Other Chasidim would attend to their Rebbe and ask for a blessing. (ibid.).
Horav Shlomo Miller revealed that he delivers a shiur on the day of his birthday (during Sukos). The Rov recommends that if a birthday is going to be celebrated for children and others, it should be by encouraging and strengthening the ties and dedication to Torah and mitzvos, as well as for thanking Hashem for the gift of past and future life
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as advised by Horav Shlomo Miller and Horav Aharon Miller Shlit’a