“May Michael be at my right, Gabriel at my left, Uriel in front of me, Raphael behind me, and above my head the Shekhina, the Divine Presence.”
- Traditional Jewish Bedtime Prayer
Many of us might be surprised to learn about the vast amount of angelology and demonology in Jewish thought and practice. Every night before going to bed, many Jews recite the prayer above, invoking the names of God’s four archangels: Michael (God’s messenger), Gabriel (God’s hero), Uriel (God’s light), and Raphael (God’s healer).
In the Talmud, it is suggested that these are the angels Jacob saw when he dreamt of the ladder that stretched from earth to heaven (B. Chullin 91b).
In Rabbi David A. Cooper’s God is a Verb, he writes, “When we call upon angels to be with us, we tap into an infinite resource of good will…The only impediments to connecting with this energy are doubt and cynicism….”
This week, try reciting this traditional Jewish bedtime prayer. Create a ritual with your family that will bring comfort as you prepare for sleep, and tap into that infinite source of good will, the Divine Presence. May we all feel surrounded by angels and protected by God at all times.