Prayers for Healing

Please note that this page contain the name of God.
If you print it out, please treat it with appropriate respect.

If you do not have experience reading transliteration
please see the Guide to Transliteration.

As I write this page, COVID-19, the coronavirus, is sweeping across the world, and the need for this long-overdue page is more obvious than ever. Below are two common prayers for healing.

Refuah Shleima (show) (hide)

This blessing is part of the weekday Amidah, a prayer recited three times a day by observant Jews. This specific blessing is not recited on Shabbat or holidays because we do not make requests on such days, but it is a standard part of all other services.

This is not a prayer for the health of a single individual, but a communal prayer for the healing of all illness in the community. Mi Shebeirach, below, is a prayer for the healing of a specific person.

Hebrew
R'fa'einu, Adonai, v'neirafei
Heal us, Adonai, and we shall be healed
Hebrew
hoshi'einu v'nivashei'ah ki t'hilateinu atah
save us and we shall be saved, for You are our praise.
Hebrew
v'ha'alei r'fu'ah sh'leimah l'khol macoteinu
bring complete healing for all of our ailments
Hebrew
ki eil melekh rofei ne'eman v'rachaman atah.
because you are God, King, faithful and compassionate healer.
Hebrew
Barukh atah Adonai, rofei cholei amo Yis'ra'eil.
Blessed are you, Lord, who heals the sick of his people Israel.

Mi Shebeirach (show) (hide)

Mi Shebeirach is a standard prayer for healing recited by one person on behalf of another who is ill or injured. There are many different versions of this prayer. The version below is the one that is normally read in synagogue during the Torah reading between aliyot (portions of the reading), but it is appropriate to recite at any time there is a need.

When we ask G-d for a blessing or healing, it is customary to make a gift to charity, and the text below mentions that gift. If you have no intention of making such a gift, you should skip the portion highlighted in yellow below that refers to the gift.

There are different versions below for men and for women. This is not a sexist thing. It is mostly because Hebrew requires many minor changes to express things in feminine or masuline form; it's more than just he/she and him/her, as you can see below. The only difference in the text is the reference to 248 and 365 body parts, which is a traditional understanding of the male body and adds up to 613, the number of commandmants a man is obligated to follow. Women have different body structure and are exempt from some of the 613 commandments, so the numbers are removed in the part for women.

Note that when the name of the sick one is mentioned, it uses the mother's name instead of the father's name. Tradition teaches that the spiritual essence is passed through the mother, which is why traditionally Jewish identity passes through the mother. Also, in a practical sense, the identity of the mother is certain while the identity of the father is not always, as modern DNA testing sometimes shows, and we want to identify the exact right person. For me, it always makes me think of Jeremiah 31:15, the image of Rachel weaping for her children, and seeking mercy through a weaping mother.

Healing for a male (show) (hide)

Hebrew
Mi shebeirakh avoteinu
The one who blessed our ancestors
Hebrew
Av'raham, Yitz'chak v'Ya'akov, Mosheh, Aharon, David uSh'lomoh
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses, Aaron, David and Solomon,
Hebrew
hu y'vareikh virapei et hacholeh
may He bless and heal the sick one
Hebrew
[Patient's name] ben [Mother's name]
[Patient's name] son of [Mother's name]
Hebrew
ba'avur sheh [donor's name]
because [donor's name]
Hebrew
yitein litz'dakah ba'avuro. Bis'khar zeh
pledged charity for his sake. In this merit
Hebrew
hakadosh barukh hu yimalei rachamim alav
may the Holy One, blessed be He, be filled with mercy for him
Hebrew
l'hachalimo ul'rapo'to ul'hachaziko ul'hachayoto
to restore him to health and to cure him and to strengthen him and to invigorate him.
Hebrew
v'yish'lach lo m'heirah r'fu'ah sh'leimah min hashamaiyim
And may He promptly send him complete healing from the heavens
Hebrew
lir'ma"ch eivarav v'shasa"h gidav
to his 248 bodily parts and 365 veins
Hebrew
b'tokh sh'ar cholei Yis'ra'eil
among the other sick people of Israel
Hebrew
r'fu'at hanefesh ur'fu'at haguf
healing of the soul and healing of the body
Hebrew
v'no'mar amein,
and let us say Amen.

Healing for a female (show) (hide)

Hebrew
Mi shebeirakh avoteinu
The one who blessed our ancestors
Hebrew
Av'raham, Yitz'chak v'Ya'akov, Mosheh, Aharon, David uSh'lomoh
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Moses, Aaron, David and Solomon,
Hebrew
hu y'vareikh virapei et hacholah
may He bless and heal the sick one
Hebrew
[Patient's name] baht [Mother's name]
[Patient's name] daughter of [Mother's name]
Hebrew
ba'avur sheh [donor's name]
because [donor's name]
Hebrew
yitein litz'dakah ba'avurah. Bis'khar zeh
pledged charity for his sake. In this merit
Hebrew
hakadosh barukh hu yimalei rachamim aleha
may the Holy One, blessed be He, be filled with mercy for her
Hebrew
l'hachalima ul'rapo'tah ul'hachazikah ul'hachayotah
to restore her to health and to cure her and to strengthen her and to invigorate her.
Hebrew
v'yish'lach lah m'heirah r'fu'ah sh'leimah min hashamaiyim
And may He promptly send her complete healing from the heavens
Hebrew
b'khol eivareha v'gideha
to all her body parts and veins
Hebrew
b'tokh sh'ar cholei Yis'ra'eil
among the other sick people of Israel
Hebrew
r'fu'at hanefesh ur'fu'at haguf
healing of the soul and healing of the body
Hebrew
v'no'mar amein,
and let us say Amen.

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