Orach Chayim Index | Hashkiveinu - Blessing for Retiring
Hashkiveinu Hashem Elokeinu l'shalom, v'ha-amideynu malkeinu l'chayim, ufros aleinu sukat sh'lomecha, v'tak'neinu b'eitzah tovah mil'fanecha, v'hoshieinu l'ma-an sh'mecha
Lay us down to sleep, Hashem our G-d, in peace, raise us erect, our King, to life; and spread over us the shelter of Your peace. Set us aright with good counsel from before Your Presence, and save us for Your Name's sake.
V'hagen ba-adeinu, v'haser me'aleinu oyev, dever v'cherev v'ra-av v'yagon, v'haseir satan mil'faneinu u-mei-achareinu, uvtzel k'nafecha tastireinu, ki El shom'reinu u-matzileinu atah, ki Kel melech chanun v'rachum atah
Shield us, remove from us foe, plague, sword, famine, and woe; and remove spiritual impediment from before us and behind us and in the shadow of Your wings shelter us (Tehillim 17:8) - for G-d who protects and rescues us are You; for G-d, the Gracious and Compassionate King, are You. (Nechemya 9:31)
Ushmor tzeyteinu u-vo-einu, l'chayim ulshalom mei-atah v'ad olam, [added on Shabbat --> ufrot aleinu sukat sh'lomecha
Safeguard our going and coming - for life and for peace from now to eternity. (Tehillim 121:8) And spread over us the shelter of Your peace.
Baruch atah Hashem, hapores sukat shalom aleinu, v'al kal amo Yisrael, v'al Yerushalayim. Amein
Blessed are You, Hashem, Who spreads the shelter of peace upon us, upon all of his people Yisrael and upon Yerushalayim. Amein.
Unlike the morning Shema', the evening Shema' is followed by two blessings. The second is particularly relevant for the night. It is called the Blessing of Hashkiveinu ("Lay us down"). In Babylonia, the center of Jewish life during the Talmudic period, the nights were especially frightening. Sparsely populated areas and rural roads were dangerous. Criminals roamed and violence was prevalent. "Remove spiritual impediment from before us and behind us."... "Safeguard our going and coming" needs no elaboration. It meant simply just that.
The concluding words of the blessing are changed on the Shabbat and on the Festivals to suggest that on these holy days we require less protection against harmful elements. On these days, the people did not work in the unprotected fields, but spent the day in the relative safety of their own homes and neighborhoods. The "shelter of peace" was characteristic of the Shabbat in the physical as well as spiritual sense.
One verse in the blessing, "remove spiritual impediment from before us and behind us," may, however, have a meaning that goes beyond the sense of imminent physical danger. The word we translate as "spiritual impediment" or "adversary" is rendered in the Hebrew text by the word satan. In the Hebraic idiom, this word does not mean a "Satan" who fights against G-d. Judaism recognizes no independent spiritual power other than G-d. "satan" refers to the evil impulses within man that prevent him from following his good inclinations and thus lead him astray. The verse might therefore also be translated as "Remove every evil impulse from before us and behind us."
To Pray As A Jew, Rabbi Donin
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