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Prayer on the Grave of a Brother, by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau (1852)


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With a deeply moved heart I tread this day towards thy grave, O my beloved brother—yet inconsolable for the heavy loss which thy departure from this world hath entailed upon me. The unchangeable council of the Most High has removed thee from my sight in the (bloom of youth), (prime of manhood), and the heart which ever preserved brotherly love and faithfulness towards me has ceased to beat. Alas! when I remember the hours we passed together in our paternal home, how thy pious converse exhorted me to all good, how thy wise council extricated me from many troubles, how often I have drawn instruction from the rich treasures of thy experience, I might dissolve myself in tears at the deprivation of all these blessings. The strength of my faith in the immortality of the soul can alone give me ease in my grief, for it is the perishable cover only which crumbles into dust, but thy noble and better self already rests in the shadow of the Almighty.

The good examples which thou gavest me and all around thee during life are not lost, they live even now after thy death; thou didst not permit the time of thy being on earth to be unprofitably spent; thou hast striven to advance everything noble and good, and hast exerted thyself to regulate thy course according to virtue and the fear of God. May the remembrance of thee, my beloved brother, never forsake me; may it guard me against levity and vanity, may it protect me against folly and sin. Thou, who hast been the delight of my eyes and the pride of my heart, surely thy spirit desireth not that I should abandon myself to immoderate sorrow and unbounded grief, to the neglect of my other duties; but rather that I should faithfully and willingly continue to perform all the obligations incumbent upon me.

May the Holy God of Israel, “who doth not deliver up the soul to destruction, nor His pious servants to see corruption,”[1] Psalms 16:10.  not remember those sins, from which no human being is free; may he admit thee into the gates of eternal bliss, and refresh thee from the stream of never failing joys. Amen.

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





1Psalms 16:10.



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