Following is a basic version of the evening blessings (similar to the one found in many prayer books). As you read through the blessings, do you notice any significant difference between the evening blessings and the morning blessings? We do not praise God in the evening as much as we do in the morning; in the evening, we petition God for protection. We call upon God and the angels to guard us on all sides. The evening blessings respond to a primal fear in humans of the night, of the darkness, of our own inability to protect ourselves as we sleep. It is out of the anxiety that the darkness brings that we call upon God for a shelter of peace.

“Hear O Israel, Adonai is our God, Adonai is One.

“Lay us down, Adonai our God, with peace, and raise us up to life, You who are Sovereign. Spread over us the shelter of Your peace. Set us straight with Your good counsel before You, and save us from the sake of Your name [to protect Your reputation]. Hide us in the cover of Your shadow, for You are our Divine Guardian and Deliverer, and You are a merciful and gracious King. Guard our going and our coming, for life and peace, for all eternity. Spread over us the shelter of Your peace. Praised are You, who spreads a peaceful shelter upon us, and upon all of Your people Israel, and upon Jerusalem.

“For the sake of Adonai, the God of Israel: May the angel Michael be at my right side, may the angel Gabriel be at my left side. May the angel Uriel be before me, the angel Raphael be behind me, and may the Presence of God be upon my head.”

Kerry M. Olitzky, editor, Daniel Judson, editor in The Rituals and Practices of a Jewish Life