Unveiling questions and answer, prayers and poems......
Q. Is there any significance to the custom of putting a pebble on the monument when visiting a grave? What is the origin of the custom? A. According to the Bible the first monuments were merely mounds of stones or insides of natural rock caves, as was the graves of Abraham and Sarah. The early Hebrews were nomadic tribes and shepherds and were not skilled in the arts of quarrying and stone carving until their contacts with Babylon and Egypt.
It was the custom when passing by a mound of stones marking a grave to deposit one from the vicinity that may have fallen off. This became interpreted as a mark of thoughtfulness and regard for the memory of the person buried. These mounds of heavy rocks served to guard the graves from predatory animals and grave robbers.
Q. What is the significance of an unveiling cloth over the monument? A. Placing a veil on a memorial is not required. The veil holds no religious significance whatsoever and is a simple piece of cheesecloth. In early times it was the family who physically erected the monument to its loved ones. The monument might have been a pile of boulders surmounted by a crudely lettered slab of stone bearing the name of the deceased. All the kin participated and witnessed their completed handiwork together. In present society it became necessary to delegate this task to others and dedicate the monument on a day convenient to family and friends. It is desirable that their tribute to the deceased's memory be revealed by the removal of the veil or covering, simultaneously to all, and that its full significance be adequately interpreted by the rabbi.
1. El Moley Rachamim 2. Psalm 23 3. Psalm 90 4. Psalm 121 5. Meditations 6. Yitzkor Prayers 7. Yitzkor Meditation 8. Prayer on Unveiling a Monument 9. We Remember Them 10. Prayers at the Grave of the Departed 11. Mourner’s Prayer
EL MOLEY RACHAMIM
El malay rachamim shochen bamiromim, Hamtzey menucha nechona tachas kanfey hashechina, B' maalos kedoshim ut' horim kezohar harakeea mazhirim es nishma (name).
Male: Female: Shehalach 1'olamo Ba'voor shenadvoo tzedaka b'ad hazkaras nishmaso b' gan eden t' hay m' noochaso lachen baal harachamim yastirayhoo b'seser kna fav 1'olamim v'ytzror bitzror hachayim es nishmaso Adonoy hoo nachalaso, v'yanooach b'shalom al mishkavo, v'nomar ah'main. Shehalacha 1'olama Ba'voor shenadvoo tzedaka b'ad hazkaras nishmasa b' gan eden t' hay m' noochasa lachen baal harachamim yastirah b'seser k'nofaf 1'olamim v'ytzror bitzror hachayim es nishmasa Adonoy hoo nachalasa, v'sanuach b'shalom al mishkava, v'nornar ah'main.
EL MOLEH RACHAMIM
O, God, full of compassion, Thou who dwellest on high, grant perfect rest beneath the shelter of Thy divine presence among the holy and pure who shine as the brightness of the firmament to the soul of my beloved who has gone to his (her) eternal home.
Mayest Thou, O God of Mercy, shelter him (her) forever under the wings of Thy presence, May his (her) soul be bound up in the bond of life eternal, and grant that the memories of my life inspire me always to noble and consecrated living. Amen.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul; He guideth me in straight paths for His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, For thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies, Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
PSALM 90 (selected verses)
Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, Or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God.
Thou turnest man to contrition; And sayest: `Return, ye children of men.' For a thousand years in Thy sight Are but as yesterday when it is past, And as a watch in the night.
Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as asleep; In the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; In the evening it is cut down, and withereth.
We bring our years to an end as a tale that is told. The day of our years are the three-score years and ten, Or even by reason of strength four-score years; Yet is their pride but travail and vanity; For it is speedily gone, and we fly away.
So teach us to number our days, That we may get us a heart of wisdom. Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants. And Thy glory upon their children.
And let the graciousness of the Lord our God be upon us; Establish Thou also upon us the work of our hands Yea, the work of our hands establish Thou it.
I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains; From whence shall my help come? My help cometh from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved; He that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, He that keepeth Israel Doth neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is thy keeper; The Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, Nor the moon by night.
The Lord shall keep thee from all evil; He shall keep thy soul. The Lord shall guard thy going out and thy coming in, From this time forth and forever.
