This past Friday Night, as I have done for almost nine years now, I blessed my son with the Parental blessing at the Shabbat table. “May G-d make you like Ephraim and Manaseh. May the Lord bless you and keep you… “. It always means a lot to me to be able to do this but this particular Shabbos, it meant more.
My son was born early on a Friday morning. The sedrah that was being read that week in shul was Shoftim. That means that the first time I had the opportunity to bless him was that Friday evening when we were reading Shoftim the next day. This past Friday, when I had the occasion to bless my son, it was the night before the reading of Shoftim. It was the anniversary of the first time I could perform this task.
Considering my son was born six weeks early and spent the first week of his life in the neonatal unit of the hospital because he was premature, the anniversary of this Shabbat is just a reminder of how far he has come. It also serves as a reminder of how much my wife and I have taught him, as well as the failures we have experienced as parents (as all parents do experience them) and a reminder of the lesson yet to come that we will have to teach him.
As I said, it is always special to have the opportunity to bless my son and it is one I always enjoy but this past Shabbos it was just a little more special and a little more enjoyable.