☞   //   Prayers, Poems, and Piyyutim   //   Life cycle   //   Dying, Death, and Mourning

☞   Dying, Death, and Mourning

A Widow’s Prayer, by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer of a woman and mother who has lost her husband and is contemplating desperate circumstances. . . .

[Prayer] on the Anniversary of a Parent’s Death (יאָרצײַט‎), by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer of a daughter for mourning on the yortseit of one or both of her parents. . . .

Prayer for the Departed (הזכרת נשמות), by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer for one’s parent or parents on Yom Kippur during Yizkor. . . .

Prayer for an Orphan, by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer of an orphan after the death of one or both of her parents. . . .

[Prayer] at a Mother’s Grave, by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer for a daughter mounrning at the grave of her mother. . . .

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

A prayer for a woman mounrning at the grave of her child. . . .

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

A prayer for a woman visiting the grave of her brother or sister. . . .

Prayer of a Mother on the Grave of Her Child, by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau (1852)

A prayer of a mother grieving over the death of her child. . . .

Prayer for Resignation Under Injuries, by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau (1852)

A prayer of a person suffering under grievous injuries and dying. . . .

Prayer for Salvation in the Future State (Olam haBa), by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau (1852)

A prayer of a person dying and imagining their possible afterlife. . . .

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

A prayer of a sister mourning at the grave of her sister. . . .

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

A prayer of a sister mourning at the grave of her brother. . . .

Prayer for a Widow at the Grave of Her Husband, by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau (1852)

A prayer of a wife grieving over the death of her husband. . . .

Prayer of an Orphan, by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau (1852)

A prayer of a person who has lost their parent or parents. . . .

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

A prayer of a daughter on the yahrzeit of her mother or father. . . .

ሞተ፡ሙሴ | סֵפֶר פְּטִירָת מֹשֶׁה | Motä Musē (the Book of the Passing of Mosheh), in Ge’ez with Hebrew and English translation

The text of the Betä ʾƎsəraʾel legend of the death of Moses, translated to Hebrew by Jacques Faïtlovitch, and vocalized, cantillated, and translated into English by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer. . . .

הֵצִיץ וָמֵת | He Gazed and Died, a poem on the death of the sage Shimon ben Azzai by Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik (1916)

A poem describing the ascent and death of the Tannaitic sage, Shimon ben Azzai. . . .

Viddui for Coronavirus, by Rabbi Ora Nitkin-Kaner (2020)

A Viddui written for Jews who are losing a beloved to a plague, and who may not be able to be physically present or close to their loved one. . . .

אָנָּא בְּכֹחַ | Ana b’Khoaḥ, a 42 letter name piyyut with a singing translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

The most well-known 42 letter divine name acrostic piyyut. . . .

אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים | El Malé Raḥamim (Prayer for the Departed), translated and sung by Effron Esseiva

Almost two years ago my best friend passed away and I had the honour of chanting this malé raḥamim for him. In mid-May this year another friend approached me and said he really liked the way I did it at the time and could I record it for him because he was going to do it too for an unrelated unveiling. So, I recorded it on May 18, 2011. I didn’t compose it. It’s a traditional tune, but it’s my voice and I hope someone else can perhaps learn it with this material. The more resource there are out there through means such as Open Siddur the better we can learn and share. . . .

על הכל יתגדל ויתקדש | A Ḳaddish During the Removal of the Torah from the Ark in the Seder Rav Amram Gaon

This Kaddish was first published online at Jewish Renewal Chassidus by Gabbai Seth Fishman. Rabbi Oren Steinitz translated the kaddish on the 3rd yahrzeit after Reb Zalman’s passing. . . .

