Hebrew Prayer for Healing – The Beautiful Mi Shebeirach
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We all know that prayer is powerful but sometimes it can be hard to know what to say or how to pray for healing. The Hebrew prayer for healing, Mi Shebeirach, is a beautiful prayer that has been used for centuries.
This Hebrew prayer for healing can be said for anyone who is ill, whether they are near or far away, whether for yourself or another. It is relatively simple and can be easily learned by anyone.
In this article, we will provide a guide on how to say this prayer in addition to the traditional song written for this prayer. Read on to learn more!
What is the Hebrew Prayer for Healing?
This traditional prayer for healing is known as the “Mi Shebeirach,” and is said in times of sickness or physical need.
The prayer originated in Babylonia in about the 12th century, as a means to bless the congregation. It was not said as a prayer for healing at that time. It was only said during Torah services, which would have been on Mondays, Thursdays, and Shabbat.
It wasn’t until about the 1980s actually that the Mi Shebeirach for the sick could be found and, according to Rabbi Dina Rosenberg, it was only in a Rabbi’s manual.
Rabbi Rosenberg also notes that, historically, the people were not empowered to say the Mi Shebeirach and they at one time did not even have a copy for themselves.
It is a beautiful prayer that asks for God’s strength and healing power to be brought down to those who are suffering.
Mi Shebeirach is traditionally said by the rabbi or cantor during services, but today, as everyone can access a copy of the prayer, it can also be said by individuals on their own.
How to Say the Hebrew Prayer for Healing
This is the Hebrew Prayer for Healing both in English and Hebrew:
May the One who blessed our ancestors,
The Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
The Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah,
bless and heal the one who is ill:
NAME son/daughter of NAME .
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, complete healing,
healing of the soul and healing of the body,
along with all the sick, among the people of Israel and all humankind,
soon, speedily, and without delay,
and let us all say: Amen!
In transliterated Hebrew the Mi Shebeirach prayer (it is sometimes spelled in different ways such as Mi Sheberach – where you see a / the Hebrew word to the left of it is the masculine form and to the right is the feminine) is:
Avoteinu: Avraham, Yitzhak, v’Yaakov,
v’Imoteinu: Sarah, Rivka, Rachel v’Leah,
Hu yivarech virapei
et hacholeh/hacholah NAME ben/bat NAME
HaKadosh Baruch Hu
yimalei rachamim alav/aleha,
V’yishlach lo/lah bim-hera
r’fuah shlemah, r’fu-at hanefesh u-r’fu-at hagoof,
b’toch sh’ar cholei Yisrael v’cholei yoshvei tevel,
hashta ba’agalah u-vizman kariv,
Mi Shebeirach – The Musical Hebrew Prayer for Healing
There is a beautiful musical version of the Hebrew prayer for healing that is often played in services or sung by family and friends.
The song is soothing and calming and can be a great way to bring comfort to those who are ill or in need of healing.
It was written by Debbie Friedman, and is, of course, called “Mi Shebeirach.”
The words are similar to the prayer above as are as follows (I will also insert a video below so you can hear the song)
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
When to Say This Hebrew Prayer for Healing
The prayer can be said at any time but, as noted earlier, is often said during services as corporate prayer. But individuals say it as well for loved ones or those in the hospital, etc.
It is a beautiful way to ask for God’s strength and healing power to be brought down to those who are suffering.
Make a list of people in need of healing as you pray or sing.
It could be a family member, a friend, a member of your congregation – whoever is in need. And think about those individuals as you just sing the song or pray the prayer.
There are no set rules on when you can pray for someone’s healing. God is accessible to us at any time!
Prayer for Healing in the Liturgy
Praying for healing is so core to Judaism that it is even included in the weekday liturgical prayers known as Shacharit, Mincha, and Maariv (the prayer for healing is not said during the Amidah on Shabbat and Festivals).
Three times each day, observant Jews all over the world recite the Amidah, which is a central prayer in Jewish liturgy.
Amidah is Hebrew for “standing,” as the prayer is recited while standing. It is also commonly known as the Shemoneh Esrei (שמנה עשרה), which means “eighteen,” as it originally consisted of eighteen blessings.
The prayer (on weekdays) consists of three parts: Praise; national and personal requests; and thanksgiving. While the first and last sections usually remain the same, the middle can vary (as on Shabbat, New Moons, and Festivals).
The 8th blessing is the prayer for healing and it says:
Heal us, Lord, and we shall be healed.
Save us and we shall be saved,
for you are our praise.
Bring complete recovery for all our ailments.
The following prayer for a sick person may be said here:
May it be your will, O Lord my God and God of my ancestors, that You speedily send a complete recovery from heaven, a healing of both soul and body, to the patient (name), son/daughter of (mother’s name) among the other afflicted of Israel.
for You, God, King, are a faithful and compassionate Healer.
Blessed are You, Lord, Healer of the sick of His people Israel.
Benefits of Saying the Prayer for Healing
Saying the Hebrew prayer for healing can be a very powerful and moving experience.
For one, it is a beautiful way to connect with the God of our ancestors and ask for His strength and for complete r’fuah sh’leimah, complete renewal of body and full recovery, to be brought down to those who are suffering.
There is something so beautiful about praying for someone in Hebrew. Even when we don’t know every single word being said, we don’t need to.
The Lord Himself knows and there is something special about connecting with others praying corporately for this person and allowing God to take our prayer, without us inserting our own specifics into it, and letting God be God.
The prayer can also bring comfort and peace to those who are ill or in need of healing of body or spirit.
When you sing the prayer or pray it over them, it can be a source of comfort for them.
Again, even when people don’t understand the words (and you can say the English afterward) there is just something so incredibly comforting about hearing a prayer spoken in Hebrew.
I just cannot explain it but the language itself carries its own peace and comfort with it.
There is nothing like praying Hebrew prayer.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about the Mi Shebeirach!
We are currently working on a course that will teach Jewish prayer for those Jewish believers who maybe have been raised in the church and want to begin to connect with their Jewish identity, specifically in prayer (for home and in synagogue) and for those who are not Jewish but want to learn more and join with Israel in prayer as well!
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Amidah prayer taken from The Koren Shalem Siddur – Nusach Ashkenaz, First Hebrew/English Edition 2019