In cleaning up the house, we located a small prayer book called “Aneni: Special Prayers for Special Occasions.” It’s tiny; only 3.5 inches by 5 inches and about 250 pages, with fairly large, easy to read text. It’s very small for a Jewish prayer book, and includes prayers not found in the regular one.
Included among these prayers for various life events is a whole section on health. There’s a prayer for longevity, for health, before taking medicine, for recovery from illness, and for accepting suffering with love.
Here’s the English translation of the prayer to say before taking medicine:
I am about to [eat/drink this; or have treatment] for a healing, so that my body will be healthy and strong to serve the Eternal, blessed be His Name. Heal me with a complete cure, among all the sick of Your people Israel, a healing of the soul and a healing of the body, for you are a merciful and reliable God and Healer. Blessed be the Healer of the sick of His people Israel.
I find it interesting that it includes wording for healing foods and not just pills. I could say this before a meal full of super-beneficial foods or herbal tea. The origin of the prayer may very well predate modern medicine and pills that come in bottles.
With my current health challenges, I figured I’d want to say the ones for health, recovery, medicine, and suffering. But something interesting happened when I started saying the above blessing before taking medicine or supplements. I no longer felt like I was suffering! I didn’t even remember to pull out the Aneni book each and every time I needed to take a pill; but I kept in mind that God should heal me; that healing is possible.
I’d gotten so wrapped up in how awful I felt, and how scared I was that several doctors still can’t figure out what’s going on. I’d forgotten about the spiritual/mental side of healing. Just eating the right foods and taking the right supplements will never be enough if you’re focused on what you can’t do, what you can’t eat, and everything feels hopeless.
On an objective level, I can’t say that I’m significantly any better than I was before I found these prayers. But somehow it all feels different. I feel like I’m back in control of my own body and my own health.