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From the beginning,
Thou hast ordained that man
made in Thy divine image
might imitate Thy holy attributes
of mercy and loving-kindness,
so that we may be drawn closer to Thee.
That where there is grief,
we may solace the grief-stricken,
where there is suffering
we may relieve the sufferers,
and where there is illness,
dedicated men and women
might join their forces
to cure the sick.
In this godly impulse,
Thy children have banded together
to establish institutions
where expert care is provided
and where suffering is relieved.
Glorious indeed is it to witness
the offerings that men and women bring
to make possible the establishment and maintenance
of hospitals for the healing of the sick
and the easing of pain.
And within these walls
has there been set aside a room
consecrated to prayer and meditation.
Here questing spirits will come, O Lord,
to speak their troubles
and seek Thy guidance and comfort.
Here parents will come to pray for a child,
children to ask Thy strength for their parents,
a spouse will offer a prayer of desperate need
for a dearly beloved mate.
Within this room
people who have learned the raw knife of pain
and the desperation of waiting
will sit in silence,
their minds and spirits turned utterly unto Thee.
And psalms of thanksgiving
will spontaneously spring to the lips
of many who have found answer to their prayers.
May the worship offered within this chapel
bring comfort to the sorrowing,
light to those who walk in darkness,
and understanding to all troubled souls.
May Thy spirit abide with us in this hour
and with all who come here to seek Thee.
So we pray
that they who enter this room
will learn the truth of Thy ancient message:
“Shalom, Shalom, l’ra-hok v’la-ka-rov u-re-fa-tim.
Peace, to him that is near
and to him that is afar,
and I shall grant them healing,
saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 57:19)
Bless, we ask Thee, O Lord,
him who has donated this chapel,
and all the citizens of our community
who contribute to and serve this hospital.
Bless the doctors and nurses
and all those who labor for the good of the patients
and bless, we pray Thee,
the sick who here will find healing.
Speed the coming of the time
when all men shall acknowledge Thy sovereignty
and will together build a world
from which disease and strife
will be removed.
So do we in God’s name and in His sight
dedicate this hospital chapel to His worship
and the service of man.
“Prayer for Dedication of Hospital Chapel” by Rabbi Morrison David Bial was first published in his anthology, An Offering of Prayer (1962), p. 68, from where this prayer was transcribed. No contextual information was provided with the prayer, so we cannot say when the prayer was offered or even for which hospital chapel it was dedicated. If you know, please leave a comment or contact us.
“Prayer for Dedication of Hospital Chapel, by Rabbi Morrison David Bial (1962)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.
Works of related interest:
[Prayer for the] Dedication of a Medical Research Clinic, by Rabbi Avraham Samuel Soltes (ca. 1950s)
אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים | El Malé Raḥamim – Interfaith Memorial Service for the Homeless, by Rabbi Victor Reinstein (2014)
Prayer on the consecration of the new synagogue building for Ḳahal Ḳadosh Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia, by Rabbi Sabato Morais (1 June 1860)