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.

The blessing for boys derives 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. The blessing for girls invokes the memory of our four matriarchs — Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah. The second part of the blessing — the Priestly Blessing — is the same for boys and girls and it comes from the Book of Numbers.

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.

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 sons: יְשִֹימְךָ‭ ‬אֱלֹהִים‭ ‬כְּאֶפְרַיִם‭ ‬וְכִמְנַשֶה Yesimkha Elohim k’Efrayim vekhi’Menasheh. May God bless you like Ephraim and Menasheh.

For all children, continue with: 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.


Type of Custom: Holiday Blessings, Lifecycle Blessings

Holiday/Event: Shabbat

Source: A Guide to Shabbat at Home