Each Loss Breaks a Pattern: A Shiva Prayer by Trisha Arlin

This prayer was written to introduce the service at a shiva minyan: Baruch Atah Adonai, Ruach HaOlam, Blessed One-ness, Breath of the Universe, Breathing us in, Breathing us out. Each loss breaks a pattern. We remember and we pray. We remember our loved one, _(name)_ Beloved _(relationship)_ Each loss breaks a pattern, And we remember them. We remember them Because they gave us to ourselves, We remember them Because we loved each other, And we remember Because, well, That is our job. Every loss breaks a pattern, And we pray. We pray and place ourselves in front of the fear, We place ourselves in front of the anger, We place ourselves in front of the grief, We pray and delight in our memories We pray and listen for music that reminds us there will be joy again. We pray for the long repair that happens after the patterns break. And we give thanks for the ancient traditions, Telling the story even when we can’t. Hallelu Yah, breathing in, Remembering us when we cannot. Hallelu Yah, breathing out, Praying with us when we feel alone. Amen . . .

תפילה על מת בהמה או חיה מחמד | Prayer on the Death of a Beloved Animal, by Aharon Varady (1994)

A prayer for a beloved animal first compiled in English by Aharon N. Varady for Nethaniel Puzael, his family’s cat, in 1994. . . .

Kiss of death: a prayer upon the death of a parent, by Andrew Meit

By Andrew Meit, written upon the death of his mother, Sonie Meit, the 28th of Sivan 5771 –כ״ח בְּסִיוָן תשע״א. . . .

תפילת נחם על תשעה באב | Tefilat Naḥem on Tisha b’Av, by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (free translation by Gabbai Seth Fishman)

During the time before there was a State of Israel, those ideals in our hearts which we tried to practice and which we wanted others to practice, seemed not achievable where we were because, we felt we had no influence over our world where we were. And so, the longing for our homeland was tied into the longing for our dreams and our vision. Now that the state of Israel is with us, our dreams and our visions still remain distant from our lives and therefore when we say the Tisha B’av prayers we need to remind ourselves of the distance between that which we would have in this world and that which we do have. . . .

Loss of what could be; but is – a prayer-poem in eulogy after a suicide, by Andrew Meit

This eulogy by Andrew Meit was read at Temple Beit Ami in Rockville, Maryland at the funeral of Benjamin Meit. Andrew writes, “Ben would have turned 19 next week. He died from complications from depression and mental illness.” Donations in Ben’s memory may be made here. If you or anyone you know is in need of help, please call 911, or 1-800 273 8255, the national suicide prevention hotline. . . .

תפילה לפני הגניזה | Prayer for the Interment of Sacred Writing in a Genizah, by Morah Yehudis Fishman

My bones whisper that your pages and your inks will return to the trees and the plants from where they once came. They say that someday they will even come back to life with words never yet heard. . . .

Song of the Spirit, a poem by Rosa Emma Salaman (1848)

The poem, “Song of the Spirit” by Rosa Emma Salaman, was first published in the Occident 6:7, Tishrei 5609, October 1848. . . .

אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים | El Malé Raḥamim (Prayer for the Departed), interpretive translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

The prayer El Malé Raḥamim, translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. . . .

תפילת הזכרת הורים כשאין מניין לאמירת קדיש | “Gebet Statt Kaddisch” Memorial Prayer For When There is No Minyan

Please Lord, Sovereign of Compassion, God, Arbiter of the spirits of all flesh, Parent of Orphans and Judge of widows: God, from the source of Your holiness! May my prayer and the Torah of life that I have learned come before you on account of the soul . . .

ליקוטי תפילות חלק א׳ תפילה לז | Likutei Tefilot I:37, by Reb Nosson Steinhartz of Nemirov (early 19th century)

Reb Nosson’s Likutei Tefillot I:37 contains teḥinot derived from Rebbe Naḥman’s Likutei Moharan I:§37. . . .

Holy Tears: A Not-Ḳaddish, by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

A meditation on living through the lens of dying. . . .

קדיש יתום | Mourner’s Ḳaddish, an interpretive rhyming translation by Alan Wagman

This is an English language interpretation of Kaddish, intended to capture the spirit of translations/interpretations that I have seen in various sources and also to capture the sound and rhythm of the Aramaic text, including syllables which, when read simultaneously with the Aramaic, rhyme with the Aramaic. . . .

