In Jewish practice, we bless our daughters and sons on Friday nights. We call down the blessings of heaven upon our daughters in the name of The Mothers, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. But why?
Who can forget the iconic Sabbath Blessing duet from the movie "Fiddler on the Roof"? The parents in each household in the shtetl, the Jewish village, make, in essence, (although in English) the same blessing over their children as their ancestors made, and as we say today,
" May God make you like Ephraim and Menashe", for boys, and
"May God make you like Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah" (Some put Leah first, as she became Jacob's wife before her younger sister, who was promised to him, did, but that's another story), for girls.
Like many of you, I never thought to question or examine this more deeply,
Have you ever laughed so much that you cried? Or the reverse,sobbed uncontrollably until your tears were dry and all you could taste was salt? Our Biblical Mother Sarah would have had a thing or two to say about tears of laughter and tears of joy...