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    The blessing for sons & daughters – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. When we bless our daughters on Friday night we say, “May God make you like Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah”. Why isn’t the boys’ blessing, “May God make you like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob”?

    Blessing the children on the Sabbath eve, by Moritz Oppenheim, 1867

    A. The boys’ blessing, “God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh” is a direct Biblical quotation from Genesis 48:20.

    It is the grandfather Jacob’s blessing of his grandsons (the sons of his son Joseph), praying that they will be a source of continuity and destiny even in an unfriendly environment.

    There is no equivalent verse for girls so tradition constructed one, though it is suggested by Ruth 4:11 (“The Lord make the woman who has come into your house like Rachel and Leah”).

    Both boys and girls get an additional b’rachah, the priestly blessing (“The Lord bless you and keep you”, quoted from Numbers 6:24-26).

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