אֵל בָּרוּךְ | El Barukh :: A piyyut containing the 42 Letter Name, recorded by Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz

A piyyut providing the 42 letter divine name as an acrostic, recorded in the work of Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz. . . .

אֱלֹהִים בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל | Elohim b’Yisrael :: A piyyut containing the 42 Letter Name, recorded in Sefer haPeliah

The earliest recorded prayer or piyyut providing an acrostic for the 42 letter divine name. . . .

תפילה לפני שחיטה | Prayer before Kosher Slaughter, by Eliyah ben Shlomo Avraham haKohen (Sefer Shevet Musar, 1712)

This is a kavvanah for kosher slaughterers to say prior to the blessing over sheḥitah, first published in the early 18th century, and composed within the school of the ARI z”l. . . .

תחנה אמהות | Prayer for Yizkor on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Yamim Tovim, from the Tkhine of the Matriarchs by Seril Rappaport (ca. 18th century)

“Tkhine of the Matriarchs for Yizkor on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Yamim Tovim” by Rebbetsin Seril Rappaport is a faithful transcription of her tkhine included in “תחנה אמהות מן ראש חודש אלול” (Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Elul) published in Vilna, 1874, as re-published in The Merit of Our Mothers בזכות אמהות A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women’s Prayers, compiled by Rabbi Tracy Guren Klirs, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. shgiyot mi yavin, ministarot nakeni. . . .

יזכור | Yizkor: Instructions for Remembering, by Rabbi Nina Mizrahi

Rabbi Mizrahi’s instructions for remembering were first published on her website, here. . . .

קדיש יתום בזמן מלחמה | Mourner’s Ḳaddish in Times of War and Violence, by Arthur Waskow

Jews use the Kaddish to mourn the dead, though it has in it only one word — “nechamata,” consolations – which hints at mourning. And this word itself is used in a puzzling way, once we look at it with care. As we will see below, it may be especially appropriate in time of war. The interpretive English translation below may also be appropriate for prayers of mourning and hope in wartime by other spiritual and religious communities. In this version, changes in the traditional last line of the Hebrew text specifically include not only peace for the people Israel (as in the traditional version) but also for the children of Abraham and Hagar through Ishmael (Arabs and Muslims) and for all the life-forms who dwell upon this planet. . . .

תפלת אחר הקמת המצבה, מנהג ק״ק פרעסבורג יצ״ו | Prayer after the Unveiling of a Tombstone, according to the custom of the Jewish community of Pressburg

A prayer for unveiling a tombstone, according to the custom of the Jews of Pressburg. . . .

אָנָּא בְּכֹחַ | Ana b’Khoaḥ, with Spanish translation by Rabbi Isaac ben Shem Tov Cavallero (1552)

An early printing of the 42 divine name letter acrostic piyyut, Ana b’Khoaḥ. . . .

אֶהְיֶה בְּעֵדֶן | Ehyeh b’Aden :: A piyyut containing the 42 Letter Name, in Sefer Ma’avar Yaboq (1626)

A 42 Letter Divine Name acrostic piyyut to comfort someone in the process of dying. . . .

The Body Speaking to the Soul Which Just Left It, a poem by Rosa Emma Salaman (1842)

The poem, “The Body Speaking to the Soul Which Just Left It.” by Rosa Emma Salaman, was written in March 1842 and first published in the Occident and American Jewish Advocate 2:4, Tamuz 5604, July 1844, p. 200-202. . . .

אַ פּאָלףּ קדיש | A Ḳaddish by Reb Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction, 1994)

Tired of people who can’t tell their kiddish (blessings for the Sabbath) from their kaddish (prayer for the dead)? Well, it sets Samuel L. Jackson off too! But he found a way of making a bracha (blessing) and mourning the dead at the same time. Now I can’t vouch for the origins of his nusaḥ (custom) but it sounds very effective! Most people haven’t noticed, the only real part from the Bible is that last section, the first part is actually his own spiel: . . .


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