We pray, Mi Sheberakh,
to the source of blessing
for healing of mind
healing of body
that it happen
that life should return to the way it was
before the illness,
before the injury,
before the brokenness...
or we pray
that healing come in different ways...
for ease and liberation from suffering
In and of itself,
we give to a definition of healing...
can bring us the comfort,
can bring us the healing we so desire.
And what of that day...
when that healing
for which we
What words do we have
What words do we have
to praise our source of blessing
our source of strength
our source of healing?
the words of Mi Sheberakh
initiate and sustain the journey
and isolation that is illness...
and at the other end
of the heavy,
weathered stack of storied experience,
our liturgy offers us
a succinct prayer -
Birkat HaGomel -
a blessing made upon
deliverance from danger,
for that time when
one’s name can
joyously be removed from
the Mi Sheberakh list...
as well as for other escapes from misfortune,
the Talmud teaches,
such as returning from sea voyage, journeying through the desert, surviving childbirth, being released from prison,
and living through the potential dangers of our lives
Also known in yiddish as gomel benschen,
was historically recited in private...
but overtime entered into the art and arc of public prayer...
recited in the midst of the Torah...
but more specifically...
in the midst of others,
amid a quorum of community...
We will soon have an opportunity
to experience this ritual of
this public act of gratitude for deliverance.
In some ways,
just being here as a witness is enough -
but actually, in this ritual,
it is not enough.
rather, it is incumbent upon us to respond aloud...
We all know illness,
We all know calamity...
in various gradations
we all know know the grievous
and grief-ridden blow
how it is so isolating...
how it causes us to feel so alone,
how it seems that somehow
everyone else’s experience improves,
such that no one else could ever understand our experience.
and this is true...
We don’t know another’s experience...
we do know.
Birkat HaGomel as a public ritual,
as a public response,
is our way of saying aloud,
before God and one another,
we know you suffered,
we know you felt isolated,
we know your family and friends felt this pain, too,
we felt pain on your behalf...
and while we don’t know exactly what it was like for you...
from our own experience,
we do know...
and because we know,
we’re here now...
and we pray for you,
we give thanks for you,
we celebrate with gratitude the goodness bestowed upon you...
and we welcome you back into our midst...
or perhaps always healing...
and it will be our honor to respond and rejoice in your blessing:
Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha'olam, ha-gomel l’hayavim tovot sheg’malani kol tov.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, ruler of the world,
who rewards the undeserving with goodness,
and who has rewarded me with goodness.
Amen. Mi she g’malkha kol tov, hu yigmalkha kol tov, selah.
May the One who rewarded you with all goodness
reward you with all goodness for ever.
Ritualwell content is available for free thanks to the generous support of readers like you! Please help us continue to offer meaningful content with a donation today.