Posts Tagged ‘mourner’

 

Mourner’s Lament

Posted on: August 25th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

A short meditation about the daily shifts that mourners may experience on the journey to healing, based on my own experiences of mourning. I wrote it a few days ago as a comfort for several friends currently experiencing fresh losses.

Mourner’s Lament
In the morning whisper, heal me.
In the afternoon shout, help me.
In the evening wonder, how long?

In the morning whisper, O love.
In the afternoon shout, O death.
In the evening wonder, how long?

In the morning whisper, this again.
In the afternoon shout, no more.
In the evening wonder, how long?

In the morning whisper, O love.
In the afternoon shout, O life.
In the evening wonder, how long?

© 2019 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript: See also: “Tears, Too Close: A Prayer of Consolation.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and my two CCAR Press books: This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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For Rabbi Peter Knobel, z”l

Posted on: August 21st, 2019 by Alden No Comments

Rabbi Peter Knobel z”l has died after suffering a massive heart attack almost two weeks ago. A gadol b’dor, a giant of this generation, a tzaddik, his Hebrew name was Tzaddik. He brought the love of Jewish learning — the place where Torah and intellect meet — to thousands. He chaired the Central Conference of American Rabbis and was our first family rabbi at Beth Emet The Free Synagogue. He led the drive to create a new Reform Siddur, Mishkan T’fillah, and was the first rabbi to encourage me to explore my voice as a Jewish writer. This prayer, dedicated here to Peter, was first published as “Private Meditation on the Death of a Beloved Public Figure.” Even as public eulogies begin, many of us will need private meditations for grieving.

For Rabbi Peter Knobel, z”l
Source of blessings,
Deal kindly with the soul of Rabbi Peter Knobel,
Who left a legacy of Torah and righteousness in this world,
A legacy of love, care and inspiration,
A legacy for the generations.

Rock of comfort,
So many were touched by him,
As was I,
And grief casts a shadow over my heart.
Even as his legacy is celebrated publicly,
With honors and praises due,
Hear my personal prayer,
My private grief and loss.
Let his memory become a light
For the days and years ahead.
And let those memories, private and public,
Grow stronger with the passing time,
Becoming a well of consolation.

G-d of all being,
Grant a perfect rest under Your canopy of peace to Rabbi Knobel,
My rabbi,
Our rabbi.
May his soul be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.

© 2018 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

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Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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Private Meditation on the Death of a Beloved Public Figure

Posted on: May 8th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

A beloved teacher, I didn’t get the chance to know Rabbi Aaron Panken z’l. Yet from everything written about him — from obituaries to Facebook posts — knowing him would have been an immense blessing. I wrote this months ago and hadn’t gotten around to posting it. The idea, which came from a friend, was that in the flow of beautiful, communal, public mourning, one could forget that private and small group moments of mourning are also important to the grieving process. It seems to me that posting this in his memory would be a fitting tribute.

Private Meditation on the Death of a Beloved Public Figure
Source of blessings,
Deal kindly with the soul of ________________ (name)
Who left a legacy of ________________ (one-word description, e.g.: Torah, music, dance, diplomacy…)
In this world,
A legacy of love, care and inspiration,
A legacy for the generations.

Rock of comfort,
So many were touched by him/her,
As was I,
And grief casts a shadow over my heart.
Even as he/she is celebrated publicly,
With honors and praises due,
Hear my personal prayer,
My private grief and loss.
Let his/her memory become a light
For the days and years ahead.
And let those memories, private and public,
Grow stronger with the passing time,
Becoming a well of consolation.

G-d of all being,
Grant a perfect rest under Your canopy of peace to him/her.
May his/her soul be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.

© 2018 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: I wrote this at the suggestion of a friend. It’s rare that I can’t remember — or find a note telling me — who gave me the idea for a particular piece. If it’s you, I apologize and please send me a private message of some kind so I can fix this.

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Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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One is Everything

Posted on: December 21st, 2016 by Alden No Comments

We’re surrounded by violence. Orlando. Nice. Tel Aviv. Pittsburgh. Innocents dead at the hand of terror. In Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, France, an 84-year-old priest was murdered in his church, Fr. Jacques Hamel. It made instant world news and faded just as fast. There are so many other terror attacks. Larger attacks. More than one dead.

ADDENDUM, April 28, 2019: In memory of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, z”l, who was murdered at the Chabad center outside San Diego during services, I’ve added a new line: “A woman in prayer.” Also, in the opening stanza, I’ve added references to that attack and the Tree of Life massacre.

