It is gratifying to see so many people - at this stage, mostly medical workers - receiving the first injection of the Covid vaccine, filling us with prayerful hope that this vaccine will accelerate the conclusion of this health crisis, that our world is returning to normal, and that the days of isolation, overcrowded hospitals, and staggering numbers of unbearable deaths are soon to be behind us.
As Jews we are primed to mark special events in our lives with prayer and with berakhot (blessings). Jewish tradition encourages us to pray, in our own words in whatever language, at any time that we feel a prayerful impulse. And at the same time, using a non-spontaneous prayer can sometimes help us to inhabit an experience more deeply and to connect ourselves with a tradition and community and can sometimes challenge us to consider facets of our experience that we may not have noticed before. Some Jews prefer to pray in Hebrew to connect their prayerful intention to the long history of Jewish tradition; some prefer to pray in the vernacular to maximally connect with the meaning of each word.
Below are prayers created by Rabbinical Assembly members Rabbi Lisa Gelber, Rabbi Karen Reiss Medwed, Rabbi Naomi Levy, Rabbi Robert Scheinberg, Rabbi Naomi Kalish, Rabbi Aaron Starr, and Rabbi Deborah Miller. We encourage you to use the one, or ones, that you find most personally meaningful.
Rabbi Lisa Gelber:
Rabbi Karen Reiss Medwed:
בהודיה והוקרה לאל הרופא לשבורי לב ומחבש לעצמותם התודה וההוקרה שהשראת לרופאים ולמדענים את החכמה בינה ודעת להכין חיסון זה לפננו יהי רצון מלפניך שבחיסוני זה אזכה לשמור ולרפא נפשות כל חי ולזכות במצוות המציל נפש אחת ברוך הרופא כל חולים
With gratitude and thanksgiving to The Healer of broken hearts and restorer of broken bones, appreciation and thanks for inspiring the medical teams and scientists granting them the wisdom, knowledge and expertise to prepare this vaccine for all of us. May it be your will that with my vaccination I will be granted the ability to heal and keep safe humankind and be granted the privilege to fulfill the mitzvah of one who saves a life. Blessed are you Healer of all who are sick.
I have been praying for this day and now it is here!
With great excitement, a touch of trepidation
And with deep gratitude
I give thanks
To all the scientists who toiled day and night
So that I might receive this tiny vaccination
That will protect me and all souls around this world.
With the pandemic still raging
I am blessed to do my part to defeat it.
Let this be the beginning of a new day,
A new time of hope, of joy, of freedom
And most of all, of health.
I thank You, God, for blessing me with life
For sustaining my life
And for enabling me to reach this awe-filled moment.
Rabbi Robert Scheinberg and Rabbi Naomi Kalish:
This prayer contains various elements including an affirmation that one is performing a mitzvah, an expression of gratitude for the wisdom of scientists, a prayer for healing, and the blessing of gratitude traditionally recited each day for the magnificent workings of the human body. Elements are taken from various prayers by other authors.
a.הִנְנִי מוּכָן וּמְזֻמָּן לְקַיֵּם מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁל ֹשְמִירַת הַגּוּף כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה "וְנִשְׁמַרְתֶּם מְאֹד לְנַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם"
a.מודִים אֲנַחְנוּ לָךְ ה' אֱלהֵינוּ וֵאלהֵי אֲבותֵינוּ אֱלהֵי כָל בָּשָׂר. בּוֹרֵא רְפוּאוֹת. שאַתָּה חונֵן לְאָדָם דַּעַת וּמְלַמֵּד לֶאֱנושׁ בִּינָה לִמְצֹא וּלְהַמְצִיא חִסּוּן לַמַּגֵּפָה
a.יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ שֶׁהַחִסּוּן הַזֶּה יַגֵּן עָלָי [וְעַל הַמְּטֻפָּלִים שֶׁלִּי / וְעַל הַמִּשְׁפָּחָה שֶׁלִּי / וְעַל הַתַּלְמִידִים שֶׁלִּי] וְיַצִּיל חַיִּים שֶׁל אַלְפֵי רְבָבוֹת בָּעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר יָצַר אֶת־הָאָדָם בְּחָכְמָה וּבָֽרָא בוֹ נְקָבִים נְקָבִים חֲלוּלִים חֲלוּלִים גָּלוּי וְיָדֽוּעַ לִפְנֵי כִסֵּא כְבוֹדֶֽךָ שֶׁאִם יִפָּתֵֽחַ אֶחָד מֵהֶם אוֹ יִסָּתֵם אֶחָד מֵהֶם אִי אֶפְשַׁר a:לְהִתְקַיֵּם וְלַעֲמֹד לְפָנֶֽיךָ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה רוֹפֵא כָל־בָּשָׂר וּמַפְלִיא לַעֲשׂוֹת
Before the vaccination:
I am ready to fulfill the positive commandment of my Creator to protect the human body, as it is written in the Torah: “You shall be most careful with yourselves.” (Deuteronomy 4:15)
We thank You, Adonai our God and God of our ancestors, God of all flesh, creator of healing, who has granted knowledge and wisdom to human beings to discover and develop this vaccine to guard against the plague of disease. May it be Your will that this vaccination protect me [“and my family,” “and my patients,” “and my clients,” “and my students,”] and all those with whom I come in contact. May it save the lives of millions of people across the world.
