The traditional Erev Shabbos seder includes brachos for the children as well as eishes chayil (which is frequently interpreted as an ode to mothers and wives, although I acknowledge that it was instituted in reference to the Shechinah). But there is no recital in order to honor or bless the husband or father of the family.

I know that in less traditional homes there are some who recite a psalm or something in honor of the husband, probably perceiving the lack of such a reading as an omission.

Why is there no such blessing included in the the traditional order? Is it unnecessary or inappropriate, and if so, why?

  • Huh -- I'd never heard the Shekhina reasoning for Eishet Chayil. If there were a blessing for the husband/father, who would say it? Would it be considered valid for the wife to do so? Oct 2, 2013 at 16:35

1 Answer 1


First, some background information:

You are correct that the recitation of Esheth Hayil was instituted - in fairly recent history by some latter-day Qabbalists - in order to praise the Shekhinah. This is also true with regard to the popularized "Shalom Alekhem" piyut which was composed to praise the spiritual beings which supposedly escort men home from the synagogue on Lel Shabboth (I say "supposedly" since both the concept of the "two angels" and being escorted by them are interpreted metaphorically by early authorities). Either way, these practices are not mentioned at all in the halakhic literature of Hazal and the actual halakhah is to come home on Lel Shabboth and begin immediately with Qidhush.

While it is certainly true that Mishlei 31 has been, since ancient times, been associated with nashim ssidqaniyoth ("righteous women") of the Tanakh (as found in Midrash HaGadhol, Midrash Tanhuma, and various geniza fragments - to list a few examples), there was never a practice to recite it on Lel Shabboth until the popularization of the Qabbalah in recent centuries.

The same holds true for the practice giving of berakhoth to one's children on Lel Shabboth; the custom is mentioned by Ashkenazi aharonim (like the Ya`avetz and the Gra, as well as the disciples of Arizal) and is given justification from the Qabbalah. Again, the practice is fairly recent and is not included in the halakhah (e.g. the Rambam, et al).

Now, to answer your question:

The reason that there is not a "blessing of the father or head of the family" is because there was never a concerted effort to create blessings or honorable mention for each member of the family on Friday night. Like I mentioned, the actual halakhah is to come home on Friday night and make Qidhush and begin the se`udhah immediately. The Qabbalists, however, seizing upon various mystical interpretations of Shabbath (e.g. the Sabbath Queen, the blessing of the Sabbath during the days of creation, etc.), decided to institute these practices which did not exist prior.

The blessings and recitations of Shabboth were originally only for the Creator of the world, and many authorities - who refrained from saying Esheth Hayil, singing Shalom Alekhem, and even from giving berakhoth to their children - felt that it should really have stayed the way it was originally.

  • This seems like a really unnecessarily long way of saying: just because no one ever did it.
    – Double AA
    Oct 6, 2013 at 22:34
  • Perhaps, but I sensed that the question was coming from a faulty understanding of these customs, i.e. that the rabbanim were passing out blessings to be said on Friday night to the members of a family and somehow "skipped" the husbands. In reality, however - once one understands some background - the answer, i.e. that no one ever made one, becomes a real answer rather than a disappointing one. That was my motivation. My apologies for any undue comments or causing undue work for the administrators of the site.
    – user3342
    Oct 7, 2013 at 1:27

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