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Jewish Prayers:
Bedtime Prayers


Jewish Prayers: Table of Contents | Daily Services | The Shema


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Prior to going to sleep, many Jews recite some, if not all, of the following prayers which are believed to bring peace and comfort to one as they sleep. Scholars used to teach that during the night demons come searching for innocent souls, however, completing these prayers would protect the from such dangers. The bedtime prayers are structured around the Shema which many Jews believe will protect them for the afterlife if they unexpectedly die while sleeping. Other prayers include Psalm 91 and Psalm 3.


Who Closes My Eyes...: A Blessing at Bedtime

Praised are You, Adonai, our God, Ruler of the universe, who closes my eyes in sleep, my eyelids in slumber.

May it be Your will, Adonai, My God and the God of my ancestors, to lie me down in peace and then to raise me up in peace.

Let no disturbing thoughts upset me, no evil dreams nor troubling fantasies.

May my bed be complete and whole in Your sight.

Grant me light so that I do not sleep the sleep of death, for it is You who illumines and enlightens.

Praised are You, Adonai, whose majesty gives light to the universe.

The Shema

Hear, O Israel, Adonai, our God, Adonai, is One.
Blessed be the name of his glorious majesty forever and ever.

You shall love Adonai your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you are sitting at home and when you go on a journey, when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be frontlets between your eyes. You shall inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Hashkivenu

Lie us down, Adonai our God, in peace; and raise us up again, our Ruler, in life.

Spread over us Your Sukkah of peace, direct us with Your good counsel, and save us for Your own Name's sake.

Shield us; remove from us every enemy, pestilence, sword, famine, and sorrow.

Remove all adversaries from before us and from behind us, and shelter us in the shadow of Your wings.

For You are our guarding and saving God, yes, a gracious and compassionate God and King.

Guard our going out and our coming in for life and peace, now and always!

Special Prayer for Protection at Night

In the name of Adonai the God of Israel:
May the angel Michael be at my right,
and the angel Gabriel be at my left;
and in front of me the angel Uriel,
and behind me the angel Raphael...
and above my head the Sh'khinah (Divine Presence).


Sources: Eisenberg, Ronald L. The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions. PA: Jewish Publication Society, 2004; “Prayer Kriat Sh’ma”

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