O Shepherd of Israel, Who dost neither slumber nor sleep, we are the people of Thy pasture and the sheep of Thy hand. Enfold us safely in Thy love. And if in our grief and loneliness and moments of desolation, we should stray from following Thee, O leave us not, faithful Shepherd, but draw us near unto Thee.
As we face the great mystery of death which called away this our dear friend from our earthly abode, we feel our frailty, our weakness. We do not understand the brevity of life: we cannot understand why such pain and anguish of heart and mind are visited upon those we love.
Make us not despair, Eternal Father; we are called by Thy Name, we are Thine, Thou hast set thoughts of Thee in our hearts, though we; creatures of flesh and blood, can but dimly apprehend Thy purposes. Teach us not to neglect the task of today because we cannot see its eternal effect. O teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom; to lengthen our brief life by intensity of living; to fill swift hours with worthy deeds.
Besides the still waters, through the green pastures, and in the valley where dark shadows lie, be Thou our strength and shield, and may we find Thy rod and Thy staff a stay and comfort to us in the days that lie ahead. Amen.
YIZKOR IN MEMORY OF A MOTHER
Yizkor elohim nishmas eemee morasi (name) shehalacha 1' olama, baavoor sheani noder tzedaka baada, bischar zeh, t'hay nafsha tzerurah bitzrov hachayim im nishmos Avraham, Yitzchak, v' Yaakov, Sarah, Rivka, Rachel, v' Leah, Vim shear tzadikim v'tzid kaniyos she b' gan eden, v' nomar ah' main.
May God remember the soul of my respected mother (name) who has passed to her eternal rest. I pledge charity in her behalf and pray that her soul be kept among the immortal souls of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, and all the righteous men and women in paradise. Amen.
YIZKOR IN MEMORY OF A FATHER
Yizkor elohim nishmas avee mori (name) shehalach 1' olamo, baavoor sheani noder tzedaka baado, bischar zeh, y' hay nafsho tzerurah bitzrov hachayim im nishmos Avraham, Yitzchak, v' Yaakov, Sarah, Rivka, Rachel, v' Leah, vim shear tzadikim v'tzid kaniyos she b' gan eden, v' nomar ah' main.
May God remember the soul of my respected father (name) who has passed to his eternal rest: I pledge charity in his behalf and pray that his soul be kept among the immortal souls of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, and all the righteous men and women in paradise. Amen.
YIZKOR IN MEMORY OF A WIFE/HUSBAND
May God remember the soul of my beloved wife/husband (name) who has passed to her/his eternal rest. I pledge charity in her/her behalf and pray that her soul be kept among the immortal souls of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, and all the righteous men and women in paradise. Amen.
YIZKOR IN MEMORY OF A DAUGHTER/SON
May God remember the soul of my beloved daughter/son (name) who has passed to her/his eternal rest. I pledge charity in her/his behalf and pray that her/his soul be kept among the immortal souls of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, and all the righteous men and women in paradise. Amen.
IN MEMORY OF THE DEAR DEPARTED ONES May God remember the soul of my beloved (grandfather) (grandmother) (uncle) (aunt) (brother) (sister) (Name) who has passed to his (her) eternal rest. I pledge charity in his (her) behalf and pray that his (her) soul be kept among the immortal souls of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, and all the righteous men and women in paradise. Amen.
Our God and God of our fathers, may the memories of those whom we lovingly recall as we say Yizkor this day influence our lives for good and direct our thoughts away from the vain and fleeting toward that which is eternal. Teach us to emulate the virtues of our dear ones so that we too may be inspired to devote ourselves to the Torah, to Israel and to Thee, the source of all our aspirations. Thus shall the historic chain of Judaism remain unbroken, our departed mothers and fathers and all our loved ones be united with us. They live in us, in our hopes, and shall their influence continue in our children. In Thee, O Lord, they and we are one.
`When I stray far from Thee, O God, my life is as death; but when I cleave unto Thee, even in death I have life.' With Thee are the souls of the living and the dead. Teach us to live wisely and unselfishly in truth and understanding, in love and peace, so that those who come after us may likewise remember us for good, as we this day affectionately remember them who were unto us a blessing. Amen.
