Gratitude for healing and wonders


By Clifford Fishman

Special to WJW

I  had my second COVID shot this morning. After the woman who would administer the shot wiped my arm and prepared the needle, I asked her to pause for a moment so I could say a prayer. She said, “Of course.” (It was my sense that I was not the first to make such a request.) Then I read the following, which was drafted by Israel’s Masorti movement and Rabbinic Assembly for those receiving the vaccine:

Cliff Fishman
Cliff Fishman (Photo by Eric Schucht)

God who answers in times of distress and saves,
“Healer of broken hearts who binds their wounds,”
Who shares divine wisdom with flesh and blood
to create this vaccine: May it be Your will
that through the power of this human effort
aided by God who graciously grants humans knowledge
and teaches mortals understanding, science and discernment,
that I merit health and resilience,
so that these verses may be fulfilled for us:
“And I will remove sickness from your midst,”
“For I, Adonai, am your healer,”
“Let them praise Adonai for God’s steadfast love
and wondrous deeds for humanity.”
Then I recited, in Hebrew and then in English:
Praised are You, who brings healing to all flesh and does wonders.
As I began to read the prayer, the woman began to read it too, in a whisper, and when I finished reading it, she crossed herself and said “Amen.”
I did not ask her name; I would not recognize her again if I saw her. (She, like I, was masked.) But we shared a solemn and uplifting moment together that I will remember for a long time, and perhaps she will, too. It elevated a long-anticipated medical treatment into something even more meaningful.

Clifford Fishman is a longtime member of Tikvat Israel Congregation in Rockville and a professor emeritus of law at Catholic University.

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