Today at sundown and for the first time as a post-mikvah Jew, I mark the Hebrew calendar anniversary of my mother’s passing (her yahrzeit.) In keeping with widespread tradition, in her memory I will light a yahrtzeit candle for 24 hours and attend synagogue services tonight and tomorrow to stand and recite the Kaddish Yatom–the Mourner’s Kaddish prayer.
Last year, my mother’s yahrzeit fell on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, so the emotional impact of the day was muted by my need to navigate through my first December without a yuletide celebration. This year with nothing else in the way, I feel the date more deeply than I expected. (At least, if the tears that came out of nowhere while I was writing this post are any indication.)
The Mourner’s Kaddish is below in Aramaic transliteration and English translation. Although an all-important Jewish prayer, the Kaddish is not in Hebrew, and though a prayer of mourning, it is more a celebration of Deity than a prayer of sadness. The website, MyJewishLearning.com, offers good introductions to the Kaddish, yahrzeits, and why there’s a z”l (for zichronah livracha) in the title of this blog post for those unfamiliar with Jewish mourning customs.
Mom, I love you. I miss you. May your memory for a blessing.
Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’mei raba.
B’alma di v’ra chirutei,
uv’chayei d’chol beit Yisrael,
baagala uviz’man kariz. V’imru: Amen.
Y’hei sh’mei raba m’varach
l’alam ul’almei almaya.
Yitbarach v’yistabach v’yitpaar
v’yit’hadar v’yitaleh v’yit’halal
sh’mei d’Kud’sha B’rich Hu,
l’eila min kol birchata v’shirata,
daamiran b’alma. V’imru: Amen.
Y’hei sh’lama raba min sh’maya,
v’chayim aleinu v’al kol Yisrael.
Oseh shalom bimromav,
Hu yaaseh shalom aleinu,
v’al kol Yisrael, v’al kol yoshvei tevel.
Exalted and hallowed by God’s great name
in the world which God created, according to plan.
May God’s majesty be revealed in the days of our lifetime
and the life of all Israel–speedily, imminently, to which we say Amen.
Blessed be God’s great name to all eternity.
Blessed, praised, honored,exalted, extolled, glorified, adored, and lauded
be the name of the Holy Blessed One, beyond all earthly words and songs of blessing,
praise and comfort. To which we say Amen.
May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and all Israel.
To which we say Amen.
May the One who makes peace in the heavens bring peace to us and to all Israel, and to all who dwell on earth.
To which we say Amen.