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אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים | El Malé Raḥamim (Prayer for the Departed), translated and sung by Effron Esseiva

Almost two years ago my best friend passed away and I had the honour of chanting this maleh rachamim for him. In mid-May this year another friend approached me and said he really liked the way I did it at the time and could I record it for him because he was going to do it too for an unrelated unveiling. So, I recorded it on May 18, 2011. I didn’t compose it. It’s a traditional tune, but it’s my voice and I hope someone else can perhaps learn it with this material. The more resource there are out there through means such as Open Siddur the better we can learn and share.

The recording is shared with a Public Domain Dedication (CC0).


Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים שׁוֹכֵן בַּמְּרוֹמִים,
הַמְצֵא מְנוּחָה נְכוֹנָה עַל כַּנְפֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה,
בְּמַעֲלוֹת קְדוֹשִׁים וּטְהוֹרִים
כְּזוֹהַר הָרָקִיעַ מַזְהִירִים,
בורך טוב בן בלימע ושלמה אֶת נִשְׁמַת
שֶׁהָלַךְ לְעוֹלָמוֹ, בְּגַן עֵדֶן תְּהֵא מְנוּחָתוֹ.
Compassionate source of all that is,
who is present in the heavens,
take our loved one [name] under your holy, pure and glorious wings
that shine like the sky,
as we provide charity
in the name of the soul of our loved one.

[אָנָא,] בַּעַל הָרַחֲמִים יַסְתִּירֵהוּ
בְּסֵתֶר [כְּנָפֶיךָ] כְּנָפָיו לְעוֹלָמִים,
וְיִצְרֹר [וּצְרֹר] בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים
אֶת נִשְׁמָתוֹ, יְיָ הוּא נַחֲלָתוֹ,
וְיָנוּחַ בְּשָׁלוֹם עַל מִשְׁכָּבוֹ, וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן׃
[Please] Compassionate one,
provide rest for the soul of our loved one in Ga’an Eden
and never withdraw your protective wings and take [bundle] this soul into the bond of life. Hashem is this soul’s
everlasting inheritance and peaceful resting place,
and let us say: Amen.

We are grateful to Effron Esseiva of the Shirat Hayam on Bowen Island havurah and Or Shalom Synagogue in Vancouver for sharing his recording and abbreviated translation (below) of El Malei Raḥamim (lit. “God, full of Compassion”), the prayer for the departed traditionally read at the unveiling of the headstone. Effron is studying davvening leadership through Aleph with teachers Rabbi Marcia Prager, Rabbi Shawn Zevit, and Hazzan Jack Kessler.

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