There I was with my sleeve up, eyes sealed, heart open, as the nurse busily prepared the dose. I took a deep inhale and realized I needed some sort of prayer handy for this awesome occasion. The go-to-prayer for awe’some occasions – Ana Bkoach – naturally jumped to my lips. It’s a liturgical beauty, with the 72 Names of God encrypted in its terse 7 lines. It’s a Kabbalistic gem. I figured I couldn’t go wrong with that and that the nurse was probably used to prayerful mumblings at moments like this….so I started my recitation. And then, as if divinely choreographed (well, of course it was divinely choreographed), at that fateful long-awaited moment of contact between needle and flesh, I arrived at line 5:
“חסין קדוש ברב טובך, נהל עדתֶך”
Hasin Kadosh berov tuvcha, nahel adatecha. “Holy Protector in your great goodness, guide your community.”
I recited this line like never before as I realized the poignancy of that very poetry at that very moment. I realized that the term ‘Hasin Kadosh’ means ‘Sacred Vaccinator’. Just like the Hebrew word for vaccine is hisun חיסון.
Right there encoded into this ancient 1st-century prayer, we call out to the Divine Vaccinator. I said it with all my heart and then some, realizing so palpably that the Divine Inoculator was right there in the sterile Meuhedit hall, gifting me with healing, gifting our world with healing, in tandem with the myriad doctors, scientists, health professionals and eager recipients the globe over.
I felt an affirmative rush of Yes, we are being gifted a ‘hasin kadosh’ a most holy Inoculation…so holy and yet so earthly and mundane.
But that prayer was not just one of thanks and recognition, it was even more a prayer of deep begging. Begging for that great protective Force to ‘nahel adatecha’ – to guide our edah, our community. The Jewish community is so direly in need of guidance in this pandemic; guidance precisely around the contested issue of this vaccine and its rightness.
We so direly need leaders…we need THE Leader. So, yes, please Holy Vaccinator, steer us well, usher us forward in the direction of highest goodness and health. May we be guided from on high and from down below too.
Dear God, thank you for this stunning remedy.
Thank you doctors and scientists by the hundred-thousands,
benevolent, tireless, fact-loving, fast and talented.
Thank you to all the sentient beings who crafted healing
out of laboratories, out of thin air, out of higher learning,
expertise, enterprise, innovation, yearning.
Thank you, human diligence, for generations of curiosity and care.
Thank you, scientists, for your striving minds, your tenacity, your dare.
Thank you for the accumulated wisdom of the ages.
Thank you to all of medical histories’ unsung sages.
Thank you for every lab coat and every last microscope
that gives us hope against the natural foes of disease, worry, and woe.
And for those who fear this God-given, humanly-written, remedy of a vaccine…
I beg You, Sacred Inoculator, in Your abundant mercy,
guide them in the direction of immediate healing and relief.
Gone be this disease…
And a hearty L’chaim to the sacred gift of this vaccine.
Here’s the text for Ana b’koach. A most highly recommended piece of #spiritualtechnology to recite when you get your vaccine:
אנא בכח, גדולת ימינך, תתיר צרורה
קבל רינת, עמך שגבנו, טהרנו נורא
נא גיבור דורשי יחודך, כבבת שמרם
ברכם טהרם, רחמי צדקתך תמיד גמלם,
חסין קדוש ברב טובך, נהל עדתֶך
יחיד גאה לעמך פנה, זוכרי קדושתך
שועתנו קבל ושמע צעקתנו, יודע תעלומות
We beg You, with the strength and greatness of Your right arm- Untangle our knotted fate.
Accept your people’s song, elevate and purify us. Please, heroic one, those who pursue your uniqueness- guard them as the pupil of an eye.
Bless them, purify them, pity them, may your righteousness always reward them.
Protective and Holy One, Hasin Kadosh, in goodness lead your flock.
Unique and proud one, to your people turn, who remember your holiness.
Accept our cries, and hear our screams, oh knower of mysteries.
Ana-BeKoach Lyrics Transliterated:
Ana bekoach, g’dulat yemincha, tatir tz’rura;
Kabel rinat amcha sagveinu, tahareinu nora;
Na gibor dorshei yichudcha, k’vavat shamrem;
Barchem, taharem, rachamei tzidkatcha, Tamid gamlem;
Chasin kadosh, Berov tuvcha nahel adatecha;
Yachid ge’eh le’amcha p’neh, zochrei k’dushatecha;
Shavateinu kabel ushma tza’akateinu, yode’a ta’alumot;
(Rabbi Nehonia ben Hakana, 1st century CE)