Each Family Has a Mission in the World

Vayehi: A resource for families.

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Reprinted with permission from Torah Topics for Today.

Each family has a mission in the world. With reflection, you could probably write a mission statement for your family.  For example, parents might work toward their children growing up to be secure, contributing members of society, ensuring that they have compassion for others and do good in the world. Everything we do while we are raising of children, large and small, contributes to this overall mission.
happy family
In our parashah this week, we find Jacob on his deathbed, offering a blessing to each of his sons. Each blessing includes a vision of that child's future. For example, when blessing Judah, he blesses both Judah and Judah's descendants as leaders in Israel.

A parent needn't wait until he is on his death bed to bless his child. Every Friday night, traditional Jews offer blessings to each of their children. While there is a formula that many say, others make up their own blessing. What an interesting practice it would be to articulate weekly what you wish for your child. Mentioning a success that each child had during the week may also increase the child's self- esteem and enjoyment of this worthwhile ritual. It's a way of making the
mission of your family explicit in the blessing of a child.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS
about the kinds of blessings they enjoy now and what they might want for themselves in the future.

CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:
·    What do you think blessing means?
·    What are the blessings you enjoy in your life?
·    Do we focus enough on the things our children are doing right?

© Copyright 2010 Joyce and Fred Claar

Rabbi Dianne Cohler-Esses

Dianne Cohler-Esses is the first Syrian Jewish woman to be ordained as a rabbi. She was ordained in 1995 at the Jewish Theological Seminary. She is currently a freelance educator and writer, teaching and writing about a wide range of Jewish subjects. She lives in New York City with her journalist husband and their three children.