jewish Funeral Guide

Remembrance

Yizkor Prayers

Many congregations have adopted a custom to recite, often responsively, some verses from various Psalms, usually, a collage of verses “What is Man”, which is based on Psalms 144:3-4, 90:6, 90:12, 37:37, 49:16, 73:26 and Ecclesiastes 12:7. Afterwards, Psalm 91 is usually recited.

The core of traditional Yizkor /יזכור service is the memorial prayer in the following format:

יִזְכּוֹר אֱלהִים נִשְׁמַת
‏ בעבור נשמת האב / האם׃
אָבִי מוֹרִי / אִמִּי מוֹרָתִי

May God remember the soul of
for a parent:
my father / my mother, my teacher

‏ בעבור שאר הקרובים׃
זְקֵנִי / זְקֵנְתִּי / דּוֹדִי / דוֹדָתִי
אַחִי / אַחוֹתִי / בְּנִי / בִּתִּי / בּעלִי / אִשְׁתִּי

for a relative:
my grandfather/grandmother or uncle/aunt
brother/sister or son/daughter or husband/wife

(Jewish name of the deceased)

           לאיש/לאשה
‏ פלוני בן פלוני/פלונית בת פלוני

for a man: son of (name of his father)
for a woman: daughter of (name of her father)

Among Ashkenazim the Jewish name of the deceased is followed by the Jewish name
of his or her father. Among Sephardim the Jewish name of the deceased is usually
followed by the Jewish name of his or her mother (sometimes, father, depending
on local custom). If these are not known, non-Jewish names are used.

שֶׁהָלַךְ לְעוֹלָמוֹ / שֶׁהָלְכָה לְעוֹלָמָה
בַּעֲבוּר שֶׁאֲנִי נוֹדֵר צְדָקָה בַּעֲדוֹ / בַּעֲדָהּ

who has gone on to his/her eternal world,
because I pledge charity on his/her behalf

‏ נוסח אחר׃
‏[‏בַּעֲבוּר שֶׁ‏* ‏אֶתֵּן צְדָקָה בַּעֲדוֹ / בַּעֲדָהּ‏]‏

alternatively:
[because* I shall give charity on his/her behalf]

וּבִשְׂכַר זֶה תְּהֵא נַפְשׁוֹ / נַפְשָׁהּ
צְרוּרָה בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים עִם
נִשְׁמוֹת אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקב
שָׂרָה רִבְקָה רָחֵל וְלֵאָה
וְעִם שְׁאָר צַדִּיקִים
וְצַדְקָנִיּוֹת שֶׁבְּגַן עֵדֶן
‏-‏ וְנאמַר אָמֵן׃

As reward for this, may his/her soul
be bound in the Bond of Life, together with
the souls of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah,
and together with the other righteous men
and women in the paradise
- and let’s say to it, Amen.


*יש מוסיפים׃ ‏[‏בְּלִי נֶדֶר‏]‏

*some add: [without making a vow]

One prayer is recited for departed father and another for departed mother, these prayers are not combined. However, instead of reciting a separate prayer for each of the other relatives, which is, of course, preferable, one may recite one prayer for several relatives at once:

יִזְכּוֹר אֱלהִים נִשְׁמוֹת
זְקֵנַי וּזְקֵנוֹתַי
דּוֹדַי וְדוֹדוֹתַי, אַחַי וְאַחְיוֹתַי
בֵּין ‏[‏נ״א׃ הֵן‏]‏ מִצַּד אָבִי בֵּין מִצַּד אִמִּי

May God remember the souls of
my grandfathers and grandmothers,
uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters
both on my father's side and my mother's side

שֶׁהָלְכוּ לְעוֹלָמָם
בַּעֲבוּר שֶׁאֲנִי נוֹדֵר צְדָקָה בַּעֲדָם

who went on to their eternal world,
because I pledge charity on their behalf

‏ נוסח אחר׃
‏[‏בַּעֲבוּר שֶׁ‏* ‏אֶתֵּן צְדָקָה בַּעֲדָם‏]‏

alternatively:
[because* I shall give charity on their behalf]

וּבִשְׂכַר זֶה תִּהְיֶינָה נַפְשׁוֹתֵיהֶם
צְרוּרוֹת בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים עִם
נִשְׁמוֹת אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקב
שָׂרָה רִבְקָה רָחֵל וְלֵאָה
וְעִם שְׁאָר צַדִּיקִים
וְצַדְקָנִיּוֹת שֶׁבְּגַן עֵדֶן
‏-‏ וְנאמַר אָמֵן׃

As reward for this, may their souls
be bound in the Bond of Life, together with
the souls of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah,
and together with the other righteous men
and women in the paradise
- and let’s say to it, Amen.

There are also similarly structured prayers for the martyrs and for the fallen soldiers, as found in the prayer books. After the Yizkor some congregations have a custom to recite the Kel Maleh Rachamim / קל מלה רחמים memorial prayer.