The Traditional Prayer for IDF Soldiers

Jewish Peoplehood and Culture
This post presents the English and Hebrew texts for the traditional prayer for the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, which is often recited in Zionist synagogues on Shabbat and Jewish holidays. The prayer, composed by the late Chief Rabbi and Chief IDF Rabbi, Shlomo Goren, asks God to protect the soldiers of the IDF and strike down their enemies. The accompanying song features popular Israeli artist Gad Elbaz’s musical rendition of this prayer.

Prayer for IDF Soldiers in Hebrew

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת חַיָּלֵי צְבָא הֲגַנָּה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, הָעוֹמְדִים עַל מִשְׁמַר אַרְצֵנוּ וְעָרֵי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מִגְּבוּל הַלְּבָנוֹן וְעַד מִדְבַּר מִצְרַיִם וּמִן הַיָּם הַגָּדוֹל עַד לְבוֹא הָעֲרָבָה בַּיַּבָּשָׁה בָּאֲוִיר וּבַיָּם. יִתֵּן ה’ אֶת אוֹיְבֵינוּ הַקָּמִים עָלֵינוּ נִגָּפִים לִפְנֵיהֶם. הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יִשְׁמֹר וְיַצִּיל אֶת חַיָלֵינוּ מִכָּל צָרָה וְצוּקָה וּמִכָּל נֶגַע וּמַחֲלָה וְיִשְׁלַח בְּרָכָה וְהַצְלָחָה בְּכָל מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵיהֶם. יַדְבֵּר שׂוֹנְאֵינוּ תַּחְתֵּיהֶם וִיעַטְרֵם בְּכֶתֶר יְשׁוּעָה וּבַעֲטֶרֶת נִצָּחון. וִיקֻיַּם בָּהֶם הַכָּתוּב: כִּי ה’ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם הַהֹלֵךְ עִמָּכֶם לְהִלָּחֵם לָכֶם עִם אֹיְבֵיכֶם לְהוֹשִׁיעַ אֶתְכֶם: וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן:

Prayer for IDF Soldiers in English

He Who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Forces, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God, from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea.

May the Almighty cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighters from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.

May He lead our enemies under our soldiers’ sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is the Lord your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.

History of the Prayer for IDF Soldiers

The Prayer for the Welfare of the Soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (Hebrew: התפילה לשלום חיילי צה"ל‎) is a prayer recited on Shabbat and holidays for the well-being of the soldiers of the IDF and the security forces in Israel.

This prayer was established by the first Chief Military Rabbi, Aluf Shlomo Goren, in the early days of the state. In some communities, the prayer is recited after the Torah reading, following the blessing for the sick (Mi Sheberach L'Cholim), and adjacent to the prayer for the well-being of the country (Minhag Ashkenazim). In other communities, the prayer is recited at the opening of the Ark (Minhag Sephardim).

The prayer is common in synagogues affiliated with religious Zionist and some ultra-Orthodox Zionist congregations. This prayer, along with the prayer for the well-being of the country, marks a distinction between the prayers in religious nationalist and ultra-Orthodox Zionist synagogues, as opposed to non-Zionist ultra-Orthodox synagogues. During the Second Intifada, the official wording of the prayer was modified, adding the phrase "and the men and women of the security forces" to the blessing, and "wherever they may be" to describe the location of the IDF soldiers.

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