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[Prayer] at the Grave of a Child, by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

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Sweetly slumbering the darling of my heart rests here my dear, early departed child; peace unto (his/her) soul! God of grace and mercy! forgive the depressed heart of a mother trembling in unutterable woe! Alas! the blossom that death broke off, was my happiness, and the life which wvas extinguished at Thy command, filled my heart with cheering hopes. By the side of my darling child, taken away so soon, I hope to enjoy the delight of existence in double measure, to endure more easily all sufferings, and to look towards my end without fear and trembling; for I hoped that (his/her) hand would close my eyes. But Thy thoughts, O Lord, are not our thoughts, Thy ways are not our ways. Thou hadst given me my beloved child, Thou hast taken (him her) away, Thy name be praised! Yea, even from the depth of my grief I worship Thee with reverence. Whatever Thou doest is well done; Thou art our loving Father when Thou blessest and when Thou chastizest, when Thou givest and when Thou takest away, when Thou grantest life and when Thou sendest death. Thou woundest and bindest up again, Thou strikest, and Thy hand healeth again. Therefore, I pray unto Thee, Eternal God! fill Thou my saddened heart with consolation. Strengthen my confidence in Thine alljust ordinations, preserve me in obedience to Thy holy will. Forgive my sins, O Lord! and deliver me from all evil. Let the spirit of my child enjoy fulness of joy in Thy glorious habitation of peace; open unto it the source of truth and light, and let it ascend higher and higher in its everlasting salvation. Amen.

“At the Grave of a Child” is one of thirty prayers appearing in Rabbi Moritz Mayer’s collection of tehinot, Hours of Devotion (1866), of uncertain provenance and which he may have written. –Aharon Varady

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