Blessings For Everyday Situations

While parents are used to talking about their children being their greatest blessing, any parent in the trenches of a tantrum-filled day, a long road trip, or a diaper blow out, knows that sometimes it's hard to look past the immediate situation to the larger picture.

Saying a quick blessing after seeing a rainbow, dealing with potty training, or getting a tired teen out of bed, helps infuse the most challenging parts of parenting with some grace, humor, and even offers an opportunity to press pause for a second and be "in the moment" with our children. 

Although we've provided some templates, there is no right way to say a blessing. Judaism gives suggestions but you don't need to know Hebrew or say the exact words to offer a blessing. Try out a few things and roll with what works best for you.

Waking Up/Starting the Day

Said every morning upon waking, the Modeh Ani prayer to express gratitude for the gift of another day of life. This blessing is especially useful when trying to rouse teens, or children who stayed up way past their bedtime the night before. While getting out of bed can feel like a chore, even for moms and dads, a quick blessing is a good way to reframe the day that is about to start and fight that urge to hit snooze for the fifteenth time.

Here's a video of PJ Library artist Rick Recht singing "Modeh Ani" in Jerusalem with Rabbi Micah Greenstein.


How to say the blessing:

English: "I offer thanks to You, our God, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great." 

Hebrew: "Modeh ani lefaneḥa meleḥ ḥai vekayam, she’he’ḥezarta bee nishmatee b’ḥemla, raba emunatecha."

Pronunciation: 

Changing a Diaper

No one tells you before becoming a parent that you will spend a significant chunk of the first few months of your child's life worrying about the contents of diapers. It becomes a preoccupation: Did she poop today? Did he poop too much? How long has he sat in that wet diaper?  If you've ever found yourself stressed about the contents of your child's diaper, wrestling a toddler into a new pull up, or just dealing with a blowout, this blessing is for you.

Known sometimes as Asher Yatzar, this blessing is traditionally said after going to the restroom. Why do we need a blessing for our bodily functions? Knowing that our body is functioning properly is cause for gratitude, especially when dealing with young children or illness.

How to say the blessing:

English: “Blessed are You, our God,, sovereign of the universe, who formed humans with wisdom and created within them many openings and many hollows. It is obvious in the presence of your glorious throne that if one of them were ruptured, or if one of them were blocked, it would be impossible to exist and stand in Your presence. Blessed are you, our God, who heals all flesh and performs wonders.”

Hebrew: "Baruḥ ata Adonai, Eloheinu meleḥ ha’olam, asher yatzar et ha’adam b’chachma, u’vara voe n’kavim n’kavim chalulim chalulim. Galui v’yadu’ah lifnei chisei ch’voe’decha, she’im yipa’taye’ach echad may’hem, oe yisa’tame echad may’hem, ee efshar l’hit’kayaim v’la’amode l’fanechå. Baruḥ ata Adonai, rofay chol basar u’mafli la’asote."

Pronunciation: 

You can also just say: “asher yatzar” in a pinch to summarize the blessing.

Hearing Good News

Who doesn't like hearing good news? Good news is awesome--for the person receiving it and the people around them who get to share in the moment. Saying a blessing for good news is a nice reminder to celebrate and embrace the positive – no matter how big or small. In the age of the internet, when social media can make us feel inundated with negativity, being thankful for good news is a reminder to always find the silver lining.

How to say the blessing:

English: “Blessed are You, our God, Ruler of the Universe, who is good and causes good."

Hebrew: “Baruḥ ata Adonai Eloheinu meleḥ ha’olam hatov v’ha’meitiv."

Pronunciation: 

Before Eating Vegetables

Some families say a grace after meals, but did you know that there are blessings that can be said before eating many types of food? Different blessings are said depending on the source of the food that we’re eating. Talking to children about where our food comes from – the ground, the water, trees, the land – is a fun learning activity and a way to practice mindfulness about the environment. There are blessings to say before eating bread, fruit, snacks, or vegetables (food that grows in the ground). We're highlighting this one in the hope that it helps a few parents get their kids to eat some broccoli tonight.


How to say the blessing:

English: "Blessed are You, our God, Ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the ground."

