Saying Shema at Bedtime

Today we learned from Parashat Vayechi (next week’s Torah portion) that Jacob blessed his grandchildren Efrayim and Menashe a special blessing which included the phrase “May you have as many children as the fish over the land”.

This phrase is part of the prayers said at bedtime, specifically the prayer “HaMalach HaGoel.”  In addition to the Shema and the V’ahavta paragraph that follows it, the complete “Bedtime Shema” includes additional prayers that focus on asking for God’s protection during the hours of sleep. One of the best known of these prayers is Hamalach Hago’el:

“May the angel who redeems me from all evil, bless the youths, and may my name be declared upon them–and the names of my forefathers, Abraham and Isaac–and may they proliferate like fish within the land” (Genesis 48:16).

We listened & danced to this prayer which in class.  It is a beautiful song.

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