בסיעתא דשמיא

בִּרְכָּת הָבָּיִת | Birkat Habayit: Blessing for the Home


בְּזֶה הַשַּׁעַר לֹא יָבוֹא צַעַר.
בְּזֹאת הַדִּירָה לֹא תָבוֹא צָרָה.
בְּזֹאת הַדֶּלֶת לֺא תָבוֹא בֶּהָלָה.
בְּזֹאת הַמַּחְלָקָה לֺא תָבוֹא מַחְלוֺקֶת.
בְּזֶה הַמָּקוֺם תְּהִי בְרָכָה וְשָׁלוֺם.
Let no sadness come through this gate.
Let no trouble come to this dwelling.
Let no fear come through this door.
Let no conflict be in this place.
Let this home be filled with blessing and peace.

וְעָ֥שׂוּ לִ֖י מִקְדָּ֑שׁ וְשָׁכַנְתִּ֖י בְּתוֹכָֽם׃
And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.

בְּ֭חָכְמָה יִבָּ֣נֶה בָּ֑יִת וּ֝בִתְבוּנָ֗ה יִתְכּוֹנָֽן׃
וּ֭בְדַעַת חֲדָרִ֣ים יִמָּלְא֑וּ כָּל־ה֖וֹן יָקָ֣ר וְנָעִֽים׃
Through Ḥokhma (Wisdom) is a house built; And with Binah (Understanding) it is established;
And with Da’at (Knowledge) are its chambers filled With all precious and pleasant riches.

מַה טֹּבוּ אֹהָלֶיךָ יַעֲקֹב מִשְׁכְּנֹתֶיךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל.
How excellent are your tents, O Ya’akov, your dwellings, Yisrael!

The Birkat Habayit is perhaps the most popular blessing in the Jewish world, appearing as a hanging amulet inside the entrance of many houses of Jews of all streams. I have added niqud to the blessing and I am very grateful to Gabriel Wasserman for his corrections to my vocalization.

The theurgical power of scriptural verse is one very significant element that distinguishes Jewish prayer from other literary prayer praxes. At least three verses seems apropos to me. The first two are suggested by Ilene Winn-Lederer. Exodus 25:8 associates ones own house with the archetypal mishkan, the dwelling place intended for the shekhina (Divine Presence). The second verse, from Proverbs 24:3-4, is prescriptive. When I asked for an accompanying verse from the TaNaKh to the popular Blessing for the Home on the Open Siddur Project Discussion Group on Facebook, Rabbi Alona Lisista offered the verse of blessing given by Bilaam the prophet in Numbers 24:5 upon seeing with his own eyes the wandering camp of the Israelites. These three verses, I think, help to ground the intention of the blessing in the context of the Jewish imagination.

The provenance and original authorship of the formula is unknown. I have not been able to locate its earliest attestation in a kameya (amulet) although a variation of it appears in a printed amulet for protection against plague, dated from 1925 in Hungary and attributed to Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum (1759-1841).

Amulet for Protection Against Plaugues, attributed to Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum (1759-1841) Hungary, 1925

Amulet for Protection Against Plaugues, attributed to Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum (1759-1841) Hungary, 1925

Exodus 25:8
Proverbs 24:3-4
Bilaam the prophet from Numbers 24:5

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