Hebrew: Baruḥ ata Adonai Eloheinu meleḥ ha’olam borei p’ri ha’adamah."

Pronunciation: 

Seeing a Rainbow

For younger children, seeing a rainbow is a great time to review colors. With older children, seeing a rainbow can lead to an insightful conversation about science and the environment. Plus seeing a rainbow, no matter how old you are, is a pretty cool experience, so why not stop and give thanks?

How to say the blessing:

English: “Blessed are You, our God, Ruler of the Universe, who remembers the covenant, and is faithful to God’s covenant, and keeps God’s promise.”

Hebrew: “Baruḥ ata Adonai Eloheinu meleḥ  zoḥer habrit vne’eman bivrito v’kayam b’ma’amaro.”

Pronunciation: 

Going on a Trip

Known as the prayer for going on a journey or Tefilah Hadere, this blessing asks for a safe and peaceful trip. Anyone who has ever traveled with at least one passenger under the age of 18, knows the importance of such a prayer. You can amend this to add your own embellishments: "Please let the iPad stay charged, let the snacks stay plentiful, let there be no yelling or crying."


How to say the blessing:

English: “May it be Your will, our God and God of our ancestors, that You lead us in peace and help us reach our destination safely, joyfully and peacefully. May You protect us on our leaving and on our return, and rescue us from any harm, and may You bless the work of our hands, and may our deeds merit honor for You. Praise to You, Adonai, Protector of Israel."

Hebrew: “Y'hi ratzon milfaneḥa Adonai Eloheinu v'Elohei avoteinu v'imoteinu, shetoliḥeinu l'shalom v'taazreinu l'hagia limḥoz cheftzeinu l'ḥayim ul'simḥah ul'shalom. Ushmor tzeiteinu uvo-einu v'tatzileinu mikol tzarah v'tishlaḥ b'raḥah b'ḥol maasei yadeinu, umaaseinu y'ḥabdu et sh'meḥa. Baruḥ atah, Adonai, shomeir Yisrael laad."

Pronunciation: 

Experiencing Something For the First Time 

The Shehecheyanu marks doing something for the first time. It gives thanks for the moment just experienced. You can say the Shehecheyanu when your child laughs for the first time, gets their first tooth, loses their first tooth, when you try on new clothes, or on the first day of school. Really, any first, no matter how big or small, merits a Shehecheyanu. Our story, I Say Shehecheyanuis another great way to introduce this idea to children.

How to say the blessing:

English: "Our praise to You, Eternal our God, Sovereign of all: for giving us life, sustaining us, and enabling us to reach this season."

Hebrew: "Baruḥ ata Adonai Elohenu meleḥ ha'olam sheheḥeyanu vekiymanu vehigi'anu lazman hazeh."

Pronunciation: 

Blessing Children On Shabbat

On Friday nights before Shabbat, it’s customary for parents to bless their children. Many parents also say this blessing, or one of their own making, to mark milestones in their children's lives. Learn how to recite the blessing with the video below. For a great read about blessing children, head over to Kveller.com.
 

How to say the blessing
English:
(The first line varies depending on whether a child is a boy or a girl):
              For boys: May you be like Ephraim and Menashe.
              For girls: May you be like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.
The rest of the blessing: "May God bless you and guard you. May God show you favor and be gracious to you. May God show you kindness and grant you peace."

Hebrew: 

              Y'simḥa Elohim k'Efrayim v'ḥe-Menasheh.
              Y'simeiḥ Elohim k'Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel, v'Leah.
Y'varecheḥa Adonai V'yish'm'reḥa. Ya'er Adonai panav eileḥa viḥuneka. Yisa Adonai panav eileḥa v'yasem l'ḥa shalom.

Pronunciation: 

The saying goes that in parenting “The days are long, but the years are short." By pausing to say a quick "thank goodness that's over" or a line from a blessing, we're able to connect the craziness of parenting with a larger tradition. We also set a good example for children about gratitude because every time we say a blessing or a prayer, we're flexing the same gratitude muscles that our kids are just starting to develop.

Do you have a favorite blessing or one that's unique to your family? We'd love to hear about it. Drop us a line on Facebook.


« Find more activities, book lists, interviews, and recipes