After the vaccination:
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, who has created the human body with wisdom, creating cells, tissues and organs - it is known and revealed to You that when they do not function correctly it is not possible to exist and stand before You. Blessed are You, Adonai, healer of all flesh, who does wondrous deeds.
RA Israel and the Masorti Movement:
"אוֹדֶה ה' בְּכָל לֵבָב, בְּסוֹד יְשָׁרִים וְעֵדָה. גְּדֹלִים מַעֲשֵׂי ה', דְּרוּשִׁים לְכָל חֶפְצֵיהֶם". (תה' קיא)
הָאֵל הָעוֹנֶה בְּעֵת צָרָה וּמוֹשִׁיעַ, הָרֹפֵא לִשְׁבוּרֵי לֵב וּמְחַבֵּשׁ לְעַצְּבוֹתָם (תהלים קמז 3),
הַחוֹנֵן לְאָדָם דַּעַת וּמְלַמֵּד לֶאֱנוֹשׁ בִּינָה, מַדָּע וְהַשְׂכֵּל בְּכָל סֵפֶר וְחָכְמָה (דניאל א 17),
שֶׁחָלַק מֵחָכְמָתוֹ לְבָשָׂר וָדָם אֲשֶׁר הֵבִיאוּ לִיצִירַת חִסּוּן זֶה.
יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ שֶׁבְּכֹחַ מַעֲשַׂי אֶזְכֶּה לְרַפֵּא וּלְהַצִּיל נֶפֶשׁ כָּל חָי,
וִיקֻיַּם בִּי "כֹּל הַמַּצִּיל נֶפֶשׁ אַחַת" וגו'.
בָּרוּךְ רוֹפֵא כָל בָּשָׂר וּמַפְלִיא לַעֲשׂוֹת.
Prayer Recited by those Administering the Vaccine
“I praise the ETERNAL with all my heart in the assembled congregation of the upright” (Psalm 111).
God who answers in times of distress and saves, “Healer of broken hearts who binds their wounds” (Psalm 147), Who shares divine wisdom with flesh and blood and has given us understanding, science and discernment to create this vaccine:
May it be Your will that through the power of this act I will merit healing and saving lives of all the living, and be able to fulfill the teaching, “whoever saves a single life... saves an entire world ” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5) as it is written “I am going to bring her relief and healing” (Jeremiah 33).
Praised are You who brings healing to all flesh and does wonders.
Prayer for People Being Vaccinated
God who answers in times of distress and saves, “Healer of broken hearts who binds their wounds” (Psalm 147), who shares divine wisdom with flesh and blood and has given us understanding, science and discernment to create this vaccine:
May it be Your will that through the power of this human effort aided by God who graciously grants humans knowledge and teaches mortals understanding, science and discernment that I merit health and resilience so that these verses may be fulfilled for us: “I have removed illness from your midst” “for I the ETERNAL am your healer” (Exodus 23; 15). “Let them praise the ETERNAL for God’s steadfast love and wondrous deeds for humanity” (Psalm 107).
Praised are You who brings healing to all flesh and does wonders.
Rabbi Aaron Starr:
Prayer Upon Receiving the Covid-19 Vaccine
יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ ה׳ אֱלֹקַי שֶׁיְּהֵא עֵסֶק זֶה לִי לִרְפוּאָה, וּתְרַפְּאֵנִי.
כִּי אֵל רוֹפֵא נֶאֱמָן אָתָּה וּרְפוּאָתְךָ אֱמֶת.
May it be Your will, Heavenly Healer, that this endeavor be for healing and may You grant healing to me, to my loved ones, to my nation, and to all who are in need. Fill me with a sense of gratitude for all who create, distribute, and deliver this vaccine, and for all those who work for the health of individuals and our communities. Empower me to care in good health ever more deeply for others. Blessed are You, Holy One, Healer of all flesh, sustaining our bodies in wondrous ways. (based on BT Brachot 60a and Birkot HaShachar)
Rabbi Deborah Miller:
This prayer is intended for use by hospital staff of all spiritual traditions. It would be appropriate to add the shehechiyanu blessing after receiving the vaccine.
Intention When Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine
With gratitude for the wisdom of the scientists
the courage of the clinical trial volunteers
the dedication of the thousands of leaders and workers
who made it possible for me to receive it.
May this vaccine protect me from this virus
bring peace of mind to those who hold me dear
give me strength to continue to care for those who
depend on my professional skills
and compassionate presence.