Modah Ani l’fanecha… I am so grateful that recently, those who are 75 years and above have started receiving their first COVID vaccine shot. (This follows the vaccinations of health care workers, essential workers, and first responders.) The response to this news has been celebration, joy, and gratitude. It feels like the pathway to being together again. As more and more people become vaccinated, we create safer spaces for gathering. Soon, those 65 and older will be qualified along with others who have multiple medical conditions, and teachers not long after. Hopefully, it won’t be too long until the vaccine reaches the “general public”.
As you approach your appointment for a vaccine, be aware of the gratitude you are feeling. Jews have always expressed our gratitude through blessing. Yet, there is no consensus around which Jewish blessing would be most appropriate for this moment. Instead I offer you a selection of prayers – some traditional, some compilations, and some newly created. Find one that speaks to you and say it out loud in gratitude as you lift your shirt sleeve in preparation for a shot and to care for your body.
This first blessing begins with words from the prayer Asher Yatzar, a morning blessing thanking God for the miracle of our bodies. Our version notes that just as the pandemic is worldwide, so too are God’s human partners in creating, distributing, and administering these vaccines.
Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melekh ha-olam, rofei hol basar umafli laasot bidei khol yoshvei tevel. – Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe,
who heals all flesh, working wondrously through human hands.
The following is to be said only upon receiving the first dose:
Barukh Atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melekh ha-olam, shehekheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higi-anu lazman hazeh. – Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe,
who gives us life, sustains us, and has enabled us to reach this moment.
-Greater Pittsburg Rabbinic Association
Prayer for Acts of Healing
May it be Your will, Lord our God and God of our ancestors that this endeavor bring healing, for You are the generous healer.
-Siddur Edit HaMizrach, Prayer book of Mizrachi (Eastern) Jewish communities
Three Blessings to Say at the Time of Receiving the COVID Vaccine
- The Shehecheyanu blessing, thanking God who brought us to this day (see above for words)
- “Baruch atah Adonai she’asah li nes bamakom hazeh,” Blessed is Adonai who has done a miracles or me in this place
- “Baruch atah Adonai shenatan michochmato l’basar v’adam,” who has given Divine wisdom to flesh and blood
– Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple in Los Angeles
A Prayer for Receiving the COVID Vaccine
I have been praying for this day and now it is here!
With great excitement, a touch of trepidation
And with deep gratitude
I give thanks
To all the scientists who toiled day and night
So that I might receive this tiny vaccination
That will protect me and all souls around this world.
With the pandemic still raging
I am blessed to do my part to defeat it.
Let this be the beginning of a new day,
A new time of hope, of joy, of freedom
And most of all, of health.
I thank You, God, for blessing me with life
For sustaining my life
And for enabling me to reach this awe-filled moment.
–Rabbi Naomi Levy, Spiritual Leader, Nashuva (Los Angeles)