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Define “a blessing.” How would you bless your child or your parent?

In this week’s Torah reading, Yaakov gathers his children around his deathbed and gives them blessings – each son/tribe receives his own individual and fitting blessing. But if we take a look at some of his remarks, they don’t, at first glance, seem to be blessings – at least not according to the classic definition.

In Chapter 49 verse 3, Yaakov tells Reuven he has water-like impetuosity; he is impulsive and because of that, he cannot be the leader among the brothers. How must Reuven have felt when he heard this? How does Yaakov see this as a blessing?

What do you feel like when someone points out a flaw? What’s the difference if it’s a friend or a parent? A teacher or a stranger?

Sometimes knowing what you have to work on, where you need improvement is the biggest blessing! Do you see how? Now you can improve, work on yourself and achieve your full potential! Have you ever had a flaw pointed out, only to use that as a start to turning over a new leaf?

Take a look at the other “blessings” to the tribes. Which ones are classic blessings and which ones are a father’s gift to his son in order to help him be the best he can be?

Bracha Krohn is a mom of three living in Israel. She teaches children, teenagers and adults in schools, Batei Midrash and summer camp. “Table Talk” and “Personal Parsha” are based on the ideas she and her husband, also a Torah educator, discuss with their children around their weekly Shabbat table.