The Soldiers on this Mountain

IMG_7301This is a memorial meditation for soldiers buried at the Israeli national cemetery on Har Herzl. Although it’s written to be used at a funeral, alternative openings [shown in brackets] allow it to be used by those visiting the cemetery generally and by those visiting a particular grave. There are also gender and age-related options shown with a slash “/”. This meditation was inspired by the funeral of Sgt. Max Steinberg, z”l.

The Soldiers on this Mountain
To rest we lay another youth/man/woman,
[Here rests another youth/man/woman,]
[Here rests ____________ (full name),]
A soldier on a mountain,
In a sacred city,
In a sacred land,
Held holy in our blood for millennia.

The soldiers on this mountain
Know you.
They know your heart.
They know your love.
They know your spirit.
Courage and valor are your companions.
Strength and honor are your legacy.
You are home among the defenders of
Our Promised Land.

The soldiers on this mountain
Grieve with you,
Not for themselves,
And not for you.
They grieve for the next
And the next
And the next
Who will rise up
And be struck down
To defend the children of Israel.

The soldiers on this mountain
Know you,
They know your passion,
They know your blood.

Son/Daughter of Israel,
The soldiers on this mountain
Welcome you –
One more among the fallen,
Another brave soul –
Back to the land you love.

© 2014 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here are links to more prayers for Israel, a prayer “For the IDF during Operation Protective Edge” and a “Yizkor for a Lone Soldier,” which I wrote before attending Max’s funeral. Thanks to my friends Ros Roucher and Rolene Marks for comments on an earlier draft.

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Photo Source: Alden Solovy

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