To add the name of a loved one who is ill and needs prayer to our prayer list, please contact Rebbetzin Malkah.
Please put it in the format: "name" son/daughter of "mother" (example: yochanan ben sara or chava bat rachel [['ben' meaning son, 'bat' meaning daughter). If a Hebrew name is available for the person who is ill and a Hebrew name is available for the mother, please make note of this. We will pray for this person during our Melitz Yosher sessions. If possible, please minimally detail the condition so we know how to pray.
A melitz yosher is an advocate, someone who pleads for mercy on behalf of those who need an advocate. The idea of mediating for a person or people in need in the heavenly courts is ancient in the Jewish tradition.
As Mashiach Yeshua, the melitz yosher gadol, stands in the breach for us, may those who join Melitz Yosher embody that spirit of compassion, concern and diligence in praying for the concerns, needs and healing for those in our midst and those separated by distance.
If we give our traditional prayer book a glance, we see that there are numerous prayers for help, either for the supplicant, or for other Israelites:
- "Ana B'koach, gedulat y'mincha"
(We beg you! With the strength of Your right hand's greatness)
- Tachanun (Supplication). The paragraph near the end of the Amidah
(Elohai nezor l'shoni mei-rah) asks for protection and ends with "Let your right hand save and respond to me," from Psalm 60:7
- Zohar (Vayakhel 360a) prayer before the open ark, before the Torah is taken out
- Mishebeirakh (prayer for a sick person) during the Amidah and before final Torah procession
A primary issue at the outset of the Yavnean age was, in a word, local survival. The rabbinic leadership struggled to assert some authority against the forces of foreign political domination. Rabbinic Jews, like many other subservient subordinate populations, were essentially powerless and accordingly indigent. Day after day, the people had to struggle against the elemental forces of nature for rudimentary sustenance.
The rabbis turned their attention where they could. They espoused the view that through their knowledge and religious virtuosity, the Jew could help fend off the powers of nature, protect persons from the harm of the elements and of the unknown, of sickness, and of the dangers that lurked throughout the world inside the village. The rabbis in the age of Yavneh afforded the Jews means to control the immediate vicissitudes of nature. Through their teachings and practices, through the rabbinic Torah, and mainly through prayer, the masters of this time postulated that they could for instance bring rain, or stop the rain. They cold avert the dangers of the natural world or the likelihood of attack by bandits or other potential human enemies. They offered the people a way to cure their diseases, or at least to foretell the outcome of sicknesses. In the Yavnean period after the fall of the Temple, the rabbi who employed prayer and engaged in the study of Torah evolved by the necessity of the context in which he thrived into the local holy man par excellence of Judaic life.
Our history abounds with examples from Torah, Tanakh, and Talmud of those who took on the role of melitz yosher, or an advocate, mediating in the heavenly courts for a person or people in need.
- Abraham intercedes for Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18:17-19, pleading with G-d he challenges with these words:" Shall the judge of the whole world not do justice?" The bargaining did not save the town, but allowed for some to escape.
- Hagar the Egyptian cries out in the wilderness to save her doomed son Ishmael: " 'Let me not see the death of the child.' And she sat at a distance, lifted her voice and wept." (Genesis21:17) An angel was sent to help her because God heard the child's cries.
- Isaac prayed that Rebecca not be barren. (Genesis 25:21) and she conceived.
- Moses prays and talks God out of destroying Israel after the incident of the Golden Calf. (Exodus 32:31-32 and Numbers 14:11-25).
- Hannah promises to dedicate her child to God's service in return for an end to her infertility. Her personal prayer initiated the entire codification of liturgy after the destruction of the Temple. (1 Samuel 1:11).
Below is a famous example of intercessory prayer from the Talmud:
- In Israel, during an extreme drought, the people asked Honi the Circle-Maker to pray for rain. He declared that he would not move from his circle until God sent rain. A few drops fell in response. Honi insisted on enough rain to fill "wells, cisterns, and itches." When this fell, the people complained and Honi brought reversal.
Now what is the role of intercessory prayer in healing? Today, these prayers are used in the emerging Melitz Yosher groups, healing services and healing circles. According to Velvel Speigler, on his Jewish Healing website:
"Jewish healing is known: it has always been known . . . Illness is imbalance and healing is the process of rebalancing." It seems that intercessory prayer or spiritual healing practitioner is related to Jewish korbannot, which we translate in English as 'sacrifice,' but, in Hebrew, has the deeper meaning of 'drawing nearer.' The nearer we come to the true healer, the more effective the healing."
The prime reference that Jewish healers today use is Moses' entreaty to God to heal his sister Miriam from leprosy: He chanted, "El nah rafanah Lah" (Please heal her [or heal it]). And Miriam (Numbers 12:13) was healed.
Note: This bulk of this article was excerpted from "Intercessionary Prayer, Healing, and Jewish Shamanism", by Rosle Rosenzweig from the Jewish Education News publication under the feature "The Words of My Mouth and the Mediation of My Heart", Spring 2006. Additions to the article were made by Rebbetzin Malkah.
 Zahavy, Tzvee. Studies in Jewish Prayer. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1990, p17
 Frankel, Ellen. The Classic Tales: 4,000 years of Jewish Lore. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1993, pp. 293-4.
 6. http://www.jewishealing.com/ahottopic.html.