I have noticed that many families (including my own) have the custom for the father to bless all the children on Friday night before kiddush.

When and where did this custom originate, and by whom, and why is it done before Kiddush on Friday night?

  • 3
    I have seen families where both the father and the mother bless, too.
    – yoel
    Commented Jan 1, 2013 at 3:46

1 Answer 1


The Minhag Yisroel Torah 271:2 brings in the name of the Maavar Yabok and the Sefer HaChaim from the brother of the Maharal M'Prag that we bless the children Friday night since on Shabbos there is no Satan that is Mekatreg and also the Tzinorei (pipes of) Brachos are open then.

Rabbi Yaakov Emden in his Siddur writes that it is a Minhag Yisroel to bless the children Friday night placing both hands on the child. In the Vilna Gaon's Siddur it also mentions the Minhag of giving a Bracha, however there it says you should only place the right hand on the child.

Why Does Hashem Bless Us Like Efraim And Menashe?

  • The Tora T'mima (in Naso) wonders "what people depend on in blessing someone while putting hands on his head, as people do for blessing bridegrooms and the like, inasmuch as, as we've seen [above in the TT], such a way of blessing is restricted to kohanim only, and for others there's an isur ase. It's a stretch to say that what's granted to kohanim is only [blessing with hands] with the wording of the benediction in the p'sukim here, as, per M'nachos 11:1, lifting the hands [alone] is considered an [avoda] like any other in the bes hamikdash. [continued]
    – msh210
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 3:05
  • [continued] "Now, I've heard from a trustworthy source that the Vilna Gaon blessed Rabbi [someone] Landa, posek of Vilna, at the time of his nuptials, and rested one hand on his head at the time. When asked about this, he explained that we don't find blessing with two hands except by the kohanim in the bes hamikdash. But aside from that" no one had mentioned it.
    – msh210
    Commented May 23, 2011 at 3:09
  • 2
    @msh210, @Gershon Gold, A Rashi in parashas Pinchas notes that although Hashem commanded Moshe to lean his hand on Yehoshua (27:18), Moshe leaned both hands (27:23) and implies ayin yafa. Although this is not a blessing (so the story is not in question, there is precedent for 2 hands being more generous.
    – YDK
    Commented Jul 17, 2011 at 23:54
  • Later question on this: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/27274
    – msh210
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 4:47

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