Jewish man reading from the Torah scroll during a service.

The Hebrew prayer for healing: Mi Shebeirach

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The Mi Shebeirach is one of the primary Hebrew prayers for healing. It’s often recited in a synagogue at services where the Torah is read, but it can also be read at the bedside of someone who is sick or by anyone who wishes to pray for healing and strength. 

The contents of this Hebrew healing prayer asks God to restore, heal, and strengthen both the body and soul of those who are sick. During a service in a synagogue, multiple names may be recited together and congregants may be invited to speak the names of those they would like added to the list. 

This information has been reviewed by Jamie Sarche, director of pre-planning at a funeral home that has been serving the Jewish community and beyond for almost 90 years. 

Read more: Jewish memorial service traditions and etiquette

English translation of Mi Shebeirach

Mi Shebeirach is a Hebrew prayer for strength and healing. It begins by calling upon the God of our ancestors, patriarchs and matriarchs, to bless and heal the sick. It continues by praying for God’s compassion and swift action to heal and strengthen the body and soul of those who suffer. 

There are multiple English translations of the Hebrew. This is one version:

May the One who blessed our ancestors, 

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 

Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, 

Bless and heal _________________. 

May the Holy Blessed One be filled with compassion for their health to be restored and their strength to be revived. 

May God heal him/her soon, body and soul, together with others who suffer illness. 

And let us say: Amen

Debbie Friedman’s Mi Shebeirach song

In many synagogues in the U.S., congregants sing a version of Mi Shebeirach written by the songwriter Debbie Friedman. This song combines English and Hebrew and is often accompanied by guitar or piano. These are the lyrics:

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

Who should you say the Mi Shebeirach for?

  • Someone who is physically sick
  • Someone who is struggling with their mental health
  • A close friend or family member who has a prolonged illness
  • A community, nation, or group of people that are struggling
  • In general, to offer a prayer for strength to anyone in need of healing, especially those who may not have others praying for them

Read more: 10 sympathy message examples to help you create your own

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