Mi Sheberakh: May the One Who Blessed

The traditional Jewish prayer for the sick

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Reprinted with permission of the National Center for Jewish Healing, a program of the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services.

One of the central Jewish prayers for those who are ill or recovering from illness or accidents is the Mi Sheberakh, whose name is taken from its first two Hebrew words. With a holistic view of humankind, it prays for physical cure as well as spiritual healing, asking for blessing, compassion, restoration, and strength, within the community of others facing illness as well as all Jews, all human beings.

Traditionally, the Mi Sheberakh is said in synagogue when the Torah is read. If the patient herself/himself cannot be at services, a close relative or friend might be called up to the Torah for an honor, and the one leading services will offer this prayer, filling in the name of the one who is ill and her/his parents

jewish prayer for the sick

Increasingly, the Mi Sheberakh has moved into other settings and other junctures. Chaplains, doctors, nurses, and social workers are now joining patients and those close to them in saying the Mi Sheberakh at various junctures--before and after surgery, during treatments, upon admission or discharge, on the anniversary of diagnosis, and more. We present it to you here, in English translation and in transliteration from the Hebrew, as a resource for you as you confront the challenges of illness.

Please note: The transliterated text below presents the prayer with correct pronouns for male and female patients. The word before the slash is for males, the one after for females.

The prayer in English translation

May the One who blessed our ancestors --

Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah --

bless and heal the one who is ill:

________________ son/daughter of ________________ .

May the Holy Blessed One

overflow with compassion upon him/her,

to restore him/her,

to heal him/her,

to strengthen him/her,

to enliven him/her.

The One will send him/her, speedily,

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Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub

Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, CSW, is the Rabbinic Director of the National Center for Jewish Healing and the New York Jewish Healing Center.