Dear Backers and Imaginarius Readers,
Today, for the eighth update on my Kickstarter project, I have posted the ninth of the thirty-six blessings that will comprise my book, An Illumination Of Blessings. With the illustration above, I’ve chosen to interpret the Mi Shebeirach (May the One Who Blesses). A full explanation on the visual symbolism in this illustration will be in the book’s commentary. But for now, here is an excerpt:
The Mi Shebeirach is recited for those in need of healing, whether spiritual, physical or both. The first recorded appearance of this blessing/prayer was in the 12th century French prayerbook, The Vitry Mahzor compiled by the Talmudist Simcha ben Samuel of Vitry. It’s original intention was to petition for the well-being of the community and indeed its essence is preserved in the Amidah, as one of the set of prayers recited three times daily. But in recent times, in Reform and Conservative practices it is recited after the Torah reading and includes names (usually their Hebrew names) of specific individuals in need of healing by those praying on their behalf.
As I thought about the significance of this blessing/prayer and why it has changed over time, I realized that the Mi Shebeirach also tells us that we must partner with the G-d Who is The Source of Life by participating in our own recovery or in that of a loved one(s) to the best of our ability, whether it be through seeking medical intervention or by recognition of an ailing spirit that can manifest as physical illness. Forgiveness of oneself and/or others is one of the elements at the core of this process. Although the future outcome of serious illness is often unclear and sometimes all we can ask for is strength to endure, I feel this blessing speaks for all of us living and working together as community to understand the bigger picture of life and our role in it.
For those of you and those within your extended circle in need of healing, I wish you a full and speedy recovery of body and spirit.
Tags: Amidah, amulet, Aron Ha-Kodesh, blessing, caladrius bird, Conservative Judaism, Hebrew calligraphy, Illumination Of Blessings, Jerusalem, merkaba star, Mi Shebeirach, physical, prayer, Reform Judaism, Simcha ben Samuel of Vitry, spiritual, tzetl, Vitry Mahzor