Meditation for the Bedtime Shema

Meditation for the Bedtime Shema

 

Based on R’ Yosef ben Shalom Ashkenazi (cited in Mosheh Hallamish, "Kabbalistic Commentary" p.223 / Qtd. in Mosheh Idel, "Mystical Techniques" p. 105)

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בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמַּפִּיל חֶבְלֵי שֵׁנָה עַל עֵינַי וּתְנוּמָה עַל עַפְעַפַּי וּמֵאִיר לְאִישׁוֹן בַּת עָיִן. יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהַי וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתַי, שֶׁתַּשְׁכִּיבֵנִי לְשָׁלוֹם וְתַעֲמִידֵנִי לְחַיִּים טוֹבִים וּלְשָׁלוֹם וְתֵן חֶלְקִי בְּתוֹרָתֶךָ, וְתַרְגִּילֵנִי לִדְבַר מִצְוָה וְאַל תַּרְגִּילֵנִי לִדְבַר עֲבֵרָה. וְאַל תְּבִיאֵנִי לִידֵי חֵטְא וְלֹא לִידֵי נִסָּיוֹן וְלֹא לִידֵי בִזָּיוֹן. וְיִשְׁלֹט בִּי יֵצֶר הַטּוֹב וְאַל יִשְׁלֹט בִּי יֵצֶר הָרָע. וְתַצִּילֵנִי מִיֵּצֶר הָרָע וּמֵחוֹלָאִים רָעִים וְאַל יַבְהִילוּנִי חֲלוֹמוֹת רָעִים וְהִרְהוּרִים רָעִים וּתְהֵא מִטָּתִי שְׁלֵמָה לְפָנֶיךָ וְהָאֵר עֵינַי פֶּן אִישַׁן הַמָּוֶת. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְהֹוָה  הַמֵּאִיר לְעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ בִּכְבוֹדוֹ:

Blessed are you, יהוה, our God, Universal Ruler, who makes the bonds of sleep fall on my eyes, and slumber on my eyelids, and who illuminates the pupils of the eye. May it be Your will, יהוה my God and God of my ancestors, that You make me lie down in peace and arise to a good life in peace. Grant me my share in Your Torah, and make me accustomed to Your commandments, and do not let me be accustomed to sin. Lead me not into error, temptation, or disgrace, and let me be led by my good instincts and never dominated by my bad ones. Save me from the Adversary and from harm and severe illness. Let not my imagination, bad dreams or troubling thoughts disturb me. May my bed be flawless before You. Enlighten my eyes lest I sleep the sleep of death. Blessed are You, יהוה, who gives light to the whole world in Your glory.

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Close your eyes and project the letters of the divine name: י-ה-ו-ה inside your eyelids. Then say each word of the Shema while drawing on a different sense.

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שְׁמַע

Hear the sound of thunder, of wind rushing past, of a voice whispered across a great distance.

יִשְׂרָאֵל

See the letters dance in front of you, move back and forth in front of one another, rotating through the prism of color.

יְהֹוָה

Smell the sweet savor of the ancient sacrifices, the scented smoke rising up before you.

אֱלהֵינוּ

Taste the manna of the desert, the thing which makes your mouth water, water which quenches your parched thirst.

יְהֹוָה

Touch the stones of the altar, the glittering sapphire brickwork of the Heavens. Feel its cool smoothness soothe you.

אֶחָד

Know that God is with you. Extend your mind to sense the presence all around you, hovering over you, swinging you between waking and sleeping, back and forth.