Hashkiveinu, a Prayer for Sleep

One of the prayers that follows the daily evening recital of the Shema is Hashkiveinu. In this blessing we ask G-d to serve as a guide and shelter during the upcoming night and praise G-d for watching over us as we enter into a peaceful sleep:

“Lie us down to peace, Adonai our G-d, and raise us up to life, our King (Protector), and spread over us the shelter of Your peace, and direct us with good advice before You, and save us for the sake of Your Name, and look out for us, and keep enemies, plagues, swords, famines, and troubles from our midst, and remove Satan from in front of us and from behind us, and cradle us in the shadow of Your wings, for You are G-d who guards us and saves us, for You are G-d. Our gracious and merciful King (Protector). 

Guard our departure and our arrival to life and to peace, from now and ever more.”

The Mishkan T’filah Reform Siddur (page 161) offers the following creative alternative to the traditional liturgy: 

“Give us a place to rest, Adonai, our G-d. Bring us into shelter in the soft, long, evening shadows of Your truth. For with You are true protection and safety, and in Your Presence are acceptance and gentle love. Watch over us as we go forth. Prepare for us as we return. Spread over us Your shelter of peace, over all we love — over Jerusalem and Yours.”

Hashkiveinu gives voice to one of our deepest fears and needs, asking G-d to watch over us and guard us as we sleep, enabling us to rest peacefully. 

In the playlist below, Andrew Mandel has collated a number of contemporary musical renditions of this prayer. Listen to them before going to sleep as a way to bring calmness and gratitude for the blessing of sleep. 

We are grateful to Andrew Mandel from Revolve for providing this content.