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Prayers Before Going to Sleep

The Sh’ma at Bedtime

After bereavement, mourners can often find it hard to fall asleep. The sad events can revolve round our minds, or the grief we pushed aside all day comes to the fore, or our loneliness echoes in our ears. The formal ‘Prayers before bedtime’ (kriat shema al hamitah) contains many calming prayers and soothing mantras, and it can be comforting to recite some or all of them, in Hebrew or English, before going to sleep*.

 

“Who closes my eyes…” A Blessing at Bedtime:

  

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,
הַמַּפִּיל חֶבְלֵי שֵׁנָה עַל עֵינָי,
וּתְנוּמָה עַל עַפְעַפָּי.
וִיהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶֽיךָ, יְיָ אֱלֹהַי וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתַי,
שֶׁתַּשְׁכִּיבֵֽנִי לְשָׁלוֹם, וְתַעֲמִידֵֽנִי לְשָׁלוֹם,
וְאַל יְבַהֲלֽוּנִי רַעְיוֹנַי וַחֲלוֹמוֹת רָעִים וְהִרְהוּרִים רָעִים,
וּתְהֵא מִטָּתִי שְׁלֵמָה לְפָנֶֽיךָ,
וְהָאֵר עֵינַי פֶּן אִישַׁן הַמָּֽוֶת,
כִּי אַתָּה הַמֵּאִיר לְאִישׁוֹן בַּת עָֽיִן.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, הַמֵּאִיר לָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ בִּכְבוֹדוֹ.

Blessed are You, God, our God, King of the Universe,
Who closes my eyes in sleep,
and my eyelids in slumber.
May it come before Your Will, Adonai, my God & God of my ancestors,
that you lay me down in peace & raise me up in peace.
May my thoughts not frighten me, nor bad dreams, nor troubling fantasies.
May my bed be undisturbed before You;
Light my eyes so that I do not sleep the sleep of death,
Because You are the One Who sheds light on the darkness behind the eyelids.
Blessed are You, God, Whose glory lights up the whole world.
 
 

 The Sh’ma (Deutoronomy 6:4-9):

  

אֵל מֶֽלֶךְ נֶאֱמָן.
שְמַע ׀ יִשְרָאֵל, יְיָ ׀ אֱלֹהֵֽינו, יְיָ ׀ אֶחָד.
בָרוךְ שֵם כְבוֹד מַלְכותוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד.

וְאָהַבְתָ אֵת יְיָ ׀ אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ, בְכָל ׀ לְבָבְךָ, ובְכָל נַפְשְךָ, ובְכָל מְאֹדֶֽךָ.
וְהָיו הַדְבָרִים הָאֵֽלֶה, אֲשֶר ׀ אָנֹכִי מְצַוְךָ הַיוֹם, עַל ׀ לְבָבֶֽךָ.
וְשִנַנְתָם לְבָנֶֽיךָ, וְדִבַרְתָ בָם, בְשִבְתְךָ בְבֵיתֶֽךָ, ובְלֶכְתְךָ בַדֶֽרֶךְ, ובְשָכְבְךָ, ובְקומֶֽךָ.
וקְשַרְתָם לְאוֹת ׀ עַל יָדֶֽךָ, וְהָיו לְטֹטָפֹת בֵין ׀ עֵינֶֽיךָ.
וכְתַבְתָם ׀ עַל מְזֻזוֹת בֵיתֶֽךָ ובִשְעָרֶֽיךָ.

(God is a Faithful Ruler)
Hear, O Israel: Adonai, our God, Adonai, is One.
Blessed be the Name of His glorious majesty forever and ever.
  
You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might.
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them
when you are sitting at home and when you go on a journey,
when you lie down and when you rise up.
You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be testimony between your eyes.
You shall inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
 
 

Psalm 91: The Divine Refuge 

 

וִיהִי נֹֽעַם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ עָלֵֽינוּ, וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵֽינוּ כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵֽינוּ, וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵֽינוּ כּוֹנְנֵֽהוּ.

