Who are you remembering on this Yom Kippur? The yizkor prayer is featured on many major holidays, as we pause and think about those who are no longer with us. Yom Kippur in particular is a time when we contemplate our own mortality and remember the need to live a meaningful and impactful life, and so it makes sense that we also take the time to think about those whose lives have touched ours in important ways.
אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים שׁוֹכֵן בַּמְּרוֹמִים הַמְצֵא מְנוּחָה נְכוֹנָה עַל כַּנְפֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה בְּמַעֲלוֹת קְדוֹשִׁים וּטְהוֹרִים כְּזֹֽהַר הָרָקִֽיעַ מַזְהִירִים אֶת נִשְׁמַת (פב"פ) שֶׁהָלַךְ לְעוֹלָמוֹ בַּעֲבוּר שֶׁנָּדְבוּ צְדָקָה בְּעַד הַזְכָּרַת נִשְׁמָתוֹ בְּגַן עֵֽדֶן תְּהֵא מְנוּחָתוֹ לָכֵן בַּֽעַל הָרַחֲמִים יַסְתִּירֵֽהוּ בְּסֵֽתֶר כְּנָפָיו לְעוֹלָמִים וְיִצְרוֹר בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים אֶת נִשְׁמָתוֹ ה' הוּא נַחֲלָתוֹ וְיָנֽוּחַ עַל מִשְׁכָּבוֹ בְּשָׁלוֹם וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן:
Almighty, [Who is] full of compassion, Who dwells on the highest heights, find true repose beneath the wings of [Your] Divine Presence, in the exalted spheres of the holy and pure who shine like the brightness of the firmament, for the soul of(Mention the name of the deceased and that of his parent) who has gone to their world, for charity has been donated in remembrance of their soul. May Gan Eden (Paradise) be their resting place. Therefore, may the Merciful One shelter him in the shelter of His wings, forever, and bind their soul with the bond of eternal life. [May] Adonoy [be] his heritage, and may they rest in their repose in peace, and let us say, Amein.
1) Who are you remembering? What is it about that person that you most want to remember?
2) In this prayer, we ask that the person we remember be bound "with the bond of eternal life." This phrase comes from the book of Samuel. Avigail, who eventually marries King David, tells him that even if he were to die in battle, his soul would continue to be valued and remembered by God. What aspects of the person you are remembering remain mostly closely connected to your life? What characteristics that this person embodied do you most want to hold on to and bring into your life this year?
3) There is a tradition, referenced in the prayer, of donating to charity in memory of a loved one. This is a way that a person's legacy can continue to impact the world. What action would you most want to take to continue the legacy of the person or people you are thinking about?
For additional sheets on the topic of Yizkor, go to the Yizkor topic page.