jewish Funeral Guide

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What is Man

"What is Man" is a collage of verses from Psalms 144:3-4, 90:6, 90:12, 37:37, 49:16, 73:26 and Ecclesiastes 12:7. It is often recited before Yizkor memorial service and as part of a funeral service.


What is Man?

יְיָ מָה־אָדָם וַתֵּדָעֵהוּ
בֶּן־אֱנוֹשׁ וַתְּחַשְׁבֵהוּ׃
אָדָם לַהֶבֶל דָּמָה
יָמָיו כְּצֵל עוֹבֵר׃
בַּבּוֹקֶר יָצִיץ וְחָלָף
לָעֶרֶב יְמוֹלֵל וְיָבֵשׁ׃
לִמְנוֹת יָמֵינוּ כֵּן הוֹדַע
וְנָבִא לְבַב חָכְמָה׃
שְׁמָר־תָּם וּרְאֵה יָשָׁר
כִּי־אַחֲרִית לְאִישׁ שָׁלוֹם׃
אַךְ־אֱלהִים יִפְדֶּה נַפְשִׁי מִיַּד־שְׁאוֹל
כִּי יִקָּחֵנִי סֶלָה׃
כָּלָה שְׁאֵרִי וּלְבָבִי צוּר
לְבָבִי וְחֶלְקִי אֱלהִים לְעוֹלָם׃
וְיָשׁב הֶעָפָר עַל־הָאָרֶץ כְּשֶׁהָיָה
וְהָרוּחַ תָּשׁוּב אֶל־הָאֱלהִים אֲשֶׁר נְתָנָהּ׃

0 Lord, what is man that You recognize him,
the son of a human that You think of him?
Man is like a breath;
his days are like a passing shadow.
In the morning it blossoms and grows,
in the evening it fades and withers.
Teach us to count our days,
and we shall acquire a heart of wisdom.
Guard the innocent and watch the upright,
for the destiny of man is peace.
But God will ransom my soul from the grave,
for He will surely take me.
My flesh and my heart yearn - Rock
of my heart and my portion is God, forever.
The dust returns to the dust as it was,
but the spirit returns to God who gave it.