One constant theme in Shabbat observance across time and territory is the centrality of home life with family members and guests.  Preparation for Shabbat begins as early as mid-week in some households, and its arrival is marked by the spiritual illumination of a candle-lighting ceremony. Family meals are occasions for singing, studying, and celebrating together, as well as for sharing blessings with our children, partners and loved ones.

Often parents bless their children and each other, concluding with the priestly blessing of our weekly Torah portion (Numbers 6:24-26).  As the parents say the blessing, they place their hands on the children’s heads. Many couples also bless each other, or say a few loving words. Traditionally a man recites a passage from Proverbs 31:10-31… known as Eyshet Chayil (woman of valor) to his wife and women can offer Psalm 112. But what ever you choose, a traditional text, a poem, a song or words from your heart, to share a blessing with your loved ones is a wonderful moment to acknowledge one another and the special gift(s) you have received from the Eternal in your life.

Here is the traditional blessing for the children:

Y’simeich Elohim k’Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel, v’Leah.
May God make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.

Y’simcha Elohim k’Efrayim v’che-Menasheh.
May God make you like Ephraim and Menasheh.

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.

 May you be blessed,

Shabbat Shalom! 

Rabbi Adrian M Schell