THE TWENTY-THIRD PSALM
Adonai (YHVH) is my shepherd; I shall not want for anything.
I am given green pastures to lie down in;
I am led beside still waters.
My soul is restored to me;
I am guided in the straight paths for the sake of THE NAME.
Even though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death,
I will not fear evil,
For You are by my side;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a festive table for me in the presence of those who despise me;
You have anointed my head with oil (You have made me Your messiah);
my cup is overfull.
Goodness and mercy shall surely follow me
as long as I live;
And I shall dwell in the House of Adonai (the Temple)
PRAYER OF CONSECRATION
Merciful Creator, as I lie on my sick bed, my thoughts turn from myself and my suffering in order that I might consecrate
the coming day to Your service. Although, due to my illness, I am at present denied the opportunity of serving my fellow-creatures,
I recognize that through prayer, meditation and reciting the Psalms, I may still serve you in the sanctuary of my heart. Grant
me the strength to withstand my pain and my discomfort and to turn my spirit to prayer to You that through my sincere petitions
others who also suffer may find a quick and perfect healing.
**A PRAYER FOR THE HEALING OF OTHERS**
You, O Creative Force, are the Fountain of Life, the Source of all strength. You are an ever-present help in times of trouble.
You are near to all who call upon You in truth. With anxious heart I turn my prayer to You on behalf of (So and So, the son/daughter
of mother's name) who is on their sick bed. My sympathies go out to his/her family in this hour of trial. Accept my plea for
his/her recovery. May his/her pain be allayed and may he/she be restored to health and renewed usefulness in the midst of
those who love him/her and in the community of his/her people. Endow (So and So, the son/daughter of mother's name) with power
to turn his/her sufferings into a means of enoblement of the soul. Grant him/her strength to always bear his/her trials courageously.
Guide those who minister unto him/her and give them wisdom, trust and patience in large measure. May You be praised, O merciful
Creator, who heals the sick. Amen.
**PRAYER FOR MY OWN RECOVERY**
O my Creator, Who is ever mindful of Your children, make my heart glad, I beseech You, with the awareness of Your great mercy.
Be with me in my affliction and deliver me through Your healing power. Give me patience to endure this suffering, and cheerfulness
towards those who minister unto me. May it be Your holy will to restore me to health and strength. Let me complete the ordained
number of my years in happiness and well-being. Permit me to return to my family and to my tasks, and give me strength and
wisdom to serve You with a perfect heart. Heal me and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved, for You are the one
I praise. Amen.
**A PRAYER FOR THE PHYSICIAN**
You who is the Healer of all, impart of Your spirit of wisdom to the physician unto whose care I am entrusted. May it be Your
will that he/she be the human instrument of Your mercy, and may he/she effect for me a speedy and complete cure. Amen.
*A REB ZALMAN HEALING PRAYER FOR SURGERY*
Please dear God, heal (name of person); may he/she have the energy, strength, fortitude, faith and good humor to receive the
medical ministrations in the most healing way. And may our prayers open the gates allowing the divine light to shine more
brightly upon him/her as he/she undergoes surgery and the great challenge he/she is confronting.
May Your design give all of us the gift of this great, wise and loving person for a long time to come.
May his/her family receive our prayers and strength and good humor to stay well and healthy and strong for themselves
and for this sick person.
May our friend's whole family and community's be blessed with a sense of peace and confidence and surrender, so that their/our
energies can focus on the support that our friend will need in the months ahead.
My his/her trial be a blessing for us all to sanctify and revere life, in all forms, and open our hearts and our consciousness
a bit more as we proceed on our Holy journeys through life.
PRAYER OF THANKS AFTER SURGERY
Almighty Eternal One, how great are Your wonderous deeds that You have restored me to a full understanding of You and Your
goodness. While my senses have been dulled, You have guided the fingers of my surgeon and have given him/her understanding
in the art of healing. I have emerged from darkness into light, from despair into glowing hope, from fear into confidence
because You have been at my side like in the days of our ancestors.
In a moment such as this, I understand the eternal values of life, the basic goods that You give freely to all mankind.
I have often been blind to the true meaning of what has value. I have elevated the trivial to being important, the inconsequential
to being basic. Today, as I have faced the issues of life and death, I understand that happiness springs out of the performance
of Your Divine will.
May this experience mean for me a new awakening of an awareness of Your Holy Presence (The Holy Shekhina). May I reflect
in my actions from now on an understanding of how You would want me to live life. May this be the ultimate meaning for me
of the crisis that I have faced and survived.
