To A Daughter Leaving Home

college woman studying on a patio

To everything there is a season and a Time to Every Purpose Under the Heaven
From Ecclesiastes 3:1

To A Daughter Leaving Home
By Linda Pastan

When I taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
beside you
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth Founding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,
pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming
with laughter,
the hair flapping
behind you like a
handkerchief waving

Parents’ Blessing to Their Child

As you leave our protected walls, may you be blessed on this journey and in all your studies. May God protect you from harm, keep you in good health, open your eyes to much knowledge and guide you to wisdom May you choose the right paths in your journeys and may God ease your way.

You are leaving our family physically, but remember that we are always with you in spirit, and that the lessons of our home were meant to be used in whatever you are doing. You have a good foundation on which to learn and build a new life and continue in the observance of our Jewish traditions. May the spirit that we shared together be with you eyen when you are not living at home.

“My God and God of my ancestors, I thank you for the precious gift of life and for the blessing of parenthood which has allowed me to share in the miracle of creation. Grant this child length of days and vigor of body and mind. Endow me with love and understanding that my partner and I may continue to imbue this child with love of Torah and the performance of good deeds. May we be privileged to bring (her/him) to join with a partner of (her/his) choice, or support their decision for singlehood.”


(Parents give child a mezuzah)

From Kol Haneshamah-Shabbat Vehagim, p. 277

And you must love THE ONE, your God, with your whole heart, with every breath, with all you have. Take these words that I command you now to heart. Teach them intently to your children. Speak them when you sit inside your house or walk upon the road, when you lie down and when you rise. And bind them as a sign upon your hand, and keep them visible before your eyes. Inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Havdalah Candle

(Light the Havdalah candle)

From Kol Haneshamah-Shabbat Vehagim, p. 525

Blessed are you,THE MANY-NAMED, our God, the sovereign of all worlds, who separates between holy and ordinary, light and dark, the seventh day and the six days of work. Blessed are you, THE INVISIBLE who separates the holy from the ordinary.

Personal reflections

(The candle is now extinguished)

Blessing for Peace

From Kol Haneshamah-Shabbat Vehagim, p. 319,

May THE ETERNAL bless you and protect you.

Let it be God’s will!

May THE ETERNAL’S face give light to you,

and show you favor.

Let it be God’s will!

May THE ETERNAL’S face be lifted toward you,

and bestow upon you peace.

Let it be God’s will!

Used by permission of the authors

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