One of our Friday evening highlights during services is, without a question, the blessing of our children. As you can see from the picture above, there are quite a lot of them joining Kani and Deborah each week for the Kids’ Club, and us for the kiddush in the Shul.
To bless the children is not an exclusive honour for a rabbi of a shul, but for every parent, too. To share a blessing is a wonderful way to embrace the special bond parents have with their children. It is a short moment of “you time”. While our tradition offers some great words taken from the Torah, parents and children may take any words that come from their hearts. Sometimes a hug can be the best blessing in the world.
The words of the traditional blessing are taken from the priestly blessing (Num. 6:24-26) and the introduction is altered depending on whether the child being blessed is a boy or girl.:
For boys, the introductory line is:
May you be like Ephraim and Menashe.
יְשִׂימְךָ אֱלהיִם כְּאֶפְרַיְם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁה.
Y’simeich Elohim k’Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel, v’Leah.
For girls, the introductory line is:
May you be like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.
יְשִׂימֵךְ אֱלהיִם כְּשָׂרָה רִבְקָה רָחֵל וְלֵאָה.
Y’simcha Elohim k’Efrayim v’che-Menasheh.
For both boys and girls, the rest of the blessing is:
יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ
יָאֵר יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ
יִשָּׂא יְהוָה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלום
Y’varechecha Adonai V’yish’m’recha.
Ya’er Adonai panav eilecha vichuneka.
Yisa Adonai panav eilecha v’yasem l’cha shalom.
May God bless you and guard you.
May the light of God shine upon you, and may God be gracious to you.
May the presence of God be with you and give you peace.
Have a wonderful and blessed Shabbat – Rabbi Adrian M Schell