A healing prayer for when a loved one is suffering

In last week’s Torah portion Miriam and Aaron talk about the „Cushite woman“ whom Moses has married. In addition, they complain that God speaks not only through Moses but also through them. As a result, Miriam is struck with tzara’at, often translated as leprosy. In an interesting twist of the story, Moses shows a deep love for his sister and begs God to heal her. Tradition understands this short intervention as the foundation for  our healing prayers we say when someone we love is sick.  Below are two texts we often use in the service, but can be used by everyone, at anytime:

Mi Shebeirach avoteinu v’imoteinu, Avraham, Yitzchak v’Yaakov, Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel v’Lei-ah, hu y’vareich et hacholim [names]. HaKadosh Baruch Hu yimalei
rachamim aleihem, l’hachalimam ul’rapotam ul’hachazikam, v’yishlach lahem m’heirah r’fuah, r’fuah shleimah min hashamayim, r’fuat hanefesh ur’fuat haguf, hashta baagala uviz’man kariv. V’nomar: Amen.

May the one who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, bless and heal those who are ill [names]. May the Blessed Holy One be filled with compassion for their health to be restored and their strength to be revived. May God swiftly send them a complete renewal of body and spirit, and let us say, Amen.

(A musical version can be found here: https://youtu.be/2og0YFpzdhA)

The following Mi Sheberach prayer and song was written by Debbie Friedman:

Mi shebeirach avoteinu
M’kor hab’racha l’imoteinu
May the source of strength,
Who blessed the ones before us,
Help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing,
and let us say, Amen.
Mi shebeirach imoteinu
M’kor habrachah l’avoteinu
Bless those in need of healing with r’fuah sh’leimah,
The renewal of body, the renewal of spirit,
And let us say, Amen

(A musical version can be found here: https://youtu.be/uxAw8Z-3qOc)

Wishing you a blessed Shabbat and a good health.

Rabbi Adrian M Schell

(Source Mishkan Tefila Page 371)


Vayetze: Bargaining with God ?

1280xParashat Vayetze tells of Jacob’s travels to Haran, his sojourn there, and his return to Canaan. It recounts Jacob’s first meeting with Rachel, his time working for Laban, living with Rachel and Leah, and the birth of all his children save Benjamin. Jacob has a dream in which he sees a ladder set upon the earth reaching up to the heavens. God appears at the top of the ladder and promises Jacob he will inherit the land of Canaan. He promises Jacob, saying: „Remember I am with you.” Jacob wakes up and offers the first recorded Jewish prayer in the Bible:
„If God remains with me; if He protects me on this journey that I am making and gives me bread to eat and clothes to wear, and if I return safely to my father’s house – the Eternal will be my God …“
There is something troubling about Jacob’s prayer. It sounds more like Jacob is saying ‚let’s make a deal‘ than the exalted theological language we would expect from one of our forefathers. More than that, his vow is strange because he seems to be asking for the very things that God has already promised him!
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