Blessing of Gratitude: Hagomel


Dear Rabbi,

Recently, I’ve seen online some freed Israeli hostages saying a brief blessing in the presence of a group of other soldiers, friends and family. What is this blessing?

Thanks, and I pray that the remaining hostages are brought home soon!



  1. The blessing you have seen is one of thanks to God for helping them survive a perilous situation. Classical texts of Judaism mention four prototypes: travel over oceans, across deserts, recovery from illness and freedom from imprisonment. In each case, the person makes a blessing called “Hagomel” when he survives that threat to life. It is said in the presence of a minyan, and although the custom is to say it in the synagogue after the Torah reading, it may be said at any convenient time and place.

    The person making the blessing says: “Blessed are You, God, King of the universe, Who bestows good things upon the culpable, Who has bestowed every goodness upon me.”

    The other people respond: “Amen. May He who has bestowed kindness upon you, always bestow every kindness upon you.”

    The Hebrew texts can be found in any traditional Siddur prayer book.

    This blessing is an expression of thanks to Heaven for being saved. But when a survivor of any threat to life expresses gratitude, the initial attitude to the experience just endured is that it would have been better to have been spared both the danger and the deliverance.

    This, however, is not necessarily the proper perspective. Every experience in life is an education in appreciating the ways of Divine Providence. When a survivor reflects more profoundly on the experience, the person should be grateful to God for the deliverance, but also sing praise of Heaven for being lifted to a higher spiritual level via this experience.

    It is appropriate for the recipient of God’s kindness to pay forward the kindness to others in need. A widespread custom is for the person to donate money or time or other resources to communal charity or to any worthy cause the person’s soul desires to help.

    Best wishes from the Team