PRAYER ON UNVEILING MONUMENTS
Read one of the following passages: Psalm 23 from page 25, Psalm 121 from page 27, or any of the selected verses from pages.
The body has died; the spirit it housed will never die. On earth our dear ones do live on through those of us to whom they were so very precious.
(THE COVERING IS REMOVED) We now fondly dedicate this monument (plaque) to the blessed memory of (name) realizing that his (her) remains lie not only in this plot of ground but in every heart his (her) life did touch.
O God, we are grateful for the years we were privileged to share with him (her) - years when he (she) brought us so many pleasures and taught us so very much by example.
And even though he (she) has left our midst, we know he (she) will never leave our hearts where his (her) memory will endure as a blessing forever.
PRAYER ON VISITING GRAVES (This prayer in addition to any of the Meditations, the Psalms, the El Moley Rachamim and the Kaddish may be recited.)
WE REMEMBER THEM
At the rising of the sun and at its going down We remember them. At the blowing of the wind and the chill of winter We remember them. At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring We remember them. At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer We remember them. At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn We remember them. At the beginning of the year and when it ends We remember them. As long as we live, they too will live; for they are now a part of us, as we remember them. When we are weary and in need of strength We remember them. When we are lost and sick at heart We remember them. When we have joy we crave to share We remember them. When we have decisions that are difficult to make We remember them. When we have achievements that are based on theirs We remember them. As long as we live, they too will live; for they are now a part of us, as we remember them.
MEDITATIONS AND PRAYERS AT THE GRAVES OF OUR DEAR DEPARTED
Peace be to thy spirit dear one. Well do I know, that safely thou dwellest under the shadow of God. And yet, to think that thou no more art with me on earth, grieves the heart and saddens the thought.
I have come to the place where the earthly part of thee has been laid to rest and at thy grave I pray unto Him, who has revealed Himself to us as a Father, that he grant me the strength and the will to emulate the good example set by thee, that I may practice the good thou hast taught, and lead a pure and virtuous life, so that, when my time shall come to enter eternity my soul may be found worthy of salvation.
May thy love and faithfulness that guarded and guided me, be forever written upon my heart and set us as a memorial before my eyes, that I may ever find grace and favor in the eyes of God and man.
The glory of God be upon thee, and His peace surround thee. Amen.
Said if there are more than 10 present at grave
Yit-ga-dal ve-yit-kadash she-mei ra-ba, Be-alma di-ve-ra chi-re-u-tei, ve-yam-lich mal-chu-tei, Be-cha-yei-chon u-ve-yo-meichon u-ve-cha-yei de-chol beit Yis-raeil, Ba-aga-la u-vi-ze-man ka-riv, ve-i-me-ru: amein.
Readers and Mourners Magnified and sanctified be the great name of God throughout the world which He hath created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom during the days of your life and during the life of all the house of Israel, speedily, yea, soon; and say ye, Amen.
Ye-hei she-mei ra-ba me-va-rach, le-a-lam ule-al-mei al-ma-ya.
May His great name be blessed for ever and ever.
Mourners Yit-ba-rach ve-yish-ta-bach, ve-yit-pa-ar veyit-ro-mam, Ve-yit-na-sei ve-yit-ha-dar, ve-yit-a-leh, veyit-ha-lal she-mei de-ku-de-sha, be-rich hu, Le-ei-la min kol bir-cha-ta ve-shi-ra-ta, tushbe-cha-ta Ve-ne-che-ma-ta, daa-mi-ran be-al-ma ve-ime-ru: a-mein. Ye-hei she-la-ma ra-ba min she-ma-ya vecha-yim a-lei-nu Ve-al kol Yis-ra-eil ve-i-me-ru: a-mein. O-seh sha-lom bim-ro-mav, hu ya-a-seh shalom alei-nu Ve-al kol Yis-ra-eil, ve-i-me-ru: a-mein.
Reader and Mourners Exalted and honored by the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, whose glory transcends, yea, is beyond all blessings and hymns, praises and consolations which are uttered In the world; and say ye, Amen. May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life for us and for all Israel; and say ye, Amen. May He who establisheth peace in the heavens, grant peace unto us and unto all Israel; and say ye, Amen.
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