יֹשֵׁב בְּסֵֽתֶר עֶלְיוֹן, בְּצֵל שַׁדַּי יִתְלוֹנָן.   אֹמַר לַייָ מַחְסִי וּמְצוּדָתִי, אֱלֹהַי אֶבְטַח בּוֹ.   כִּי הוּא יַצִּילְךָ מִפַּח יָקוּשׁ, מִדֶּֽבֶר הַוּוֹת.   בְּאֶבְרָתוֹ יָֽסֶךְ לָךְ, וְתַחַת כְּנָפָיו תֶּחְסֶה, צִנָּה וְסֹחֵרָה אֲמִתּוֹ.   לֹא תִירָא מִפַּֽחַד לָֽיְלָה, מֵחֵץ יָעוּף יוֹמָם.   מִדֶּֽבֶר בָּאֹֽפֶל יַהֲלֹךְ, מִקֶּֽטֶב יָשׁוּד צָהֳרָֽיִם.   יִפֹּל מִצִּדְּךָ אֶֽלֶף וּרְבָבָה מִימִינֶֽךָ, אֵלֶֽיךָ לֹא יִגָּשׁ.   רַק בְּעֵינֶֽיךָ תַבִּיט, וְשִׁלֻּמַת רְשָׁעִים תִּרְאֶה.   כִּי אַתָּה יְיָ מַחְסִי, עֶלְיוֹן שַֽׂמְתָּ מְעוֹנֶֽךָ.   לֹא תְאֻנֶּה אֵלֶֽיךָ רָעָה, וְנֶֽגַע לֹא יִקְרַב בְּאָהֳלֶֽךָ.   כִּי מַלְאָכָיו יְצַוֶּה לָּךְ, לִשְׁמָרְךָ בְּכָל דְּרָכֶֽיךָ.   עַל כַּפַּֽיִם יִשָּׂאֽוּנְךָ, פֶּן תִּגֹּף בָּאֶֽבֶן רַגְלֶֽךָ.   עַל שַֽׁחַל וָפֶֽתֶן תִּדְרֹךְ, תִּרְמֹס כְּפִיר וְתַנִּין.   כִּי בִי חָשַׁק וַאֲפַלְּטֵֽהוּ, אֲשַׂגְּבֵֽהוּ כִּי יָדַע שְׁמִי.   יִקְרָאֵֽנִי וְאֶעֱנֵֽהוּ, עִמּוֹ אָנֹכִי בְצָרָה, אֲחַלְּצֵֽהוּ וַאֲכַבְּדֵֽהוּ.   אֹֽרֶךְ יָמִים אַשְׂבִּיעֵֽהוּ, וְאַרְאֵֽהוּ בִּישׁוּעָתִי.   אֹֽרֶךְ יָמִים אַשְׂבִּיעֵֽהוּ, וְאַרְאֵֽהוּ בִּישׁוּעָתִי.

 Adon-ai Your God will be pleasant to us, and the work of our hands He will establish
for us, and the work of our hands will be established.

Who dwells in the shadow of the Most High, and lives in the shadow of the Almighty;
I say the Lord is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust,
Because He will deliver you from the snare of the trapper, and from the destructive pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you shall shelter; His truth is a shield and a buckler.
You shall not fear the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by day;
or the pestilence that travels in darkness, or the destruction that spreads at noon.
A thousand will fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but they shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you see, and you will see the repayment of the wicked.
Because You, God, are my refuge, Who has made the Most High Your habitation.
There no evil shall befall you, nor any plague come near your tent.
For He will order His angels to watch over you throughout all your ways.
They will carry you on their hands, so that you do not hurt your foot against a stone.
You shall tread upon the lion and the snake, and trample the young lion and the serpent under your feet.
Because he has attached himself to Me, I will rescue him; I will exalt him, because he has known My name.
He will call to Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him during trouble; I will rescue him, and bring him to honour.
With long life will I satisfy him, and bring him to behold My salvation.
 
 
 

Psalm 3: Rescue me 

 

יְיָ, מָה רַבּוּ צָרָי, רַבִּים קָמִים עָלָי. רַבִּים אֹמְרִים לְנַפְשִׁי, אֵין יְשׁוּעָֽתָה לּוֹ בֵאלֹהִים סֶֽלָה.
וְאַתָּה יְיָ מָגֵן בַּעֲדִי, כְּבוֹדִי וּמֵרִים רֹאשִׁי. קוֹלִי אֶל יְיָ אֶקְרָא, וַיַּעֲנֵֽנִי מֵהַר קָדְשׁוֹ סֶֽלָה.
אֲנִי שָׁכַֽבְתִּי וָאִישָֽׁנָה, הֱקִיצֽוֹתִי, כִּי יְיָ יִסְמְכֵֽנִי.
לֹא אִירָא מֵרִבְבוֹת עָם, אֲשֶׁר סָבִיב שָֽׁתוּ עָלָי.
קוּמָה יְיָ, הוֹשִׁיעֵֽנִי אֱלֹהַי, כִּי הִכִּֽיתָ אֶת כָּל אֹיְבַי לֶֽחִי, שִׁנֵּי רְשָׁעִים שִׁבַּֽרְתָּ.
לַייָ הַיְשׁוּעָה, עַל עַמְּךָ בִרְכָתֶֽךָ סֶּֽלָה. 