A NEW MOTHER'S PRAYER
ADONAI, my Creator, my heart is filled with gratitude at the greatest of all gifts that You have bequeathed unto me. I have
been granted a perfect likeness of You, filled with Your Divine Spirit. I have gone forth willingly through the Valley of
the Shadow of Death to receive him/her from Your hands, and You have been gracious unto me and fulfilled my prayers.
I pray that I may be granted wisdom and patience to understand his/her Divine Nature and to guide him/her along Your path.
I realize that I am undertaking a mighty responsibility to raise my infant child to mature adulthood. There will be many times
when the task will seem too great, the difficulties insurmountable. I pray that You will guide me to choose the proper course
and will grant me the strength to see that course through to its fulfillment.
I now beseech You to hover over this child, to guard him/her from all lurking foes, to grant him/her strength and wisdom
so that he/she will reflect with pride upon Your great and glorious Name. May my child be granted a long and useful life filled
with the joy of achievement. May he/she win the affection and admiration of all who gaze upon him/her, and above all, ADONAI,
may he/she learn to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly in Your sight.
A ZEBED HABAT (Blessing and Naming of the Daughter) PRAYER
YONATEE - My dove, in the cliffs of the rock, in the crevices of the step, show me your countenance, let me hear your voice,
for your voice is pleasant and your countanance is becoming.
If it is the mother's first child, the following is also said:
AKHAT - One is my perfect dove, the only one of her mother, pure to the one who bore her, daughters saw her and acclaimed
her, queens and pelegsheem, they have praised her.
Una eya mi paloma mi prenizma, una eya a su madre, klara eya a la ke la paryo`, la vyeron ijas i la byen aventuraron,
reynas i donzeyas i la alavaron.
May ADONAI who blessed our fore-mothers, Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah, Miriam, the prophetess and Avigayil, and Queen Esther,
the daughter of Avikhayil, bless this delightful girl. May she be known forever in Israel and in the world by the name of
(girl's Hebrew name - daughter of - mother's Hebrew name). May You bless her with good fortune at an auspicious moment. May
she be brought up by her loving parents in health, peace and tranquility. May her father and mother merit to see her happiness
and her wedding. May she have healthy children, wealth and honor, vigorous and fresh, fruitful in old age. And may it be the
will of ADONAI, and let us say, Amen.
A MOTHER'S PRAYER BEFORE A BRITH MILAH (BRIS)
Almighty Creator, like Hannah of old I am now prepared to dedicate my infant son to Your Divine care. He will follow in the
footsteps of his ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and enter into a divine conenant with You. I understand that the act
of circumcision is symbolic of the unique relationship which he will enter with You. My heart overflows with joy at the realization
that I am adding another vital link in the eternal chain of the people Israel.
May this link prove to be as strong as his forbears. May he grow to be a fine upstanding Jew with whom all of us can glow
with pride. The pain of the circumcision is symbolic of all the hardships around being Jewish, but which is more than compensated
for by the Divine Spirit which You do now bestow upon him.
May it be Your will that in my lifetime, I shall fulfill the traditional blessing of this day; that I may raise him up
to Torah, to Chuppah and to Ma'asim Tovim (to study and do Torah, to marry under the marriage canopy, and to be a doer of
good deeds). Amen.
O God, who healest the broken-hearted and bindest up their wounds, to Thee I turn in trust and submission in this dark hour
O teach me so that I may get insight, and knowledge, and healing from Thy correction
Send forth Thy light so that amid this shadow of death
I may see the path to Thee, to a better use of my powers, to a better understanding of life. I do not ask Thee to take
this sorrow from me altogether, but to aid me in purging it from all taint of selfishness
May my own pain make me more heedful of human woe, more responsive to it, more resolute in my endeavor to assuage it!
Fix my thoughts not only on this lower life, but on life with Thee; not only on the things of Time, but on the joyous
promise of Eternity
Strengthen my faith in my higher self
in my soul which
will unite me to Thee hereafter in blissful and endless communion. Then will all things be made plain. Then will the veil
that hides Thee from me be torn away, and I shall see Thee clearly
Then shall love come by its own - my dear one's which has been my joy in the bygone years, Thine which has blessed me
all my life long. Amen
MEDITATIONS & READINGS
THE MYSTERY OF PAIN
The mystery of pain is an old problem. The Rabbis were deeply impressed with its gravity and complexity. The sorrows of the
universe and the agony of Israel; the suffering of the nation and the pain of the individual formed the inspiration of some
of the noblest thoughts. They fully realized that suffering can chasten and heal and purify, even "as salt cleanses meat."
