Moses’ holiest prayer

The power behind the Hebrew words

  • A Hebrew prayer for health

    In the Book of Numbers chapter 12, Miriam is struck with leprosy after making fun of her brother Moses’ wife. Moses then beseeches God to restore her health, with one of the briefest, yet most heartfelt prayers in the entire Bible, “Please, God, heal her!” (Num. 12:13). In translation, it sounds straightforward. But in the original Hebrew what Moses actually said was, El Na Refah Na La -אֵל נָא רְפָא נָא לָהּ.

    This five-word phrase has perfect symmetry. The central word Refah means “heal”. It is surrounded on both sides with the word Na, meaning “please”. The two outermost words are El (“God”) and La (her”), both containing the sound “L”. This short phrase has poetic symmetry, where the repetition of the word “please” strengthens Moses’ prayer. We know the Bible was originally spoken in Hebrew and there is no doubt that by studying and savoring it in Hebrew you discover so much more. The time has come to set aside your translation and enroll in our live online Biblical Hebrew course!   

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