Tradition & Innovation

Blessing One's Parents

son hugging tightly sister and mother
As a child, my parents could do no wrong. As an adolescent, my parents could do no right. Now, as a parent myself, I finally understand why a primary metaphor for the complicated and changing relationship between God and humans is that of parent and child.
Harakhaman hu y'varekh et avi mori v'et imi morati.
Merciful One, bless my father, my teacher; and my mother, my teacher.

Thank you for the traits you have modeled, for showing me that love can overcome obstacles, for sharing celebration and pain, for teaching me about fragility and strength.

If you are a child, call your parents with a blessing as your message. If you are a parent, experience accepting the blessings your children give you, however they are expressed.
Harakhaman hu y'varekh et avi mori v'et imi morati.
Merciful One, May You bless my father, my teacher; and my mother, my teacher; who have made a home for me.
May we all be blessed as You blessed my grandparents and great-grandparents: in every possible way. That is how we wished to be blessed, everyone together, a complete blessing. Amen.
The hearts of the parents will be turned toward the children, and the hearts of the children will be turned toward the parents.
(Malachi 3:24)
My child, heed the discipline of your father, and do not forget the Torah of your mother, for they are a graceful wreath on your head, a necklace around your throat.
(Proverbs 1:8–9)
Blessed are You our God, God of our Mothers and Fathers: God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, God of Sarah, God of Rebecca, God of Rachel, and God of Leah, who recalls the blessing of our parents.
(Adapted from the Amidah)

From The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices: Clal’s Guide to Everyday & Holiday Rituals & Blessings, edited by Rabbi Irwin Kula and Vanessa L. Ochs, Ph.D., Jewish Lights, 2001.


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