This prayer is a response to the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It can be used as a private meditation or as part of a funeral service. Gender selections are identified with a slash (“his/her”), there are two places to insert the name of the child and an optional section, identified with [brackets], for adding memories and personal reflections. Here’s a prayer “For the Children of Newtown.” May the memories of the righteous be a blessing.
Meditation on the Burial of a Young Child
My dear __________ [Name of the child],
Your hands were so small,
Your skin, so smooth,
Your smile, as bright as sunlight.
We had so little time,
And so much more to do, to discover, to share.
Oh loneliness and sorrow,
The coffin that holds you is so small,
The wood, so smooth,
This moment, dark with despair.
And still, your laughter echoes in my heart
And your face shines in my eyes.
[If desired, speak silently or aloud memories and moments
To honor the life of your child and the difficult days ahead.]
G-d of compassion,
Grant our family the wisdom to be gentle with each other
In these hours of grievous loss.
Lead us on the path to hope and renewal
So that we may become a well
Of comfort and support for each other.
G-d of All,
Grant a perfect rest among the souls of the righteous
To ______________________ (Name of the child in Hebrew or your native tongue),
My son/daughter/child who has gone to his/her eternal rest.
May his/her memory be sanctified with love and
May his/her soul be bound up in the bond of life,
A living blessing in our midst.
© 2012 Alden Solovy and http://www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Postscript: Here’s a link to a memorial prayer to be said for an individual killed “At the Hand of Violence” and a prayer “For Bereaved Children,” which can be said on behalf of the brothers and sisters of the victims. This prayer will appear in my forthcoming book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.
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Photo credit: Laume’s Studio