Posted on December 24, 2020
A Gentile associate of mine once said to me with admiration: “Jews have blessings for everything!”
Soon we will all be receiving the Covid 19 vaccine. I would like to share with you the blessings that I have been collecting for this momentous occasion. They are written (mostly) by rabbis who are seeking to express gratitude to God and to sanctify this moment. When we say the blessing, we acknowledge the range of emotions that we might be feeling, including relief, excitement, joy, nervousness, gratefulness, and others. By saying a blessing we elevate the experience of getting a needle stuck in our arm into the realm of the sacred. We make getting the vaccine into something no less than holy.
The blessings thank God, express appreciation and awe for the scientists who worked to develop the vaccines, thank the health care workers who have been so dedicated and talk about the miracles of the human body. Some talk about how our getting the vaccine helps stop the spread of the disease.
I have several blessings in my collection and I will add more as I find more. You can read them and choose the one (or more than one) that you like the best to say before or after receiving the vaccine. Most are only in English, some are also in Hebrew, and one is in Hebrew, English, Yiddish, and Magyar. (I had one that was just in Hebrew, but I removed it when I found out that the author holds extreme racist positions in Israel. Covid is not the only illness that spreads through exposure. I will be expanding on this issue in my sermon on Friday night.)
I hope that you find that saying a blessing when you get the vaccine makes an already powerful experience even more so. May you –may we– have the opportunity to use these blessings in the very near future.
Rabbi Miriam T. Spitzer