About the Book
The mi sheberach dates back to ancient Babylonia, initially as a blessing rabbis said over their congregations. The original mi sheberach—recited only on Mondays and Thursdays, never on Shabbat—asked G-d to “bless all those brothers and sisters who come to the synagogue for prayer and to give.” Only in the twelfth century did it start to be said for individuals for a variety of reasons, including illness. But until the 1980s, the traditional prayer for the sick could only be found in a rabbi’s manual; “regular” Jews did not have a copy in their prayer books and therefore could not read along.
Today, we know the mi sheberach as the blessing we recite in services to wish those who are sick a full recovery. When we say the words and call out names, we generally think about those who are physically ill. But illness doesn’t always mean a physical ailment; it can and often does refer to one’s mental health.
Jewish prayer allows us to be creative in adapting and interpreting text in ways that are meaningful. The mi sheberachs shared in this book were written during the height of a global pandemic by individuals from around the world. We hope they bring comfort to those who are struggling with their mental health.
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