In Hebrew, reads: Refuah Shleima(essentially, get well soon).
Tune name: Mi Shebeirach
“Mi shebeirach” is Hebrew for “the One who blessed,” and it is a prayer that asks the One who blessed our ancestors to grant healing from physical, mental, or spiritual affliction. It is said or sung collectively on Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath) and most festivals. Many temples have a “Mi shebeirach list” for people who have chronic conditions, are undergoing medical procedures, or who are nearing the ends of their lives. As we are all in need of thoughts of healing and wellness now, I thought that this would be an appropriate and comforting song to hear from the bells of Goddard Chapel.
The version that many Reform and Conservative Jewish people sing is by Debbie Friedman (1951-2011) who recorded it in 1988. Debbie Friedman was a prolific folk singer-songwriter who focused on Jewish liturgical music and recorded 22 albums between 1971 and 2010. She said that her primary influences were the singer Joan Baez, and the band Peter, Paul, and Mary. Friedman was an ardent feminist, particularly where Jewish worship practices were concerned, and quietly led her life as a lesbian, though the first time her sexuality was made public was in her New York Times obituary. She suffered from a multiple-sclerosis-like neurological condition for the last twenty years of her life and died just before her 60th birthday in 2011. The lyrics of her setting are:
Mi shebeirach avoteinu
M’kor ha-b’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 ha-b’racha l’avoteinu
Bless those in need of healing with
The renewal of body,
The renewal of spirit,
And let us say: Amen.
These lyrics are a slightly condensed, versified version of a longer, spoken prayer that translates to:
May the One who blessed our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
And our mothers Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel,
Bless and heal these ones who are injured, ill, or sick at heart.
May the Holy One of blessing be filled with compassion for them,
To restore and heal, strengthen and enliven, and quickly send them a complete healing,
A healing of soul and a healing of body, among all others who are stricken,
Speedily, soon, and without delay. And let us say: Amen.
If you, your loved ones, or your friends are in need of prayers or thoughts of healing, the Tufts University Chaplaincy is always here for you and can be reached by emailing email@example.com. All of our chaplains are trained to support you, no matter your religious or philosophical worldview(s).
A sign of the times: two members of Temple Solel of Paradise Valley sing Mi shebeirach as a collaboration on the music app “Acapella” which enables musicians to sing or play with their friends and colleagues at a distance. https://youtu.be/0JG0-LZXKsw