Mi Shebeirach


On some Friday nights, I make my way to Temple Beth Israel in Portland for Shabbat services.  I fight the traffic and my end of the week tiredness to participate in a service in a language that I do not understand with people whom I do not know.

I find peace and I find comfort at these services. I enjoy that Hebrew is spoken, chanted and sung. Fortunately, the prayer book/hymnal is in English as well as Hebrew.

The faithful around me understand Hebrew from early  language training as part of their culture.  I am not Jewish and until recently had never set foot inside a synagogue.   The Rabbi and the Cantor (his wife) always greet me with a hug and a warm welcome.

I am an active Episcopalian and participate in the life of my church. However, I enjoy learning about other faiths and traditions.  I want to understand.

I share with you the Hebrew and English words to Mi Shebeirach that is sung every week as part of the Yahrzeit memorial to honor not only recent deaths but the anniversary of the deaths of parents of the members.  It is beautiful to know that their names are read year after year. It is beautiful to hear the superb voice of the cantor, Ida Rae Cahana, lead the singing.

Here is a link to a version on You Tube.Mi Shebeirach

Mi Shebeirach

Mi Shebeirach Avoteinu, Avraham, Yitzchak v’Yaakov

Mi Shebeirach Imoteinu, Sarah, Rivkah, Leah v’Rachel

May the One who blessed our Mothers

May the One who blessed our Fathers

Hear our prayer, hear our prayer (2x)

And bless us as well

Bless us with the power of Your healing

Bless us with the power of Your hope

May our hearts be filled with understanding

And strengthened by the power of Your love.


(Please note that this song is used for other occasions within the Jewish faith. )

56 thoughts on “Mi Shebeirach

  1. Dear Lori,
    Thank you this is a truly beautiful sharing post. I am in the place where my heart longs to really ‘connect’ with all whose life is turned to ‘making this world better’. The other side of all fighting and turmoil is LOVE. The essence of my God is LOVE and He is present with those whose hearts are turned to HIM. Deception would tell us God is something else. LOVE DIVINE expressed as you shared. At the heart of Judaism and in every place where acknowledgment of this LOVE more perfect than human comprehension can determine and surely not acted out in acts of cruelty or violence.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It looks pure, magical and very lovely. I think it’s so refreshing that you want to learn about other religions and traditions. I was raised Baptist but am intrigued with all religions. I would totally go with you! 🙂 Thank you for sharing this with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I once read that a dying man would hum his Hebrew prayers. It did not matter that he forgot the words. He remembered the comfort of the prayers’ melody. I read minimal Hebrew. However, the melody of the prayer connects me and it feels like home. Thank you for the post. I will think of your post when I light the candles tomorrow night!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lori, I’m delighted that you heard this prayer and found it meaningful. It’s a blessing outside the bounds of any one religion. It welcomes and embraces all faiths.

    When my father suffered the stroke that eventually killed him six years ago, I sang this blessing to him many times, trying to bring him some peace at a time that he was in great pain and very frightened.

    Here is a slightly different version written by and made very famous by the late cantor, Debbie Friedman:

    Mi shebeirach avoteinu
    M’kor hab’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 habrachah l’avoteinu
    Bless those in need of healing with r’fuah sh’leimah,
    The renewal of body, the renewal of spirit,
    And let us say, Amen

    R’fuah sh’leimah translates roughly to “the spirit of the Holy One”
    A room full of people chanting this blessing is an extraordinary experience as the burdens you bear fall away and you’re transformed into being a part of the healing process itself. That’s what I tried to capture for my father.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with others.
    May the one who makes peace in the high heavens grant peace to you and to the whole world.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Shari, Your wonderful response brought tears to my eyes and happiness to my heart. I am sorry about your Father. He was so blessed to have such a loving daughter. Thank you for sharing. Lori

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Lori, I was raised Episcopalian in Corvallis. Lots of warm memories. I’m thinking that you have discovered a great way to seek to understand those of different faiths. My hat is off to you. And your warm reception is because you have made a difference in their lives just by being there. Keep up your encouraging posts, Lori.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Lori, I think it is lovely what you do. I have never been in a temple before, nor had I heard the Mi Shebeirah before today. Listening to it on uTube really brought this tranquil feeling within me …now I am curious. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful post. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I LOVE it! I went to a Catholic High School and taking a religion class meant learning about other religions. Pretty cool, looking back on it.
    When I first saw your picture, I wanted to go inside too!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lori, this is truly beautiful. You’ve inspired me to check out my local temple. I was raised in a community Christian church by lapsed Baptists in the southern US. Both of my parents were spiritual people but had been somewhat hurt by the church of their youth. I had mixed feelings about church and religion in general but have always been deeply spiritual. Religion fascinates me. Several years ago I was in a very dark place and craved a spiritual community. I visited several churches in my area and landed at a Unitarian Universalist fellowship — a place that welcomed all. I felt such comfort with the rituals and worshiped alongside people from all walks of life. I gained a better understanding of all religions and finally understood the similarities. We moved recently and once again I find myself missing a spiritual community. This beautiful post has helped push me and see that I should just go — Jewish temple, Buddhist temple, the nearby Episcopal church or possibly another UU fellowship in the area. I know you’ve been through a lot with the loss of your husband, and I’m amazed at your resiliency. Thank you for sharing your wise and lovely words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good morning. I read your comments on my phone just before services last night. I bookmarked it so that I could answer you when I had more time and on my laptop rather than my phone. Your comments mean a lot to me. Thank you for sharing your background. I am glad that you found the UU fellowship especially at a time when you needed it. I have heard many good things about UU. I hope that you will find a place(s) that provides the spiritual growth and peace that I have found. Plus, attending services grounds me.
      As to resiliency, I keep on going to fulfill the promise I made to my Husband and to provide an example to my sons. However, I think that you are resilient too. The name of your blog “Grief Happens. So Does Joy” says it all. Thank you again for your warmth and openness. Hugs, Lori

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Like you, I’ve also been interested in other faiths and traditions. Have been so since a very young age. I’m a Catholic and even though I find all religions fascinating, I’ve always been especially drawn to Judaism. Its great that you get to experience another faith first hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Beautiful! I am a Christian, and I feel there is such a beautiful connection to the Jewish heritage. For many years, we celebrated the Passover Feast at our church — it is such a beautiful and wonderful experience.
    ~ Anna

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Our churches been arranging for us to attend services of other faiths. We’ve shared meals with our Muslim neighbors and will be going to a Jewish Synagogue soon. They, in turn, are invited to our Church (Congregational). It is a wonderful life learning experience for me, too.


  12. You have turned the “fear” of an “outsider’s religion” into embracement and acceptance. Your willingness to avoid dogmatic imposition in favor of new experiences and differing approaches creates enlightenment and a new understanding that help unite people. I hope many people read this post and consider experiencing other religions and cultures to remove the divisions that misrepresentations create.


    1. Thank you for your support. I have learned so much. Attending services has enriched my spiritual life and given me a better understanding of Judaism and its relationship to Christianity. Lori


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