May Angels Protect You

P1130218 Lettering by Laya Crust

There is a beautiful prayer said at night before falling asleep. We ask Gd and his emissaries- the angels Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael, to protect us during the night. Night used to be a terrifying time. Pitch black- no artificial light to illuminate paths and roads. Depending on the time and place there were marauders and wild animals. And death came stealthily at night. This beautiful prayer brings  strength and comforting thoughts before drifting off to sleep.

P1130610Lettering by Laya Crust

A couple of weeks ago Myrna, a wonderful individual, shared the story of a young, 16 year old friend who has been diagnosed with cancer. Myrna felt that the best thing she could do was give him this prayer so that when he felt alone he could read it and feel surrounded by love and the presence of Gd and protecting angels.

In the name of the Lord, God of Israel

may Michael be at my right hand,

Gabriel at my left,

in front of me Uriel,

behind me Raphael,

and above my head the presence of God

May this prayer surround all of us at all times.

Have a Shabbat Shalom,



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2 responses to “May Angels Protect You

  1. Laya, when I read your translation of the words, I was reminded of the evening prayer in Humperdinck’s opera Hansel and Gretel. Of course, it comes out of a Christian milieu, but I found a translation online, and wonder if Humperdinck or his librettist might have had some exposure to the Hebrew prayer. Here is what I found (with the German at the end, which anyone who knows Yiddish can probably understand easily):

    When at night I go to sleep
    Fourteen angels watch do keep
    Two my head are guarding
    Two my feet are guiding
    Two are on my right hand
    Two are on my left hand
    Two who warmly cover
    Two who o’er me hover
    Two to whom ’tis given
    To guide my steps to heaven

    Sleeping sofly, then it seems
    Heaven enters in my dreams;
    Angels hover round me,
    Whisp’ring they have found me;
    Two are sweetly singing,
    Two are garlands bringing,
    Strewing me with roses
    As my soul reposes.
    God will not forsake me
    When dawn at last will wake me.

    From “Hänsel & Gretel” (1893)
    (Engelbert Humperdinck)

    Abends, will ich schlafen gehn,
    Vierzehn Engel um mich stehn:
    Zwei zu meinen Häupten,
    Zwei zu meinen Füßen,
    Zwei zu meiner Rechten,
    Zwei zu meiner Linken,
    Zweie, die mich decken,
    Zweie, die mich wecken,
    Zweie, die mich weisen,
    Zu Himmels-Paradeisen.


    • Dear Margie- Thank you so much! That’s beautiful. it makes sense there would be an influence of our prayers into Christian liturgy and artistic composition. reading the text then reminded me of “All Through the Night”- another (probably Christian) lullaby. I’ll check that out.

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