Prayers in a Time of Pandemic

Screen capture from the State of Israel Ministry of Health, March 6, 2020.
Screen capture from the State of Israel Ministry of Health, March 6, 2020.

Here are three new prayers, written this past week, as we face the unknowns and perils of coronavirus. One is for medical science. One is for safe travel. One is for healing. “Healing from Coronavirus” is for people who’ve contracted or have been exposed to the coronavirus, including those who might contract the disease in the future.

Healing from Coronavirus
Source of healing,
Cast the light of health and well-being
On those who’ve been exposed to coronavirus,
Those who have contracted the disease,
And those — God forbid — who contract the disease in the future.
Bless them, protect them and bring them speedily to full recovery.
Bless all who are ill
With healing of body,
Healing of soul
And healing of spirit.

.ברוך אתה ה’, מקור חיים
Baruch atah Adonai, m’kor chayim.
Blessed are You Adonai, Source of life.

“Traveler’s Prayer in a Time of Pandemic” incorporates the perils of modern life with the dangers listed in the classic formulation of t’filat haderech, the traveler’s prayer.

Traveler’s Prayer in a Time of Pandemic
May it be Your will,
Our God,
God of our fathers and mothers,
That we go in peace
And return in peace,
Safe from the ancient hazards of travel –
Enemies, thieves, ambushes and wild beasts –
And safe from modern perils –
Plane crashes and traffic wrecks,
Scammers and con artists,
Infectious disease and quarantine –
So that our travel serves it highest purpose,
And we reach our destination and return home
In joy, life and health.
Grant us grace in Your eyes
And in the eyes of all whom we meet.

.ברוך אתה ה’, שומע תפלה
Baruch atah Adonai, shomea t’filah.
Blessed are You Adonai, Who hears prayer.

“Coronavirus: A Prayer for Medical Scientists” is for the wisdom and skill of medical scientists, researchers and public health officials around the world fighting the disease and all diseases plaguing the planet.

Coronavirus: A Prayer for Medical Scientists
God of wisdom,
Bless medical scientists and researchers around the world
With insight and skill, dedication and fortitude,
As they combat coronavirus,
So that their work yields knowledge and understanding,
Speedily finding a vaccine, treatments and deterrents to its spread.

Source of life,
Grant public health and government officials
The strength to act swiftly and decisively,
With compassion and understanding,
In service to humankind,
Fighting this outbreak
And the other diseases that still plague the planet,
Diseases threatening the lives of our brothers and sisters,
Nations and communities,
Young and old.

Rock of Ages,
Bring an end to disease and suffering,
So that all may know
Your compassion and Your grace.

.ברוך אתה ה’, רופא כל בשר, ומפליא לעשות
Baruch atah Adonai, rofeh kol basar, u’mafliah la’asot.
Praised are You Adonai, healer of flesh, maker of wonders.

Healing from Coronavirus,” “Traveler’s Prayer in a Time of Pandemic” and “Coronavirus: A Prayer for Medical Scientists” are © 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

About the Author
Alden Solovy is the Liturgist-in-Residence at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. A liturgist, poet, and educator, his teaching spans from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Jerusalem to Limmud UK and synagogues throughout North America. He's the author of “This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day” and has written more than 750 pieces of new liturgy. His new book, "This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings," was published in 2019. He made aliyah in 2012. Read his work at www.ToBendLight.com.
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