Illness & Healing

Recovering from Illness


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Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my cry; do not disregard my tears; for like all my forebears I am an alien, resident with You. Look away from me, that I may recover, before I pass away and am gone.
שִֽׁמְעָ֥ה־תְפִלָּתִ֨י ׀ יְהוָ֡ה וְשַׁוְעָתִ֨י ׀ הַאֲזִינָה֮ אֶֽל־דִּמְעָתִ֗י אַֽל־תֶּ֫חֱרַ֥שׁ כִּ֤י גֵ֣ר אָנֹכִ֣י עִמָּ֑ךְ תּ֝וֹשָׁ֗ב כְּכָל־אֲבוֹתָֽי׃ הָשַׁ֣ע מִמֶּ֣נִּי וְאַבְלִ֑יגָה בְּטֶ֖רֶם אֵלֵ֣ךְ וְאֵינֶֽנִּי׃

Prayer for the caregiver

Please walk beside me through this day. Clear the heavy air with the lightness of Your Presence. Guide my hands and steady my heart that I may give comfort when I cannot give hope, that I may give relief when I do not have a cure, and that I may radiate Your healing peace when the limits of science, time, and the human body overwhelm us all.
from Beliefnet

Traditional Hebrew Prayer

Mi Shebeirach avoteinu v’imoteinu,
Avraham, Yitzchak v’Yaakov, Sarah, Rivkah,
Rachel v’Lei-ah, hu y’vareich et
[name]. 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 [name]. 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.

Short traditional prayer

ברוך אתה יי, רופא החולים
Baruch atah Adonai, rofei hacholim.
We praise you, God, healer of the sick.

Traditional prayer for the individual

Elohai neshamah she’natata bi, tehora hi:

My God,
the breath
You have given me
Is pure and refreshing;
You create it. You form it,
You breathe it into me,
and You keep me breathing.
One day-
You will take
It from me;
I will have breathed
My last breath
In this body,
And You will
Resuscitate me
To the life of the spirit.
With every breath
Still in me,
I thank You, my God,
God of my forebears,
Sustenance of all spirits,
Master of all that happens.
I worship You – Yah,
Who with each breath,
Gives me life anew.

from the daily liturgy


Numbers 12:10 – 13

As the cloud withdrew from the Tent, there was Miriam stricken with snow-white scales! When Aaron turned toward Miriam, he saw that she was stricken with scales. And Aaron said to Moses, “O my lord, account not to us the sin which we committed in our folly. Let her not be as one dead, who emerges from his mother’s womb with half his flesh eaten away.” So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, “O God, pray heal her!”



Psalm 30

A psalm of David.
A song for the dedication of the House.
I extol You, O LORD, for You have lifted me up, and not let my enemies rejoice over me.
O LORD, my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me.
O LORD, You brought me up from Sheol, preserved me from going down into the Pit.
O you faithful of the LORD, sing to Him, and praise His holy name.
For He is angry but a moment, and when He is pleased there is life. One may lie down weeping at nightfall; but at dawn there are shouts of joy.
When I was untroubled, I thought, “I shall never be shaken,”
for You, O Lord, when You were pleased, made [me] firm as a mighty mountain. When You hid Your face, I was terrified.
I called to You, O LORD; to my Lord I made appeal,
“What is to be gained from my death, from my descent into the Pit? Can dust praise You? Can it declare Your faithfulness?
Hear, O LORD, and have mercy on me; O LORD, be my help!”
You turned my lament into dancing, you undid my sackcloth and girded me with joy,
that [my] whole being might sing hymns to You endlessly; O LORD my God, I will praise You forever.

Psalm 6: 3 – 6

Have mercy on me, O LORD, for I languish; heal me, O LORD, for my bones shake with terror.
My whole being is stricken with terror, while You, LORD—O, how long!
O LORD, turn! Rescue me! Deliver me as befits Your faithfulness.
For there is no praise of You among the dead; in Sheol, who can acclaim You?


The Physician’s Prayer

My God, heal me and I shall be healed,
Let not Thine anger be kindled against me so that I be consumed.
My medicines are of Thee, whether good
Or evil, whether strong or weak.
It is Thou who shalt choose, not I;
Of Thy knowledge is the evil and the fair.
Not upon my power of healing I rely;
Only for Thine healing do I watch.

Translated by Nina Salaman, from Heinrich Brody, ed., Selected Poems of Jehudah Halevi (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1924, 1952). Copyright © 1952 by The Jewish Publication Society of America.



I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

—Jane Kenyon (d)


The Proverbs 31 Nurse

Who can find a good-natured Nurse?
For her price is far above silver and gold.
She seeks medicines and skills,
and works willingly with others.
She gives of herself
and considers her own desires last.
A heartwarming smile is hers,
and is made beautiful in her eyes.
She girds herself with honor
and strengthens her ability with patience.
She perceives that her work is good.
Her candle does not go out by night.
She lays her hands upon understanding.
She stretches out her hand to the poor;
yet, she reaches forth hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of sorrow,
for her trust is in God.
Pride and humility are her clothing,
and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with comfort,
and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
Her associates rise up and call her blessed;
her patients also praise her kindness.
Many daughters have helped others,
but you excel them all.
Favor is deceitful,
and beauty is vain.
But a Nurse that
fears the Lord —
She shall be praised!

 Lois Sigmon Turley, RN


Mi Shebeirach

םי שברך אבותינו מקור הברכה לאמותנו

mi sheberach 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.

מי שברך אמותינו מקור הברכה לאבותינו

Mi shebeirach imoteinu m’kor hab’racha la-avoiteinu

Bless those in need of healing with r’fuah sh’leimah,

The renewal of body, the renewal of spirit,

And let us say Amen.

Debbie Friedman (d)