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Prayer on the Anniversary of the Death of a Parent (יאָרצײַט), by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau (1852)

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“O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh,”[1]Numbers 27:16. unsearchable but just are the ways of Thy providence. Whoever trusts in Thee from the depth of his heart and takes refuge in Thee, him thou wilt never forsake; therefore, do I lift up my tearful eye unto Thee, and seek Thy help and assistance; I seek from Thee courage and fortitude to bear the loss which has been so grievous unto me. Alas! torn away from me is the beloved being to whom I owe my life and benefits without number, who with tender love cherished my infancy, with fondest watchfulness tended my health, and with unremitting solicitude strove to promote my welfare. And can there be found on earth a tie more strong than that sacred one by which nature, which is ruled by the hand of God, attaches the hearts of children to the hearts of parents? or can any child however hardened, forget the earthly authors of its being? must not every child remember them with tender affection and loving sadness?

This day, the day of thy departure beloved (father) (mother,) these thoughts arise more vividly in my mind than ever, for alas, it is a weakness of human nature only to appreciate fully the highest treasures on earth, when their possession is gone. How anxious would I be, O my beloved parent, if now of matured understanding I could shew thee more love and tenderness, more respect and obedience, were I so happy as yet to possess thee! I was perhaps thy last care, thy last grief, thy last joy, thy last prayer. Be therefore thy memory sacred unto me! I will so long as I live, cherish it with filial tenderness; thy name and thy rectitude be my pride and my joy: the contemplation of thee and of eternity—the abode of everlasting peace—be my consoling hope.

May the everlasting God endow me with strength and mental power, that my walk on earth may be worthy of thee my beloved parent, that thy memory may not be deseorated by my swerving from the piety which thy instructions inculcated within me. May He who commanded us “Honor thy father and thy mother,”[2]Exodus 20:12. support me in the resolution to honor thee also after death,

Grant, O Lord, that I may attain Thy grace on earth and Thy salvation hereafter, when I shall be called to meet my beloved parent “in the House of Assembly for all living.”[3]Job 30:23. Amen.

“Prayer on the Anniversary of the Death of a Parent (Jahrzeit)” was first published in Marcus Heinrich Bresslau’s collection of teḥinot, Teḥinot Banot Yisrael: Devotions for the Daughters of Israel (1852).

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Notes   [ + ]

  1. Numbers 27:16.
  2. Exodus 20:12.
  3. Job 30:23.

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