One is Everything: A Meditation on Numbers and Terror
Orlando, 16 June 2016, 49 souls
Kabul, 23 July 2016, 80 souls
Nice, 14 July 2016, 84 souls
Baghdad, 3 July 2016, 325+ souls
Pittsburgh, 27 October, 2018, 11 souls
Dallas, 7 July 2016, 5 souls
Tel Aviv, 3 July 2016, 4 souls
Rouen, 26 July 2016, 1 soul
Poway, 27 April 2019, 1 soul

One soul.
Just one soul and the world moves on.
We are shocked by the scale of terror.
The 49 and the 84 and the 325
With a plus sign next to it because, well,
It’s just tough to get an accurate count
In so much death.

One is everything.
Each one a human.
Each one a life.
One is enough to cry out to heaven.

When we count the scope of terror,
The range of death,
Remember, too,
The injured and the wounded,
The witness and the bystander,
The first responder and the families.

One is 100 witnesses.
One is 1,000 mourners.
One is 10,000 traumas.
One is a soul G-d sent to this earth.
One is everything.
A priest doing holy work.
A boy studying Torah.
A girl sleeping in her bed.
A woman in prayer.
One soul. One heartbeat.
One more, too soon.

G-d of Consolation,
Every soul is Yours,
A world, unique and holy.
Let Your peace reign quickly among us.
Let violence, hatred and terror vanish.
Let Your comfort descend from heaven,
And let the righteous rest in peace.

© 2016 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: The list of terror attacks maintained on Wikipedia is astounding. Hundreds dead each month all over the world. One and one and one. The Talmud says that saving a life is equal to saving the world; taking a life is the equivalent of destroying the world. One is everything.

This is a modified version of an essay that first appeared on RitualWell. See also a prayer “To the Terrorist,” which is part of my “Liturgy after Terror Attacks,” originally written for my “Liturgy for 9-11.”

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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On Lighting a Yizkor or Yartziet Candle

Posted on: September 22nd, 2016 by Alden No Comments

imageThis is a simple new meditation, appropriate for both Yizkor and a Yartziet, to be said before or after lighting a memorial candle. The language is inclusive, accessible to persons of all faiths. Let all who mourn find peace. This piece appears in my book This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

On Lighting a Memorial Candle
A candle.
A flame.
A memory.

G-d of generations,
Grant a perfect rest under Your tabernacle of peace
To ____________________ (name),
Who has left this life and this world.
Let his/her/their soul find comfort.
Let his/her/their memory be a blessing.

This candle is for healing,
This flame is for hope,
Calling forth our joys and sorrows,
Calling forth our hours and our days.

G-d of our ancestors,
Bring me and my family solace and consolation
In this moment of remembrance.
Let all who mourn find peace.

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers For a New Day

Postscript: Here’s a link to my other yizkor prayers and prayers of mourning. Thanks to Rabbi Paul Kipnes for suggesting that I write a new prayer for lighting a memorial candle.

Please check out my Meet the Author video and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Hard Mournings

Posted on: August 9th, 2015 by Alden No Comments

YahrzeitThis is a prayer about the rhythm of mourning. Those first days – perhaps months or more – are often reminders of sorrow, emptiness and loneliness, especially in the quiet times. The closing line is a reference to Psalm 30:12: “You turned my mourning into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.” This piece appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

Hard Mournings
Mornings are the toughest,
That between time
When I’m not quite awake,
When my mind settles
Back to the familiarity and
The certainty of you.
Until I remember your passing.
Hard mornings,
Hard mournings,
Blend into evenings
Of solitude and sorrow.

Perhaps I’m wrong.
Evenings are the problem,
When the quiet crushes my breath
And the growing darkness
Shadows my heart
Until blessed sleep
Descends from heaven.

Mornings are the toughest
New beginnings,
Each day an echo of loss.
Evenings are the roughest reminders
Of your absence.
Each night a hollow silence,
Emptiness in the space you once held.

One day
I will breathe again.
The Soul of the Universe
Will turn my sorrow into dancing.
I will remove this sackcloth
And live again.

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day

Postscript: Here’s an annotated list of my yizkor, memorial and mourning prayers.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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After an Accidental Death: A Yizkor Prayer

Posted on: December 7th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

437px-CandleThis is another in a series of focused yizkor prayers to help acknowledge particular circumstances surrounding the death of a loved one, such as: “In Memory of an Organ Donor,” “At the Hand of Violence,” “Yizkor for a Lone Soldier” and “At the Hand of Anti-Semitism.” May the memory of the righteous be a blessing.

After an Accidental Death: A Yizkor Prayer
G-d of secrets,
Source and shelter,
Grant a perfect rest under your tabernacle of peace
To ______________________ (name),
My [father / mother / sister / brother / child / wife / dear one/ friend]
Whose life was cut off without warning,
In a moment of inconceivable horror,
Cut down [in the fullness of life / in his/her prime /before we were ready].
Even in this darkness,
Even in this grief and void that seem beyond repair,
Help us to remember his/her wisdom, talents and skills,
Our times together,
Our joy, laughter and tears.
Let our memories continue to bless us
Even as we pray for him / her to find peace
In the world to come.
May his / her soul be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.