O God, how many are my sufferings, so many rising over me!
Many speak for my soul, saying there is no salvation for him in God. Selah.
But You, God, protect me and my honouir, that I may lift my head up.
Wordlessly I cry out to God, and He answers me from His holy mountain, Selah.
I was sleeping, I was dozing, but He woke me up, because it is God Who supports me.
I will not fear the multitudes of the people who surround me.
Rise up, O God; save me, my Lord, because You will smite all my enemies in the jaw, and break the teeth of the wicked ones.
Salvation is God’s, Your blessings over Your people. Selah.

  

Hashkivenu: Lie Us Down:  

הַשְׁכִּיבֵֽנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ לְשָׁלוֹם,
וְהַעֲמִידֵֽנוּ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ לְחַיִּים,
וּפְרוֹשׂ עָלֵֽינוּ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶֽךָ,
וְתַקְּנֵֽנוּ בְּעֵצָה טוֹבָה מִלְּפָנֶֽיךָ,
וְהוֹשִׁיעֵֽנוּ לְמַֽעַן שְׁמֶֽךָ.
וְהָגֵן בַּעֲדֵֽנוּ, וְהָסֵר מֵעָלֵֽינוּ אוֹיֵב, דֶּֽבֶר, וְחֶֽרֶב, וְרָעָב, וְיָגוֹן,
וְהָסֵר שָׂטָן מִלְּפָנֵֽינוּ וּמֵאַחֲרֵֽינוּ,
וּבְצֵל כְּנָפֶֽיךָ תַּסְתִּירֵֽנוּ,
כִּי אֵל שׁוֹמְרֵֽנוּ וּמַצִּילֵֽנוּ אָֽתָּה,
כִּי אֵל מֶֽלֶךְ חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם אָֽתָּה,
וּשְׁמוֹר צֵאתֵֽנוּ וּבוֹאֵֽנוּ,
לְחַיִּים וּלְשָׁלוֹם,
מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם.

 Lie us down, Adonai our God, in peace,
and raise us up, our King, to life.
Spread the canopy of Your peace over us,
correct us before You with good advice,
and save us for the sake of Your holy Name.
Protect us; remove from us enemies, plague, threat of the sword, famine and anguish,
and remove the accuser from before us and behind us.
Shelter us in the shadow of Your wings,
because You are God Who guards us and saves us;
because You are a compassionate and merciful Divine Ruler.
Guard us as we go out and as we come in,
for life and for peace,
now and always.
 

Blessed is God 

 

בָּרוּךְ יְיָ בַּיּוֹם, בָּרוּךְ יְיָ בַּלָּֽיְלָה,
בָּרוּךְ יְיָ בְּשָׁכְבֵֽנוּ, בָּרוּךְ יְיָ בְּקוּמֵֽנוּ.
כִּי בְיָדְךָ נַפְשׁוֹת הַחַיִּים וְהַמֵּתִים,
אֲשֶׁר בְּיָדוֹ נֶֽפֶשׁ כָּל חָי וְרֽוּחַ כָּל בְּשַׂר אִישׁ.
בְּיָדְךָ אַפְקִיד רוּחִי,
פָּדִֽיתָה אוֹתִי, יְיָ, אֵל אֶֽמֶת.
אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַֽיִם, יַחֵד שִׁמְךָ,
וְקַיֵּם מַלְכוּתְךָ תָּמִיד,
וּמְלוֹךְ עָלֵֽינוּ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד.

Blessed is God in the daytime; blessed is God in the night.
Blessed is God when we go to sleep, and blessed is God when we rise.
Because the souls of the living and the dead are in Your hand,
which holds the soul of all life, and the spirit of all men.
I entrust my spirit to Your hand;
Redeem it for me, Adonai the true God.
O God of ours in the heavens, unify Your Name
and establish Your kingdom always,
and rule over us forever.
 

Open our eyes

יִרְאוּ עֵינֵֽינוּ,
וְיִשְׂמַח לִבֵּֽנוּ,
וְתָגֵל נַפְשֵֽׁנוּ בִּישׁוּעָתְךָ בֶּאֱמֶת,
בֶּאֱמוֹר לְצִיּוֹן, מָלַךְ אֱלֹהָֽיִךְ.
יְיָ מֶֽלֶךְ, יְיָ מָלָךְ, יְיָ יִמְלוֹךְ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד.
כִּי הַמַּלְכוּת שֶׁלְּךָ הִיא,
וּלְעֽוֹלְמֵי עַד תִּמְלוֹךְ בְּכָבוֹד,
כִּי אֵין לָֽנוּ מֶֽלֶךְ אֶלָּא אָֽתָּה.

Open our eyes,
Cause our hearts to rejoice
And our souls to exult in Your salvation in truth,
when Zion is told, Your King is crowned.
Adonai rules, Adonai has ruled, Adonai will rule forever and always.
Because the kingship is Yours,
And You will rule in glory forever,
Because we have no King besides You.
 
