Anyone who has been to our services knows that we offer a Mi Sheberach for our family and friends who are ill. It is an uplifting moment to open our hearts and pray to God for a full and speedy recovery for our loved ones. The words of Debbie Friedman’s Mi Sheberach bring comfort and hope:
Jews have been offering Mi Sheberach for centuries. The earliest version appears in this week’s parashah. Moses’ sister, Miriam, is stricken with leprosy (Numbers, chapter 12). Anguished over his sister’s affliction, Moses cries out to God five short words: “El Na Refa Na Lah - O God, please heal her.” Thankfully, God heeds Moses’ heartfelt prayer and Miriam’s affliction is healed.
We should take note of Moses’ action. Aching for his sister, he did not sit down and draft an elegant composition. He did not fret about what he should say and how to say it. Moses simply expressed the words of his heart to God.
We all can do the same. Certainly it is meaningful when during worship we offer together a Mi Sheberach. Yet when we are alone or by a loved one’s bedside, it is not necessary for us to concern ourselves with “saying the right words.” We need only think of Moses’ example and offer the expressions of our souls. I am certain that our heartfelt prayer will bring strength to our loved ones and as well as to ourselves.