I created this prayer when I was a member of a very small synagogue with just a few children. We met only one weekend a month and often had potluck dinner and Kabbalat ShabbatLit. Receiving Shabbat The Friday-night service instituted by the mystics in S'fat in the 16th century. It includes selections from Psalms and the song Lecha Dodi. at people’s homes rather than in the synagogue building. Most of the parents didn’t regularly bless their children as part of their Friday evening ritual, and seemed uncomfortable when our Rabbi initiated it. I thought perhaps it would be more comfortable if we all joined in. In working on the wording, it expanded a bit from my first intention. Our congregation also included adults who did not have children (either by choice or sadly by infertility). When my own children were attending Hebrew School and services, I had experienced how important the interest and support of all adults in the congregation was, which led me to the final version.
For countless generations Jewish parents have blessed their children on the evening of the Sabbath. In this blessing parents express the hope that their children will be inspired by our ancestors and by guided by TorahThe Five Books of Moses, and the foundation of all of Jewish life and lore. The Torah is considered the heart and soul of the Jewish people, and study of the Torah is a high mitzvah. The Torah itself a scroll that is hand lettered on parchment, elaborately dressed and decorated, and stored in a decorative ark. It is chanted aloud on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat, according to a yearly cycle. Sometimes "Torah" is used as a colloquial term for Jewish learning and narrative in general..
As a spiritual community, we are all responsible for passing on our heritage to the children of our Temple family. When we live lives enriched by Torah we join our ancestors in providing inspiration and spiritual nourishment to the next generation. In acknowledgment of this sacred duty, we bless them with these words:
May you be guided by the tradition of our ancestors and the ways of Torah.
May you seek truth, be kind in your speech and loving in your deeds.