תהלים קמ״ב | Psalms 142 and Mi sheBerakh for those in captivity or whose whereabouts are unknown

This prayer was first published by the Office of the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth in June 2014, as “Prayer Issued for Missing Israeli Teenagers,” writing: “The prayer…currently being recited across Israel for missing teenagers Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, was issued today to Rabbanim of the United Hebrew Congregations by Chief Rabbi Mirvis.”

Recitation of this psalm and mi sheberakh seem appropriate to me in the case of unconscionable, immoral, and unjust state policies that separate children from their caregivers. To help fulfill the mitsvah of ransoming captives, please contribute to funds paying out bail bonds and demonstrate your opposition to these policies. –Aharon Varady


Hebrew (source) English (translation) Arabic (translation)

תהלים קמב
Psalm 142

المزمور الثاني و الأربعون بعد المائة:


מַשְׂכִּיל לְדָוִד,
בִּהְיוֹתוֹ בַמְּעָרָה תְפִלָּה׃
קוֹלִי אֶל יְהוָה אֶזְעָק,
קוֹלִי אֶל יְהוָה אֶתְחַנָּן׃
אֶשְׁפֹּךְ לְפָנָיו שִׂיחִי,
צָרָתִי לְפָנָיו אַגִּיד׃
בְּהִתְעַטֵּף עָלַי רוּחִי וְאַתָּה יָדַֽעְתָּ נְתִיבָתִי,
בְּאֹֽרַח זוּ אֲהַלֵּךְ טָמְנוּ פַח לִי׃
הַבֵּיט יָמִין וּרְאֵה וְאֵין לִי מַכִּיר,
אָבַד מָנוֹס מִמֶּֽנִּי אֵין דּוֹרֵשׁ לְנַפְשִׁי׃
זָעַקְתִּי אֵלֶֽיךָ יְהוָה אָמַֽרְתִּי אַתָּה מַחְסִי,
חֶלְקִי בְּאֶֽרֶץ הַחַיִּֽים׃
הַקְשִֽׁיבָה אֶל רִנָּתִי כִּי דַלּֽוֹתִי מְאֹד,
הַצִּילֵֽנִי מֵרֹדְפַי כִּי אָמְצוּ מִמֶּֽנִּי׃
הוֹצִֽיאָה מִמַּסְגֵּר נַפְשִׁי לְהוֹדוֹת אֶת שְׁמֶֽךָ,
בִּי יַכְתִּֽרוּ צַדִּיקִים
כִּי תִגְמֹל עָלָי׃
A prayer by David at a time of enlightenment,
written when he was hiding in the cave.
My voice calls out to YHVH,
my voice begs my YHVH to listen.
I pour out my words before Hashem
to tell of all my troubles.
When my soul wraps itself around me protectively,
you know my path – on every road I take they lay traps for me.
Look to the right and see – I don’t recognize anyone;
I have lost all avenues of escape, no one is looking for me.
I call out to you, YHVH, I say you are my protector,
my portion is still in the land of the living.
Listen to my prayer for my calamity is boundless;
rescue me from my pursuers who are so much mightier than me.
Take my soul out of bondage so that it can thank your name;
the righteous will crown themselves with me
when you act with benevolence towards me.

قصة لداوود عليه السلام عندما كان مختبئاً في المغارة. صلاة:
من خلال صلاتي إلى الرب،
أصرخ بصوتي إلى الرب بشكواي،
راجياً أن يسمعني، وأحدثه بضيقي.
أنت أعلم بمسلكي – في كل طريقٍ أسلكها،
ينصبوا لي فخاً -.
عندما تلتف روحي في داخلي حولي من أجل الحماية،
ألتفتُ إلى يميني فلا أجدُ من يهتم لأمري أو يحميني.
فقدتُ كل طرقِ الهرب.
لم يبق لي ملاذٌ أو من يسألُ عني سواك.
أدعوك يا ربي قائلاً أنت ملجأي.
ما زال لي نصيبٌ في أرض الأحياء،
فأرجوك أن تُصغِ إلى دعائي لأنني قد تذللتُ كثيراً.
أنقذني من مضطهديني فهم أشدُ بأساً مني.
فرّج عني محنتي لِتُسَّبِحَ روحي بإسمك فيلتفُ الصدّيقون من حولي ثواباً لي منك.


מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ
אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב
יוֹסֵף מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן
דָּוִד וּשְׁלֹמֹה
הוּא יְבָרֵךְ וְיִשְׁמֹר וְיִנְצֹר אֶת הַשְּׁבוּיִים׃
The One who blessed our forefathers,
Avraham, Yitsḥak, and Yaakov,
Yosef, Moshe, and Aharon,
David and Shlomo,
may they bless and safeguard and preserve the captives:


שמות של השבויים
name of captive(s)


בְּתוֺךְ שְׁאָר אֲחֵינוּ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל הַנְּתוּנִים בְּצָרָה וּבְשִׁבְיָה.
בַּעֲבוּר שֶׁהַקָּהָל מִתְפַּלֵּל בַּעֲבוּרָם,
הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יִמָּלֵא רַחֲמִים עֲלֵיהֶם,
וְיוֹצִיאֵם מֵחֹשֶׁךְ וְצַלְמָוֶת,
וּמוֹסְרוֹתֵיהֶם יְנַתֵּק,
וּמִמְּצוּקוֹתֵיהֶם יוֹשִׁיעֵם,
וִישִׁיבֵם מְהֵרָה לְחֵיק מִשְׁפְּחוֹתֵיהֶם.‏
among their brethren in the House of Yisrael in trouble and captivity.
In the merit of the prayers of this holy assemblage who pray for them,
may the blessed Holy One shower compassion over them,
and deliver them from darkness and strife,
remove their bondage,
deliver them from their afflictions,
and return them speedily to their families.


”יוֹדוּ לַה׳ חַסְדּוֹ
וְנִפְלְאוֹתָיו לִבְנֵי אָדָם“ (תהלים קז:לא)‏
Let them give thanks to YHVH for his lovingkindness,
and for his miracles to the children of Adam.[1]Psalms 107:31


וִיקֻיַּם בָּהֶם מִקְרָא שֶׁכָּתוּב:
”וּפְדוּיֵי ה׳ יְשׁוּבוּן
וּבָאוּ צִיּוֹן בְּרִנָּה
וְשִׂמְחַת עוֹלָם עַל רֹאשָׁם שָׂשׂוֹן
וְשִׂמְחָה יַשִּׂיגוּ
וְנָסוּ יָגוֹן וַאֲנָחָה“ (ישעיהו לה:י)‏
וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן.‏
And establish for them that what is written,
“And the ransomed of YHVH shall return,
and come with singing unto Tsiyon,
and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
They shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”[2]Isaiah 35:10
and let us say, Amen.

Notes   [ + ]

  1. Psalms 107:31
  2. Isaiah 35:10

2 comments to תהלים קמ״ב | Psalms 142 and Mi sheBerakh for those in captivity or whose whereabouts are unknown

  • In the event of the abduction of three Jewish Israeli teenagers in 2014, ( גיל־עד מיכאל בן בת גלים (שעאר)‏ | Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim, יעקב נפתלי בן רחל דבורה (פרנקל)‏ | Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah, and אייל בן איריס תשורה (יפרח)‏ | Eyal ben Iris Teshurah), two of which were students of Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz’s Mekor Haim Yeshiva High School in Jerusalem, Rav Steinsaltz wrote:

    The kidnapping of our students is a shocking, painful and frightening event. In a time and place that had seemed to us quiet and serene, we have been thrown into an event that we can do nothing to resolve.

    Perhaps we are better off than in past times, when we were totally unable even to attempt rescue and deliverance. We are grateful to the Israel Defense Forces for all their efforts.

    Still we, the families, the friends and the teachers of the kidnapped boys are standing with “idle hands” (Ecclesiastes 10:18.) All we have left now is to turn to our Father in Heaven and plead. We do not despair because we doubt our Heavenly Father. Rather we feel helpless because, “God is in Heaven and you are upon earth” (Ecclesiastes 5:1).

    Thus, we can never know the extent our pleas and cries reach Heaven — and also have some effect here, on earth. What we can do – and this has been the Jewish way from time immemorial – is to add more holiness and learn more Torah. If we can, each of us should take upon ourselves something additional, no matter how small, especially and explicitly devoted for the sake and well-being of the missing boys.

    Furthermore, we Jews have always been accustomed to reciting the Psalms, and we certainly ought to do more of this, especially two psalms that seem to me most relevant: Psalms 142 and 143, chapters that literally deal with our plight. We pray also for the safety of those who are working toward their rescue.

    May it be God’s will that in their merit, and for the merit of their suffering, together with our prayers and good deeds, we shall soon see our boys returned to us, God willing, safe and sound.

    Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz

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