The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.






One of the traditions observed at the Jewish Sabbath is blessing one’s children.  Parents place their hands on the child’s head and to girls say “May you be like Sara, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.”  For boys it’s “May you be like Ephraim and Manasseh”


It’s a lovely custom but I’ve always wondered why we wish our children to be anyone other than who they are.


My question is answered in a Chasidic story. One day his disciples found Rabbi Zusya weeping and they asked him why. He explained that he trembled when thinking about the end of his life and being asked by the Almighty not “Why were you not like Moses?” but “Why were you not Zusya?”


Indeed! It didn’t take very long for me to change the blessing for my kids.   It became, “May you be blessed with the strength and the wisdom to become who you are.”





            Traditionally, as the Sabbath meal commences, husbands recite A Woman of Valor in honor of their wives. (Proverbs 31-10)  There’s much to be said about the value of maintaining traditions but I often had to surprises a giggle. It wasn’t me my husband was speaking of when he said, “She seeketh wool and flax and works willingly with her hands,,” or “She considers a field and buys it,” Right. I should be so lucky as to have enough resources to buy a few acres of land. And I seeketh wash-and-wear – not wool and flax. “She maketh linen garments and selleth them.”   Who? Me?  I search for those linen garments in resale shops.  Find me a woman who “Rises while it is yet night and giveth food to her handmaidens.“. Instead, how about “She willingly driveth the children to soccer practice, and tolerateth her husband’s idiosyncrasies  with patience?”  Handmaiden?  Are  you kidding? An occasional foot rub by my husband is the closest I’ll ever come to a handmaiden.


For many years I was so blessed but accepted that blessing with a sense of unfairness..  Why should the children and the wife be blessed and not the husband? Finally, I took it upon myself to rectify what I considered to be a thoughtless omission. Here it is. I leave rephrasing of Woman of Valor to you.


Ode To A Husband


I am fortunate for I have found a man to treasure.

His worth is immeasurable.

He is committed to the welfare of his family,

Works diligently to provide for them

And cares for his friends and community as well.

His concerns are those of a king beholden to his kingdom

And the toils of his labor are in their behalf.

He is neither selfish nor idle and conducts himself with dignity and compassion.

He walks with a straight back and a raised head

And the touch of his hand is my delight

Blessed is the man who honors his wife and

Directs his children in paths of righteousness.

May his love be appreciated by those whom he cherishes.

How would you bless your children or your spouse? Post a comment.

Julie Rose


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