Blessings and Curses

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The invocation to God to bestow goodness and happiness (the blessing) or to visit evil and suffering (the curse) upon others. There is no doubt that in both the Bible and the Rabbinic literature the belief was strongly held that the word of blessing and curse possessed power so that, unless there was direct divine intervention, it would automatically take effect.

To this day parents bless their children on the eve of the Sabbaths and festivals, and teachers their pupils. The usual form of blessing for boys (based on Genesis 48: 20) is: ‘God make thee as Ephraim and Manasseh’; for girls: ‘God make thee as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.’

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies.

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