I thank God that this week, my wife and I welcomed a beautiful and healthy baby girl into this world. We will officially name her in the week ahead, but I share these words of prayer as we go into your first Shabbat my child. I wrote these words years ago when your older sister was first born. They remain true on this day as we welcome you into our family and into this world, and celebrate our first Shabbat together.
Avinu Shebashamayim, give me the wisdom, insight, courage, and strength to be a father to this beautiful child. You have blessed me with a child, one of Your divine creations, made in Your divine image. You have blessed me with fatherhood, now show me how. You who have provided for me my whole life, You who continues to provide for all my needs, give me the strength to provide for my daughter, strength when I am weary from sleepless nights of teething, sleepless nights of slumber parties, sleepless nights of staying out past curfew. Bless me with the wisdom to discern between tears of joy and tears of sorrow, the ability to heal a sore throat and a broken heart, the humor to make my daughter laugh with me and at me, the self-discipline to discipline her even when it eats me up inside. Lord who walks with me, allow me to walk in your ways, so that she may walk in your ways, to live a life full of the ethics and values that I want her to hold dear, to discern between right and wrong so that I can teach her the difference. Just as I hope and pray that You will bless her and protect her, permit me to bless and protect her. Most of all, My Strength, when I am not there, provide my child with the strength to protect herself, and protect others as well. Permit her to recognize the divine spark within her so that she may cling to You.
Shabbat Shalom my daughter.
-Rabbi Jesse M. Olitzky
These words first appeared in Jewish Men Pray, published by Jewish Lights Publishing, and available on Amazon.