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What Is a Mi Sheberach?

What Is a Mi Sheberach?

Prayers for people in need of healing, new mothers, babies and others

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A “mi sheberach” is a public prayer or blessing for an individual or group, most often recited in synagogue when the Torah is being read. Because it is not an officially mandated prayer, there is a lot of room for creativity regarding whom to bless or how they can be blessed. Thus, there are mi sheberachs for just about any person in need of some divine goodness—most notably those requiring healing.

When we petition G‑d to bring blessing or healing, it is customary to do so in merit of charity pledged. So if you request that a mi sheberach be said in your synagogue on someone’s behalf, make sure to give some charity as well (of course not on Shabbat).

The prayer takes its name from its opening words, “mi sheberach,” “[May He] who blesses.” The standard opening line reads, “May He who blesses our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless . . .” and then continues with a personalized blessing.

Here is the Hebrew text and English translation of some of the most common mi sheberachs as they are found in the Chabad siddur:

To be said after someone receives an aliyah to the Torah on Shabbat or festivals:

May He who blessed our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless (name) son of (father's name), because he has come up for the honor of God, for the honor of the Torah and for the honor of the Shabbat (on festivals add: and for the honor of the festival). In this merit may the Holy One, blessed be He, protect and deliver him from all trouble and distress, and from all affliction and illness, and may He send blessing and success to all his endeavors (on festivals add: and may he be privileged to go up to the Beit Hamikdash for the festivals), together with all Israel his brethren; and let us say, Amen.

This mi sheberach is often modified to mention a donation given and to specific family members or friends to be included in the blessing.

Prayer for an ill male to be said on weekdays:

May He who blessed our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses and Aaron, David and Solomon, heal (sick person's Hebrew name and that of his mother), because (Hebrew name of the person who pledged charity for the sake of the sick person and that of his/her father) pledged charity, without a vow, for his sake. In this merit may the Holy One, blessed be He, be filled with mercy for him, to restore him to health and to cure him, to strengthen him and to invigorate him. And may He hasten to send him from heaven a complete recovery to his 248 bodily parts and 365 veins, among the other sick people of Israel, a healing of spirit and a healing of body; and let us say, Amen.

Prayer for an ill female to be said on weekdays:

May He who blessed our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses and Aaron, David and Solomon, heal (sick person's Hebrew name and that of her mother), because (Hebrew name of the person who pledged charity for the sake of the sick person and that of his/her father) pledged charity, without a vow, for her sake. In this merit may the Holy One, blessed be He, be filled with mercy for her, to restore her to health and to cure her, to strengthen her and to invigorate her. And may He hasten to send her from heaven a complete recovery to all her bodily parts and veins, among the other sick people of Israel, a healing of spirit and a healing of body; and let us say, Amen.

Prayer for an ill person to be said on Shabbat or festivals:

May He who blessed our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses and Aaron, David and Solomon, bless the sick person (name) the son of (mother's name) because (donor's name) pledged charity, without a vow, for his/her sake. It is Shabbat when it is forbidden to plead; healing will come soon; and let us say, Amen.

Prayer for a woman who just gave birth to a baby girl (this also doubles as the baby naming):

May He who blessed our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses and Aaron, David and Solomon, bless the woman who has given birth (Hebrew name and that of her mother) together with the daughter who was born to her in an auspicious time, her name shall be called in Israel (announce the Hebrew name of the newborn and that of her father), because her husband, the child's father, has pledged charity, without a vow, for their sakes. In this merit, may they raise her to Torah, to marriage and to good deeds; and let us say, Amen.

Prayer for a woman who just gave birth to a baby boy:

May He who blessed our fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses and Aaron, David and Solomon, bless the woman who has given birth (Hebrew name and that of her mother) together with the son born to her in an auspicious time, because her husband, the child's father, has pledged charity, without a vow, for their sakes. In this merit, may they be privileged to bring him into the Covenant of Abraham our father, and to raise him to Torah, to marriage and to good deeds; and let us say, Amen.

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