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Exercise for the Anniversary of a Parent’s Decease (יאָרצײַט), translated by Rabbi Morris Jacob Raphall (1852)


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Exercise for the Anniversary of a Parent’s Decease, (YahrZeit.)
“If I forget thee, may my right hand forget ME;
may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth
if I remember thee not.” (Cf. Psalms 137:5-6)
The year has completed its course,
and (once more) I witness the anniversary of that solemn and sorrowful day,
on which the mortal remains of my dear parent
were consigned to their last narrow abode.
I recall the hour with all its sad recollections;
And though the healing influence of time,
and submission to the will of God, has soothed my sorrows;
the tear will, unbidden, start into my eye.
O my dearest (father, mother)
from your blissful abode, in the realms of life everlasting,
can you, will you look down upon your child
whose love for you absence has not lessened—
whose tender affection your departure has not impaired;
and whose veneration for your memory time does not lengthen.
You are gone before me to that better land,
to which I likewise am bound.
And each year, as the anniversary of your departure returns,
methinks I am permitted to address you—
even as the child writes a letter to its parents from abroad—
to tell you I am yet here, my reverence for you undiminished,
and I am one stage nearer to my journey’s end,
which reunites us.
And thou, merciful God!
when on the anniversary of this minor day of judgement,
thy all-seeing eye takes congnizance of me,
and my conduct and actions, have mercy on me, Lord God!
Extend unto me thy loving-kindness,
for the sake of the pure soul of my dear parent who supplication,
I am convinced, intercedes for (his, her) child.
Let me and mine find grace and favour before thee;
and let thy blessing rest upon us
as we walk on that thorny path
of alternating joys and sorrows,
which is the common lot of mortality.
As for thee thou pure and glorified soul of my dear (father, mother)
grant me thy intercession;
plead for me before the throne of mercy;
second the supplications which I address to thy Lord and mine:
Be nigh unto thy child,
when in the hour of need and of trial,
she seeks refuge with thy God and her God.
Peace be with thee, in heaven;
peace with thy ashes in the quiet lap of earth:
Until the voice of the Almighty
shall arouse those who sleep in death,
and summon them to awake and arise;
when thou likewise wilt awake
and arise to a blissful and God-pleasing resurrection.

“Exercise for the Anniversary of a Parent’s Decease, (YahrZeit.)” appears on page 138-139 of רֻחָמָה (Ruḥamah): Devotional Exercises for the Use of the Daughters of Israel (1852) edited by Rabbi Morris Jacob Raphall (1798–1868) from selections made from the teḥinot anthologies in German of Meir Letteris (1800-1871), Max Emanuel Stern (1811-1873), and Yehoshua Heshil Miro. We are not certain from which of these compilations this particular tehinah was derived. If you know, please leave a comment or contact us.






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