And so they call God's chastisements the blessed scourges of love, and tell us that even as the olives only gives forth its
sweet and perfumed oil on being crushed, so also Israel only reaches perfection through crushing sorrows.
They tell us that in the thick darkness of the world-problem is God - the "Light Behind"; that all things work
together for good - even Death; they represent God as saying to mankind, "with thy very wounds I will heal thee";
they say that those whom God afflicts bear His name; that only through a "sorrow's crown of sorrows" cometh true
life. Heaven is not to be won by rest and ease and quite. Only those who have suffered and endured greatly have achieved greatly.
The world's greatest workers, thinkers and teachers have only reached the pinnacle of fame by surmounting obstacles which
to ordinary men, content with the lower slopes, would have seemed insuperable. Man has ever risen nearer to God by the altar-stairs
of pain and sorrow - those altar stairs which lead through darkness, for ever upwards, towards the very Throne of God. (Opinion
of Rabbi Samuel A. Adler)
TIME AND ETERNITY
God, the Source of Life, has placed in our nature the blessed hope of immortality, by which we may console ourselves for the
vanity of life, and overcome the dread of death. If thou art in truth of the higher sphere, why should the thought of leaving
this lower region trouble thee? Especially since the very pleasures which thou seekest on earth are, in reality, but briars
and thorns. Therefore seek them not. But what shouldest thou do? This: Use thy time as thou wouldst a doubtful companion;
extract the good and avoid the evil. Avail thyself of the few opportunities of improvement in his company, and use thy discretion
so that thou mayest suffer no injury from thy association with him. And remember that the companionship of time is but of
short duration. It flies more quickly than the shades of evening. We are like a child that grasps in his hand a sunbeam. He
opens his hand soon again, but to his amazement, finds it empty and the brightness gone. (Opinion of Yedaya Penini)
"HE GIVETH POWER TO THE FAINT"
Why sayest thou, O Jacob,
And speaketh, O Israel:
"My way is hid from the LORD,
And my right is passed over from my God?"
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard
That the Everlasting God, the LORD,
The Creator of the ends of the earth,
Fainteth not, neither is weary?
His discernment is past searching out.
He giveth power to the faint;
And to him that hath no might He increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary,
And the young men shall utterly fall;
But they that wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with the wings of eagles;
They shall run, and not be weary;
They shall walk, and not be faint. (Prophet Isaiah)
"MY THOUGHTS ARE NOT YOUR THOUGHTS"
For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Neither are your ways My ways, says ADONAI.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
And do not return again,
Except they water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
And give seed to the one who sows and bread to the one who eats;
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth:
It shall not return unto Me void,
Except it accomplish that which I desire,
And make the thing upon which I sent it prosper. (Prophet Isaiah)
"WHATEVER HEAVEN DOES IS FOR THE BEST"
One mode of reasoning is, "Whatever Heaven does is for the best." This means that even suffering and hardship are
only apparently evil; in reality they are good. The surgeon amputates a muscle or a limb which has been injured in order to
preserve the health of the rest of the body, and to save the person from death. Though this seems cruel, it is in reality
an act of mercy, and meant for the good of the person upon whom it is performed. That patient does not love the surgeon any
the less because of what he has done to him; on the contrary, he loves him all the more. In like manner, if a man were to
realize that whatever the Holy Blessed One does to him, whether it affects his body or his possessions, is intended for his
benefit, neither suffering nor hardship would lessen his love for God in any way, though he may little understand how he could
be benefited. On the contrary, his love would even become more intense and fervent. (Moses Luzzato)
In the "Blessings on Various Occaisions" (in the Prayer Book) we find a very warm jubilation of life - a spontaneous
lyric appreciation of earth; joy in the fruits of the tree, the vine and field; enchantment in the fragrant odours of barks,
plants, fruits and spices; exaltation at the sight of stars, mountains, desert, sea and rainbow. Beautiful trees and animals,
spring-blossoms equally with scholars and sages - all evoke their grace of appreciation. For storm and evil tidings, too,
have their graces - in fortitude! The Hebrew genius could find growth through sorrow; and for the Hebrew, good tidings have
their grace, no less than fair sights and experience. Everywhere the infiltration of Earth by Heaven. (Israel Zangwill)