On Lit. Evening Jewish holidays begin in the evening. Hence, Erev Shabbat is the eve of the Sabbath. Shabbat is the Sabbath day, the Day of Rest, and is observed from Friday night through Saturday night. Is set aside from the rest of the week both in honor of the fact that God rested on the seventh day after creating the world. On Shabbat, many Jews observe prohibitions from various activities designated as work. Shabbat is traditionally observed with festive meals, wine, challah, prayers, the reading and studying of Torah, conjugal relations, family time, and time with friends. children are blessed by their parents or grandparents. The traditional blessing for children invokes powerful Jewish biblical ancestors that were blessed by God. The blessing is intended to bestow the attributes of these powerful ancestors onto the children as they grow throughout the week. Recently, Jewish ritual has begun to acknowledge the diversity of Jewish family, whether it be heterosexual, LGBTQ, adopted/foster children, no children, pets as blessed family members, and those who choose to remain single.
This ritual is for those who seek to bless themselves in the holiness of erev Shabbat.
Timing: Below are some options when this ritual can be added the traditional series of rituals on erev Shabbat.
1. After lighting the Shabbat candles, when one’s eyes are still closed/covered, this blessing can be recited.
2. After blessing children on erev Shabbat.
1. Envision an important/influential figure (biblical character, historical figure, ancestor, etc.)
2. Imagine a positive trait you admire in them (sometimes it’s easier to think of the trait first before the named person)
3. Ask for removal of past “faulty steps” within the past week (whether literally, metaphorically, and/or spiritually). Faulty steps may be: losing your temper with family or friends, not following through with a commitment, or not giving yourself enough self-care for the week; in other words, anything that you intended to do this past week or behaviors which you hold yourself to but this week you weren’t able to fulfill as you wanted.
יַעֲבִיר נָא אֱלֹהִים אֶת צְּעָדֵי הָשָׁוְא שֶׁלִּי וְאָז נִיקִּיתִי מִפֶּשַׁע רָב ומִנִּסְתָּרוֹת יְנָקְנִי
*Inspired by Psalms 19:13–14
Ya’avir na Elohim et tz’adey ha’shav sheli v’az nikiti mipeysha rav u’ministarot y’nakni.
May G-d remove my faulty steps and then I will be blameless and clear of grave mistakes, and clear me of my unperceived guilt.
4. Blessing oneself in the holy moment of welcoming Shabbat and going forward into the next week. (This part can be adapted every week depending on what traits you wish to evoke that particular Shabbat/week.)
יְשִׂימֵנִי אֱלֹהִים כְ________ ה_______ בַּשַּׁבָּת וּבַשָּׁבוּעַ הַבָּא
Y’simeyni Elohim k’_______ ha______ ba-shabbat u’va’shavua haba.
May G-d bless me like ______ the ________ this Shabbat and in the week to come.
Examples of influential figures and their traits: (be as creative as you like, this is just a small sampling of examples using the biblical ancestors)
Hannah is the mother of the prophet Samuel, who, through her prayers, is rewarded a child. She herself is also considered a prophet. Hannah's intense devotional style of prayer becomes the model, in rabbinic Judaism, for prayer in general. (חנה) the passionate one (המלהבות)
Deborah (דבורה) the discerning one (הבחינה)
Abraham is the first patriarch and the father of the Jewish people. He is the husband of Sarah and the father of Isaac and Ishmael. God's covenant - that we will be a great people and inherit the land of Israel - begins with Abraham and is marked by his circumcision, the first in Jewish history. His Hebrew name is Avraham. (אברהם) the believing one (המאמין)
Lit. heel Jacob is the third patriarch, son of Isaac and Rebecca, and father to the twelve tribes of Israel. More than any of the other patriarchs, Jacob wrestles with God and evolves from a deceitful, deal-making young man to a mature, faithful partner to God. His Hebrew name is Yaakov. (יעקב ) the patient one (הסבלני)
Lavan's younger daughter and Jacob's beloved wife second wife (after he is initially tricked into marrying her older sister, Leah). Rachel grieves throughout her life that she is barren while Leah is so fertile. Ultimately, Rachel gives birth to Joseph and dies in childbirth with Benjamin. Rachel is remembered as compassionate (she is said to still weep for her children), and infertile women often invoke Rachel as a kind of intercessor and visit her tomb on the road to Bethlehem. (רחל) the trusting one (הבוטחת)
The first matriarch, wife of Abraham, and mother of Isaac, whom she birthed at the age of 90. Sarah, in Rabbinic tradition, is considered holy, beautiful, and hospitable. Many prayers, particularly the Amidah (the central silent prayer), refer to God as Magen Avraham – protector of Abraham. Many Jews now add: pokehd or ezrat Sarah – guardian or helper of Sarah. (שרה) the one who laughs (הצוחקת)
Heroine of the Purim story and Megillat (the scroll of) Esther. She is married to the king by her cousin Mordecai and ultimately saves her people from execution. (אסתר) the courageous one (האמיצה)