https://opensiddur.org/?p=29393אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים | El Malé Raḥamim (Prayer for the Departed), interpretive translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi2020-01-21 04:45:00The prayer El Malé Raḥamim, translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.Textthe Open Siddur ProjectAharon N. Varady (transcription)Aharon N. Varady (transcription)Zalman Schachter-Shalomihttps://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/Aharon N. Varady (transcription)https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/Mourningיזכור yizkorאל מלא רחמים El Malé RaḥamimGriefburial service
Compassionate, Highest God!
Grant repose under Your Sh’khinnah’s wings
in the company of saints and pure ones
who radiate light like the bright sky,
and among them may the soul of my (name of deceased)
who has gone to other realms
find gentle rest.
I will offer as Mitsvah,
alms to honor their memory.
May their soul find itself
in the garden of delight
and may their remains be undisturbed
and may their soul be bound up
in the chain of life.
Macy Nulman writes in his entry on “El Malé Raḥamim” in Encyclopedia of Jewish Prayer (1993, pp. 92-93):
Ayl Malay Rahamim came into being in Western and Eastern communities, where it was recited for the martyrs of the Crusades and the Chmielnicki massacres. Eliezer Landshuth has various versions of this prayer, as it was recited in different parts of Europe.4 Israel Davidson has twenty-two versions listed in his Thesaurus of Medieval Hebrew Poetry.
In most prayer books, the phrase differs as to al kanefay hashekhinah (“on the wings of Divine Presence”) or taḥat kanefay hashekhinah (“under the wings of Divine Presence”). Some prayer books give both versions side by side. According to Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (SHeLaH), the correct version is al kanefay hashekhinah since the word taḥat is used in conjunction with proselytes (gerim), as it is written, Asher bat laḥashot taḥat kenafav–“Under whose wings thou art come to take refuge” (Ruth 2:12). In addition the prayer for a convert to Judaism reads, Sheva laḥashot taḥat kanefay Elohay Yisrael (“who came to find protection under the wings of the God of Israel”). A further distinction is made between al and taḥat in that the latter is used to mean heavenly protection from danger, whereas the former refers to spiritual elevation as indicated in this prayer.
Aharon Varady (M.A.J.Ed./JTSA Davidson) is a volunteer transcriber for the Open Siddur Project. If you find any mistakes in his transcriptions, please let him know. Shgiyot mi yavin; Ministarot naqeniשְׁגִיאוֹת מִי־יָבִין; מִנִּסְתָּרוֹת נַקֵּנִי "Who can know all one's flaws? From hidden errors, correct me" (Psalms 19:13). If you'd like to directly support his work, please consider donating via his Patreon account. (Varady also translates prayers and contributes his own original work besides serving as the primary shammes of the Open Siddur Project and its website, opensiddur.org.)
Rabbi Dr. Zalman Meshullam Schachter-Shalomi, affectionately known as "Reb Zalman" (28 August 1924 – 3 July 2014) was one of the founders of the Jewish Renewal movement. Born in Żółkiew, Poland (now Ukraine) and raised in Vienna, he was interned in detention camps under the Vichy Regime but managed to flee the Nazi advance, emigrating to the United States in 1941. He was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi in 1947 within the ḤaBaD Hasidic movement while under the leadership of the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, and served ḤaBaD communities in Massachusetts and Connecticut. He subsequently earned an M.A. in psychology of religion at Boston University, and a doctorate from the Hebrew Union College. He was initially sent out to speak on college campuses by the Lubavitcher Rebbe, but in the early 1960s, after experimenting with "the sacramental value of lysergic acid", the main ingredient in LSD, leadership within ḤaBaD circles cut ties with him. He continued teaching the Torah of Ḥassidut until the end of his life to creative, free and open-minded Jewish thinkers with humility and kindness and established warm ecumenical ties as well. In September 2009, he became the first contributor of a siddur to the Open Siddur Project database of Jewish liturgy and related work. Reb Zalman supported the Open Siddur Project telling its founder, "this is what I've been looking forward to!" and sharing among many additional works of liturgy, an interview he had with Havurah magazine in the early to mid-1980s detailing his vision of "Database Davenen." The Open Siddur Project is proud to be realizing one of Reb Zalman's long held dreams.
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ויהי נעם אדני אלהינו עלינו ומעשה ידינו כוננה עלינו ומעשה ידינו כוננהו "May the pleasantness of אדֹני our elo’ah be upon us; may our handiwork be established for us — our handiwork, may it be established."–Psalms 90:17
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