Mi Shebeirach: The Traditional Jewish Prayer for the Sick
When there are sick people within our community or family, it is our duty to lift them up in prayer and ask for healing and restoration for them. The traditional Jewish prayer for the ill is known in Hebrew as the “mi shebeirach (מי שברך),” and its purpose is to ask for blessing, mercy, and strength for those facing illness. Though its specific origin is not clear, it dates back as far as the Middle Ages.
Often times, this prayer is recited in synagogues during the time of the Torah service as a way to remember and lift up individuals who are sick within the community. This specific prayer is not just said during Torah services, however, it can also be recited on other occasions such as when you visit an ill person. The action of taking care of or visiting someone who is sick is called “bikur cholim (ביקור חולים)” in Hebrew and is considered a mitzvah (מצוה).
Below is the English translation of the traditional Jewish prayer for the sick:
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:
(name of sick individual) ________________ son/daughter of: (traditionally the mother’s name is added here) _______________.
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 a complete healing — healing of the soul and healing of the body — along with all the ill, among the people of Israel and all humankind, soon, speedily, without delay, and let us all say: Amen!
We hope that this traditional prayer be useful to you as you remember and ask for healing for the sick among you.