SECTION 116 The Meaning of the Blessing Refaeinu and the Laws Relating to It. (1)

סימן קטז פֵּרוּשׁ בִּרְכַּת רְפָאֵנוּ וְדִינָהּ וּבוֹ סָעִיף אֶחָד:

1 [The request we make in Shemoneh Esreh,] “Heal us, O G‑d, and we will be healed; deliver us...,” is an adaptation of the verse,1 “Heal me, O G‑d, and I will be healed; deliver me and I will be saved, for You are my praise.” One should therefore not say, “Heal us G‑d, our L‑rd,” but should echo the wording of the verse.

Even though [as a rule, when] a verse is written in the singular, we should not paraphrase it in the plural, here we use plural terms for a verse that uses the singular. In explanation, some authorities argue that the above prohibition applies only when one intends to read a verse or translate it; only then is one not permitted to change the wording of Scripture. When, by contrast, one recites it as a prayer or a request, [the wording of] the verse may be adapted to one’s current needs and to the nature of the supplication or request.

Other authorities maintain that the rationale [for the above leniency] is that the prohibition against changing [the wording] applies only when one is reciting the entire psalm or passage in order. In such an instance, even if one is reciting it as a prayer or a request, it is forbidden to alter [its wording]. When, however, one is praying and citing verses here and there, one may change [the wording] from the singular to the plural and from the plural to the singular.

One should be stringent [and follow] their rulings, never to change an entire psalm from singular to plural or the reverse, even when reciting it as a prayer. In addition, one should not alter [the wording] of even a [single] verse unless it is being recited as a prayer or a request, as explained according to the first opinion. ([The rationale is that] even according to the latter opinion, it is possible that license [to alter the wording of a verse] was granted only in such a situation.)2

א "רְפָאֵנוּ ה' וְנֵרָפֵא הוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ כו'" הוּא לְשׁוֹן הַכָּתוּבא,1 "רְפָאֵנִי ה' וְאֵרָפֵא הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי וְאִוָּשֵׁעָה כִּי תְהִלָּתִי אָתָּה", לְפִיכָךְ אֵין לוֹמַר "רְפָאֵנוּ ה' אֱלֹקֵינוּ" אֶלָּא בִּלְשׁוֹן הַכָּתוּב.ב

וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהַכָּתוּב לַיָּחִיד אֵין מְכַנִּין אוֹתוֹ לָרַבִּיםג וְכָאן אוֹמְרִים בִּלְשׁוֹן רַבִּים מַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב בִּלְשׁוֹן יָחִיד – יֵשׁ אוֹמְרִיםד שֶׁהַטַּעַם הוּא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא אָסְרוּ אֶלָּא בִּזְמַן שֶׁמִּתְכַוֵּן לִקְרוֹת אוֹ לְתַרְגֵּם, שֶׁאֵינוֹ רַשַּׁאי לְשַׁנּוֹת מִלְּשׁוֹן הַכָּתוּב, אֲבָל כְּשֶׁאוֹמֵר דֶּרֶךְ תְּפִלָּה וּבַקָּשָׁה – מֻתָּר לְשַׁנּוֹת הַפָּסוּק לְפִי צֹרֶךְ הַשָּׁעָה וּלְפִי עִנְיַן הַתְּחִנָּה וּבַקָּשָׁה. וְיֵשׁ אוֹמְרִיםה שֶׁהַטַּעַם הוּא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא אָסְרוּ לְשַׁנּוֹת אֶלָּא כְּשֶׁקּוֹרֵא כָּל הַמִּזְמוֹר אוֹ כָּל הָעִנְיָן כַּסֵּדֶר, וְאָז אֲפִלּוּ דֶּרֶךְ תְּפִלָּה וּבַקָּשָׁה אָסוּר לְשַׁנּוֹת, אֲבָל כְּשֶׁמִּתְפַּלֵּל וְאוֹמֵר פְּסוּקִים הֵנָּה וָהֵנָּה – יָכוֹל לְשַׁנּוֹת מִיָּחִיד לְרַבִּים וּמֵרַבִּים לְיָחִיד. וְיֵשׁ לְהַחְמִיר כְּדִבְרֵיהֶם שֶׁלֹּא לְשַׁנּוֹת מִזְמוֹר שָׁלֵםו מִיָּחִיד לְרַבִּים אוֹ לְהֵפֶךְ אֲפִלּוּ דֶּרֶךְ תְּפִלָּה, וְגַם פָּסוּק לֹא יְשַׁנֶּה אֶלָּא כְּשֶׁאוֹמְרוֹ דֶּרֶךְ תְּפִלָּה וּבַקָּשָׁה כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּאֵר לַסְּבָרָא הָרִאשׁוֹנָהז (לְפִיח שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁגַּם לַסְּבָרָא הָאַחֲרוֹנָה לֹא הִתִּירוּ אֶלָּא בְּדֶרֶךְ זֶה):2