Every once in a while, you'll see an ambulance drive by, sirens wailing and everything. You stop, and wonder to yourself if everything will be okay. (especially if the ambulance belongs to Hatzalah)

This is probably a good time to offer up a prayer for the well-being of the unknown patient. You could probably say something in English, but Hebrew is better. You wouldn't be wrong for saying "אחינו כל בית ישראל," which is the general prayer for people in distress, but it feels a little too vague.

Has anyone composed a prayer for one who sees an ambulance driving past?

  • I'm not sure whether I'd want original compositions, but it really depends on the quality of the piece. Let's see what comes up.
    – MTL
    Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 3:22
  • Why not just say some Tehilim? Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 14:46
  • 2
    If you are short on time say "Hashem please heal the person who needs healing" Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 15:18
  • 2
    Very good Q! Offhand, I wonder if you can say a short version of Mi Sheberach L'cholim substituting a phrase such as hacholeh with no specific name. Sadly, I know someone 2 blocks away who occasionally has diabetic "spells". When I see Hatzalah pass my home, if I can, I rush out & see if the ambulance turns down his block. If it does, I rush over.
    – DanF
    Commented May 12, 2015 at 16:48

1 Answer 1


R Telushkin asks exactly this question in one of his earlier books (I believe it is The book of Jewish values but can check if important to someone). He is quoted here

Rabbi Telushkin mentioned something that happens in Manhattan: conversations are shattered by the sound of an ambulance, and he said his first reaction to that was always annoyance, though he knew that was the wrong reaction. Reb Zalman suggested that when we hear ambulances, we say a short prayer: El na, refa na la, "Oh God, heal her." (Moshe's prayer for Miriam, see Bamidbar 12:13).

And Rabbi Telushkin said that when he started that practice, he found immediately that he stopped feeling annoyance in response to the ambulance noises, and that it expanded his consciousness. What if we get stopped in traffic because there's an accident ahead? Can we circumvent the impulse to be annoyed at our inconvenience, and instead spend the time praying for their healing? Even if it doesn't help the person in need, it might help us.

  • Telushkin offers very smart sensible advice. I like his suggestion. I hope in his books he also advises against rubber-necking. People who are unable to help really should not be gawking at accidents. It's really a private matter.
    – DanF
    Commented Nov 29, 2017 at 19:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .