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Tradition & Innovation

Communal Blessing for the Children

two parents sandwich their child. The parent on the left is wearing a striped shirt and has short brown hair and dark skin. The parent on the right has on a blue denim button down and khaki pants, is wearing glasses, and has short brown hair and fair skin. The child has a big smile on their face with straight short brown hair, dark skin, and a green shirt on.

I created this prayer when I was a member of a very small synagogue with just a few children. We met only one weekend a month and often had potluck dinner and Kabbalat Shabbat at people's homes rather than in the synagogue building. Most of the parents didn't regularly bless their children as part of their Friday evening ritual, and seemed uncomfortable when our Rabbi initiated it. I thought perhaps it would be more comfortable if we all joined in. In working on the wording, it expanded a bit from my first intention. Our congregation also included adults who did not have children (either by choice or sadly by infertility). When my own children were attending Hebrew School and services, I had experienced how important the interest and support of all adults in the congregation was, which led me to the final version.


Reader:

For countless generations Jewish parents have blessed their children on the evening of the Sabbath. In this blessing parents express the hope that their children will be inspired by our ancestors and by guided by Torah.

As a spiritual community, we are all responsible for passing on our heritage to the children of our Temple family.  When we live lives enriched by Torah we join our ancestors in providing inspiration and spiritual nourishment to the next generation.  In acknowledgment of this sacred duty, we bless them with these words:

Everyone:

May you be guided by the tradition of our ancestors and the ways of Torah.
May you seek truth, be kind in your speech and loving in your deeds.

May Adonai bless you and keep you.
May Adonai look kindly upon you and be gracious to you.
May Adonai reach out to you in tenderness and grant you peace.

Y’varekh’kha Adonai, v’yishmrekh'kha
Yaer Adonai panav eilehkha, vilhunekha
Yisa Adonai panav eilehkha, v’yaseim l’kha shalom

 

יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה, וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ
יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וִיחֻנֶּךָּ
יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם

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