Praying for the Vaccine
It’s a strange in-between time for us. I write to you when congregants and loved ones of congregants are fighting the tough fight against COVID-19. The number of cases is frighteningly high. Lockdown is serious. And… at the very time of such gripping fear, the vaccine is being rolled out. It is a time of mixed emotion. Anxiety and relief, helplessness and gratitude, frustration and elation, patience and impatience.
Our weekday Amidah includes a prayer for wisdom. We ask God for De-ah (knowledge), Binah (understanding), and Haskeil (insight). These words landed on my heart in a new way this week. De-ah is the kind of wisdom that enables scientists to discover new DNA technologies and develop a vaccine to protect against Coronovirus. Binah is the kind of wisdom which enables government and public health officials to create a fair and just plan to administer the vaccine. And Haskeil is the kind of wisdom that motivates citizens to stay put, to isolate, and to be patient until it is safe to open up again.
Rabbis of all stripes are encouraging their congregations and communities to be vaccinated as soon as it becomes available. Here from our own Reform Rabbinic Authorities:
Here from Orthodox Rabbinic Authorities:
In Israel, the vaccine is rolling out relatively swiftly. Healthcare workers and the elderly were first. This week healthy, active seniors came next in line. New life-affirming prayers are being written for the occasion to praise God for imparting a measure of God’s infinite wisdom to humankind. In eager anticipation of when it will be our turn, I share these prayers with you now.
Prayer for Before Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine
(by Rabbi Samuel Eliyahu)
We gratefully acknowledge You, Adonai, our God and God of our ancestors, God of all flesh, who creates healing. You grace humankind with knowledge, teaching humans understanding that enabled discovery and creation of vaccines against the plague. May it be Your will that this vaccine averts the pandemic and saves the lives of thousands of millions across this world.
Please, O God, send a complete healing to all among us who are ill, and save us from side-effects. As we say in the daily prayer, “Heal us, O God, and we shall be healed. Save us, and we shall be saved, for You are our Praise. Raise up a complete healing against all our pain and hurt and suffering. For You are a compassionate and faithful Source of Healing.”
May the words of my lips and the meditations of my heart be acceptable before You, Adonai, my Rock and Redeemer (Psalms 19:15).
Prayer for After Receiving the Vaccine
(By Rabbi Aaron Starr, based on Babylonian Talmud, Brachot 60a and The Morning Blessings)
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, in good health, to care ever more deeply for others.
Blessed are You, Holy One, Healer of all flesh, who sustains our bodies in wondrous ways.
May we soon each merit the opportunity to recite these prayers with full hearts and healthy bodies.
To hear last week’s sermon entitled: “Scientific Triumph. Moral Failure.” click here. My sermon begins at 1:15:41.