“A Child’s Blessing on Shabbat”
by Rabbi Darcie Crystal, Young Family Rabbi
Perhaps my favorite moments of the week are the ones each Friday night
when my husband and I place our hands on our children’s heads one by
one and bless them.
Our seven and five year-old son and daughter look forward to that moment, and after the hectic schedules and constant noise of the week, somehow the house gets very quiet. Even our 19 month-old son gets very still and leans his head toward us, waiting for his turn. In Hebrew, we recite the traditional blessing for a son:
“May God inspire you to live in the tradition of Ephraim and
And for a daughter: “May God inspire you to live in the
tradition of Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.”
These lines are
followed by the ancient Priestly benediction from the book of
Leviticus: “May God bless you and keep you. May the light of God’s
presence shine upon you and be gracious to you. May God’s presence
turn toward you and grant you shalom, wholeness and peace.”
The kids don’t know exactly what the words mean, but they do know that
this ritual is something important, something that generations of our
people have done before us, something that reminds them that they are
proud to be Jewish, and something that means we love them.
Even if you do nothing else to mark the arrival of Shabbat, I would
encourage you to try out this ritual. It’s quick, it’s meaningful,
and your children will grow to love that quiet moment of intimacy…even
when they are teenagers…and beyond. Say the words in Hebrew or in
English. Or make up your own blessing. I bet, before long, this will
be your favorite moment of the week too!