Shabbat and Holiday Blessings: Blessing over Children

The Priestly Blessing, or Birkat Kohanim, comes from the Book of Numbers in Torah and, as a three-fold blessing, asks for the recipient or community to be blessed with grace, blessing and peace.

It is Jewish custom to bless children each Shabbat and on festival holidays. Historically, the blessings that parents bestow on their children on Shabbat and holidays have been gendered, and specific to boys and girls. The blessings offered here are appropriate and affirming for people of all genders, including trans, gender expansive, and nonbinary genders.

The child may choose to have you place your hands on their head, shoulders, or back, as you recite the words of blessing.

 

This blessing is customarily said for female identifying children
BlessingforGirl.mp3
Audio file
Hebrew Text

יְשִׂמֵךְ אֱלֹהִים כְּשָׂרָה, כְּרִבְקָה, כְּרָחֵל, וּכְלֵאָה.

Transliteration

Y'simeich Elohim k'Sarah, k'Rivkah, k'Rachel, ooch'Leah.

Translation

May God make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.

This blessing is customarily said for male identifying children
Blessing-for-Boy.mp3
Audio file
Hebrew Text

יְשִׂמְךָ אֱלֹהִים כְּאֶפְרַֽיִם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁה.

Transliteration

Y'simcha Elohim k'Efrayim v'chi-Menasheh.

Translation

May God make you like Ephraim and Menasheh.

This is a blessing for children of all genders including non-binary genders
Shabbat Blessing for Children - All Genders
Audio file

Be who you are –
and may you be blessed
in all that you are.*

Some may add:

Hebrew Text

יְהִי רָצוֹן שֶׁשַּׁבָּת זוֹ תַּשְׁרֶה (שֶׁחַג זֶה יַשְׁרֶה) עָלֵינוּ אוֹרָה, שִׂמְחָה, וְשָׁלוֹם.

Transliteration

Y’hi ratzon sheShabbat zo tashreh [shechag zeh yashreh] aleinu orah, simcha, v’shalom.

Note: omit sheShabbat zo tashreh when saying this blessing for a holiday

Translation

May this Shabbat [holiday] bring us light, joy, and peace.

This blessing is said as a second blessing for all children
Y'varech'cha (online-audio-converter.com).mp3
Audio file
Hebrew Text

יְבָרֶכְךָ יְיָ וְיִשְׁמְרֶֽךָ.
יָאֵר יְיָ פָּנָיו אֵלֶֽיךָ וִיחֻנֶּֽךָּ.
יִשָּׂא יְיָ פָּנָיו אֵלֶֽיךָ, וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם.

Transliteration

Y'varechecha Adonai v'yish'm'recha.
Ya-er Adonai panav eilecha vichuneka.
Yisa Adonai panav eilecha
v'yaseim l'cha shalom.

Translation

May God bless you and keep you.
May God's light shine upon you, and may God be gracious to you.
May you feel God's Presence within you always, and may you find peace.

Source

From Miskhan T'filah: A Reform Siddur  © 2007 by CCAR Press. All rights reserved.

*English translation is from The Book of Blessings: New Jewish Prayers for Daily Life, the Sabbath, and the New Moon Festival (CCAR Press, 2017). Copyright © 1996, 2017 by Marcia Lee Falk. Used by permission.