There is a traditional blessing a parent/father says for his children in many communities on returning from the synagogue on the nights of the high holy days or all Friday nights, etc. The text published in most siddurim comprises a fragment of a verse in Genesis (48:20) as well as the verses of the blessings of the priests (Numbers 6:24-26).

Halachic issues that seem to arise with this formulation are 1. the problem with reciting verse fragments (כל פסוקא דלא פסקיה משה אנן לא פסקינן ליה - "Any verse-break not according to the verse-breakup-up of Moses..."; see e.g. Tractate Megillah 22a) as well as 2. the apparent biblical prohibition of a non-priest using the priestly blessing (see e.g. Rama Orach Chaim 128:1).

Do any authorities specifically address these issues with regard to this tradition? Are there any alternate formulations traditionally used?


Blessing the Children on Friday Night

Should a parent bless a child resting one hand or both?

  • 1
    Yaakov says: "Bless your kids with these 5 words" and you say "No, it's only part of a Passuk." Fascinating. Dec 27, 2015 at 8:44
  • Rama Orach Chaim 128:1 talks about non-Chohanim going up to Duchen. What does this have to do with blessing one's kids. Dec 27, 2015 at 8:44
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  • @Loewian The priestly blessing is also said by ~everyone as part of birkos hashachar. (Possibly it's different for some nusachos, but certainly Ashkenaz and HaAri use this)
    – SAH
    Nov 3, 2016 at 13:56
  • @SAH That's just being used as some verses to study as Torah Study. No one is blessing anyone there. And classical Nusach Ashkenaz only uses those verses when saying Birkhot HaTorah at night. The original tradition is to say the Tamid there.
    – Double AA
    Nov 3, 2016 at 19:07

1 Answer 1


Just came across Halachipedia's bit on this (which perhaps is more of an ex post facto limud zechus on an established custom rather than an a priori, l'chatchila leniency):

...parents blessing their children and Rabbis blessing their students, may put both of their hands on their heads while reciting the blessing, since the only prohibition is to make the blessing with the intention of fulfilling the mitzvah of the commandment, and to do it like the cohen.

Yalkut Yosef, Tefillah Volume 1, page 296. See Beiur Halacha 128:1 s.v. DeZar who writes that the minhag of Yisraelim to bless other Jews with the words of Birkat cohanim is either based on the fact that perhaps there's only a prohibition if they raise their hands like cohanim or that they have kavana not to fulfill the mitzvah of Birkat cohanim.

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    this is addressing a completely different issue Dec 26, 2015 at 23:23
  • @Matt, no it sounds exactly helpful: it's NOT an issue of a priestly blessing, since even saying the exact priestly blessing is allowed as long as you don't intend to do the mitzva of birchas kohanim: by saying the bracha and doing the special finger formation. Aug 21, 2017 at 4:54

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