Why do we bless our children on Shabbat?

Answered by
Rabbi Daniel B. Syme

It is a Jewish custom for parents to bless their children on Shabbat. This beautiful tradition derives from one of the most touching biblical stories. When Jacob lay on his deathbed, he summoned Joseph in order to bless him. Joseph entered with his two sons, Ephraim and Menasseh, whom Jacob had never seen. The Torah records this touching seen in chapter 48 of Genesis.

We relive the story of the blessing of the children through a lovely Shabbat ceremony, just after blessing the candles and before the Kiddush. Placing their hands on their children, the blessing is recited.

If there are memories that last a lifetime, a parent's blessing is surely one of them.