© 2014 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here is a list of memorial and yizkor prayers, many of which appear in my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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After Shiva

Posted on: January 30th, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

Woman-kneeling-under-tree-300x200After shiva, now what? I remember that feeling when my father Jack z”l died and again when my wife Ami z”l died. Her shiva ended with the start of Passover. After the hubbub, that empty silence settled in. I wrote this prayer of loss and healing for my extended family as the shiva for my uncle Jerry z”l. This piece appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

After Shiva
The days have passed
And a quiet has settled on my home.
My grief still holds me.
My sorrow is present.
Yet You, G-d of seasons,
Ask me to look gently
Toward the future.
You, G-d of creation,
Ask me to imagine a time
When the pain begins to fade,
A time when my hopes are renewed.
You, G-d of generations,
Ask me to honor life,
To cherish memory,
To love those who remain.

Source and Shelter,
Loving Guide of the bereaved,
Lead me on the path toward
Wholeness and healing,
Peace and comfort,
So that I become a well
Of compassion and strength.

G-d of Old,
Your ways are secret,
Sacred and holy.
You are my Rock.
You are my Lamp.

Blessed are You,
G-d of All,
Who redeems the bereaved
With love.

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day

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Postscript: Here are links to two mourner’s prayers: “For Bereaved Children,” which I wrote for my daughters when Ami z”l passed away, and “For the Bereaved.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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Our Patriarch: Jerold S. Solovy z”l

Posted on: January 20th, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

Here’s a prayer reposted in memory of my uncle Jerry Solovy z”l. The Chicago ADL has renamed the Jerold S. Solovy Freedom Award in his memory. The Chicago Sun-Times said: “It’s hard to imagine a Chicago lawyer who outranks Jerold S. Solovy in terms of reputation, influence and largesse.”

For the Patriarch
For our patriarch,
A song of dignity and honor.

Guardian of mitzvot,
Keeper of truths,
Hand of protection and peace,
We are blessed with your humor and compassion,
Your zest for life
And your zeal for family.
You remind us to open our lives to G-d’s majesty and mystery
G-d’s justice and mercy.
You remind us to seek radiance and splendor,
Awe for creation and compassion for each other,
And choose joy over grief,
Laughter over tears.

G-d of fatherly patience and strength,
Bless our family with love
And our patriarch with vision, endurance and hope.
May his devotion inspire us to righteousness and charity,
Guided by Torah.
Bless our lives with abundance
And our days with vigor,
So that we bring majesty and mystery to our lives
And into the world.

Blessed are You, G-d of our fathers,
Who provides just and righteous men
In every generation.

© 2010 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

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Postscript: Here are links to two mourner’s prayers: “For Bereaved Children,” which I wrote for my daughters when Ami z”l passed away, and “For the Bereaved.” “For the Patriarch” is part of a series including: “For the Matriarch,” “For Our Brothers,” “For Our Sisters” and “For the Family Historian.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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For Bereaved Children

Posted on: March 25th, 2010 by tobendlight No Comments

Ami Birthday CakeThis prayer is dear to me. I wrote it on behalf of my daughters. It’s a father’s yearning for his children, my yearning for my daughters as I witness them struggling to cope with the loss of their mother. My wife Ami z”l died after a tragic fall. As a prayer for healing, it echos the themes in the Mourner’s Kaddish, recalling G-d’s majesty and holiness. This prayer appears in my new book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and HealingTo listen along as you read, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.

 

For Bereaved Children
Father of Jacob,
Mother of Rachel,
Source of Awe and Wonder,
Cradle and Shelter,
Our children are lost in tears,
Crushed in sorrow,
Erased in loneliness,
Bent and broken,
Their hopes, dust…
Their joys, cinders…
Their dreams, shadows.

You who comfort Zion and Israel,
Comfort our children in this moment of grievous loss,
And show them the path from darkness to light.
Renew their hope,
Rekindle their joy,
Spark their dreams,
So that they, too, will know Your healing Power,
Your salvation and grace,
Your loving kindness.
Hold them,
Lift them,
Carry them,
Until, refreshed by Your spirit,
They walk upright once again,
Toward holiness and love,
With charity and thanksgiving,
Humility and strength,
In awe and righteousness,
To sing Your praise.

© 2010 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com.All rights reserved.

Postscript: I’ve written this prayer is To Bend Light toward children — toward my children — in their grief. In doing so, I also Bend Light toward myself. Here are links to two mourner’s prayers: “After Shiva” and “For the Bereaved.” Please consider purchasing my new book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter. If you like this prayer, please post a link to Facebook, your blog or mention it in a tweet.

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