Why do we bless our children on Friday nights with non-correlated blessings between the boys and the girls?

I can understand that we want our daughters to emulate the Matriarchs. Yet we don't bless our sons to emulate the Patriarchs.

There are several reasons for us to bless our sons to emulate Ephraim and Menashe (and an especially strong one while we are in exile), yet we don't bless our daughters to emulate a corollary set of role models in TaNa"Ch.

Why don't the blessings match?

  • technically a dupe judaism.stackexchange.com/q/7722/759
    – Double AA
    Dec 31, 2012 at 18:53
  • @DoubleAA, if it's a dupe of the first, so are the others. I think it's more of a dupe of the second, IMO, but the first one can easily (and also in IMO should) be edited to trim out the significance of the wording section, as it is a separate question entirely from the first two sub-questions. But really my question isn't about the reason the people chosen were chosen, but why they don't match.
    – Seth J
    Dec 31, 2012 at 19:01
  • Hence my 'technically'. Feel free to edit that one so it isn't a dupe, and to clarify in your post how it isn't a dupe of the latter two (which is certainly doable).
    – Double AA
    Dec 31, 2012 at 19:02
  • 1
    Seems straightforward to me: Yaakov said that Jews would/should bless (their sons) by saying "yesimcha Elokim k'Ephrayim v'chiMnasheh." (Gen 48:20) There's no such explicitly corresponding passage for girls, so the rest of your answer is in this question!
    – Fred
    Dec 31, 2012 at 19:13

2 Answers 2


The boys' blessing uses the exact wording Yaakov said we should or will use for our blessings:

"And he [Yaakov] blessed them that day, saying: 'By thee shall Israel bless, saying: God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh.'" (Breishit 48:20)

There is no such specified blessing mentioning women, so when people decided to bless girls as well, they made something up, and the 4 mothers were the natural choice to use.

There is actually one relevant example in Tanach of a blessing mentioning women:

"And all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said: 'We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thy house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel; and do thou worthily in Ephrath, and be famous in Beth-lehem; and let thy house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore unto Judah, of the seed which the LORD shall give thee of this young woman.' " (Ruth 4:11-12)

But maybe that focuses too much on fertility, and we care more about other things, like righteousness. Also, the story of Tamar is not "nice", even if Tamar came out of it honorably.

  • "when people decided to bless girls as well" Do you mean when people decided to bless girls differently? Until then boys and girls had the same text
    – Double AA
    Jan 17, 2021 at 23:46

At first glance the reason seems to be to emulate Yackov Avinu's blessing.

Moshe Rabeinu emulated Yackov Avinu's blessing when blessing the Shevatim (tribes).

  • But the blessing for daughters could have been made to match it.
    – Seth J
    Jan 1, 2013 at 1:08
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    @SethJ How? You want something parallel. What is parallel to Yosef's two sons? Yesimech Elohim Ke-Dinah uke-Serach uke-Asnat?
    – Double AA
    Jan 1, 2013 at 1:23

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