 

Hamalach: the guardian angel.

 

הַמַּלְאָךְ הַגֹּאֵל אֹתִי מִכָּל רָע יְבָרֵךְ אֶת הַנְּעָרִים
, וְיִקָּרֵא בָהֶם שְׁמִי
וְשֵׁם אֲבוֹתַי אַבְרָהָם וְיִצְחָק,
וְיִדְגּוּ לָרֹב בְּקֶֽרֶב הָאָֽרֶץ.
וַיֹּֽאמֶר, אִם שָׁמֽוֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע לְקוֹל יְיָ אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ,
וְהַיָּשָׁר בְּעֵינָיו תַּעֲשֶׂה, וְהַאֲזַנְתָּ לְמִצְוֹתָיו, וְשָׁמַרְתָּ כָּל חֻקָּיו,
כָּל הַמַּחֲלָה אֲשֶׁר שַֽׂמְתִּי בְמִצְרַֽיִם לֹא אָשִׂים עָלֶֽיךָ,
כִּי אֲנִי יְיָ רֹפְאֶֽךָ.
וַיֹּֽאמֶר יְיָ אֶל הַשָּׂטָן, יִגְעַר יְיָ בְּךָ הַשָּׂטָן,
וְיִגְעַר יְיָ בְּךָ הַבֹּחֵר בִּירוּשָׁלָֽיִם,
הֲלוֹא זֶה אוּד מֻצָּל מֵאֵשׁ.
הִנֵּה מִטָּתוֹ שֶׁלִּשְׁלֹמֹה,
שִׁשִּׁים גִּבֹּרִים סָבִיב לָהּ, מִגִּבֹּרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.
כֻּלָּם אֲחֻֽזֵי חֶֽרֶב, מְלֻמְּדֵי מִלְחָמָה,
אִישׁ חַרְבּוֹ עַל יְרֵכוֹ מִפַּֽחַד בַּלֵּילוֹת.

May the angel that saved me from all evil bless the lads, and proclaim my name over them,
and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
and multiply your numbers in the midst of the land.
And he said, If you will surely listen to the voice of Adonai your God,
And do what is right in His eyes, and pay attention to His commandments, and keep His statutes,
Then all the illness that I placed upon Egypt I will not place upon you,
Because I am Adonai Who heals you.
And Adonai said to the accuser, God will rebuke you, accusing angel;
The God Who chooses Jerusalem rebukes you,
For this is a brand plucked from the furnace.
Behold the bed of Solomon,
With sixty strong men surrounding it, from the strongest men of Israel.
Each of them grasping their sword, experts in battle;
Each man with his sword ready on his thigh, against terrors in the nights.
 

 

A mantra of Divine favour:

Repeat three times each:

 

ג’ פעמים: יְבָרֶכְךָ יְיָ וְיִשְׁמְרֶֽךָ. יָאֵר יְיָ פָּנָיו אֵלֶֽיךָ וִיחֻנֶּֽךָּ. יִשָּׂא יְיָ פָּנָיו אֵלֶֽיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם

May God bless you and keep you safe.
May God’s Face shine on you and favour you.
May God look towards you and place His peace upon you.
 

ג’ פעמים: הִנֵּה לֹא יָנוּם וְלֹא יִישָׁן שׁוֹמֵר יִשְׂרָאֵל

Behold, the Guardian of Israel neither dozes nor sleeps.
 

ג’ פעמים: לִישׁוּעָתְךָ קִוִּֽיתִי יְיָ. קִוִּֽיתִי לִישׁוּעָתְךָ יְיָ. יְיָ לִישׁוּעָתְךָ קִוִּֽיתִי.

For Your salvation I yearn, Adonai.
I yearn for Your salvation, Adonai.
Adonai, for Your salvation I yearn.
 
 

A Prayer for Protection at Night

(to be said three times)

 

בְּשֵׁם יְיָ אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל,
מִימִינִי מִיכָאֵל,
וּמִשְּׂמֹאלִי גַּבְרִיאֵל,
וּמִלְּפָנַי אוּרִיאֵל
, וּמֵאֲחוֹרַי רְפָאֵל,
וְעַל רֹאשִׁי שְׁכִינַת אֵל.

In the Name of Adonai, the God of Israel
May there be on my right side the angel Micha’el,
on my left side the angel Gavri’el
Before me may there be the angel Uri’el
and behind me the angel Refa’el.
And resting over my head the Presence of God-El.
————————————————————–
*adapted from The National Centre for Jewish Healing, www.ncjh.org.

Posted in Prayers.

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  1. Natella Avraham says

    For me never forget who is your father!!!



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