No matter what temper tantrum or adolescent rebellion marked the week that is past, we take a moment to place our hands on our children’s heads and to offer them words of pure love.
We offer blessings taken from Jacob's blessing to his grandsons, Ephraim and Menashe, who are the first pair of siblings in the Bible who love each other rather than fight each other. We invoke the memory of our four matriarchs — Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah. And we close with the Priestly Blessing that we offer to children of all genders.
Place your hands on the head of the person you are blessing. Offer your blessing either aloud or silently. In addition to the traditional words, you may also wish to tell your child something that made you proud of them from the past week. Seal it with a kiss.
Traditionally for sons:
יְשִֹימְךָ אֱלֹהִים כְּאֶפְרַיִם וְכִמְנַשֶה
Yesimkha Elohim k’Efrayim vekhi’Menasheh.
May God bless you like Ephraim and Menasheh.
Traditionally for daughters:
יְשִֹימֵךְ אֱלֹהִים כְּשָֹרָה רִבְקָה רָחֵל וְלֵאָה
Yesimeikh Elohim k’Sarah Rivka Rakhel v’Leah.
May God bless you like Sara, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah.
For children of all genders:
יְבָרֶכְךָ יי וְיִשְמְרֶךָ יָאֵר יי פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶךָ יִשָא יי פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵֹם לְךָ שָלוֹם
Y’varekhekha Adonai v’yishmerekha
Ya-er Adonai panav elekha vihuneka
Yisa Adonai panav elekha, v’ yasem l’kha shalom.
May Adonai bless you and watch over you.
May Adonai’s light shine on you and be gracious to you.
May Adonai smile on you and grant you peace.
Adapted from AJU Miller Intro to Judaism: https://customandcraft.org/clip/shabbat-blessing-children
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