Jewish Prayer For The Dead In English
In Judaism, death is viewed as a natural part of life and not the end of it. The Jewish people have developed several prayers to help mourners grieve their loved ones who have passed away. These include the Kaddish prayer, which is recited on the anniversary of a person’s death; Mourner’s Kaddish, which is recited during services for any deceased person; Shem U’Malchut (Hebrew for: “Name and Sovereignty”), which is said after mentioning God’s name in prayer; Yizkor Service (Hebrew for: “Memorial”), which honors family members who have died; El Male Rahamim (Hebrew for: “God Full of Compassion”), recited at burials or memorials
The Kaddish Prayer
The Kaddish prayer is the most important prayer in Judaism. It is said at the end of all daily prayers and is repeated three times during the High Holiday services. It also is recited by mourners on behalf of the deceased after a funeral or when visiting a cemetery.
The Kaddish prayer is one of two special prayers that are only said by males (the other being Baruch Atah Adonai). All other prayers may be recited by either men or women, though most synagogues separate genders for private prayer services like morning minyanim (prayer groups).
The Kaddish prayer begins with an introduction written in Aramaic that translates to “May His great name grow exalted and sanctified…” This phrase introduces each paragraph, which contain blessings for God’s greatness as well as requests for mercy from God’s judgment against sinfulness.
The Mourner’s Kaddish is a prayer for the dead. It is said by mourners during the shiva, which lasts seven days after someone dies. Since it was written in Aramaic, you may have heard it at funerals but not known what it meant or how to say it properly. The Mourner’s Kaddish can also be recited by anyone who wants to show respect for someone they know who has passed away.
The Mourner’s Kaddish begins with praise of God and ends with a request that He honor their memory: “May His great name grow exalted and sanctified… May His great name be blessed from now until all eternity…”
Shem U’Malchut – This prayer is recited after the Kaddish and is a prayer of praise and thanksgiving. It is also a prayer for all the people of Israel, their restoration, and the peace of Jerusalem.
Yizkor is a prayer that is said on the anniversary of a death. It is a time to remember those who have died, and to give thanks for their lives; it also serves as an opportunity to ask God for forgiveness for any wrongs they may have committed while they were alive.
Yizkor was originally meant only for people who had died within the past year, but during the Holocaust when many Jews did not survive beyond one year from their imprisonment, it became customary to say Yizkor at other times as well.
How To Say The Prayer:
El Male Rahamim
You may not know it, but El Male Rahamim is a prayer for the dead. It’s meant to be recited by mourners during funeral services in Hebrew and Aramaic. The first time I heard it, I was surprised at how comforting it sounded—and what a fitting way it was for my family to remember their loved ones who had passed away.
The prayer is not only recited on the day of their death; in fact, you can say it every year after that anniversary date on their yahrtzeit (the date of their passing). You might also see this prayer written down as “El Malei Rachamim.” On its own or combined with other prayers like Aleynu Leyolom (a traditional blessing), El Malei Rachamim helps us remember those we miss dearly while showing us that they are always close by and never far from our hearts or minds.
Here are 5 Jewish prayers for the dead in English
The following prayers are written in Hebrew, but they can be said by the mourners.
- Kaddish: This prayer is said by all mourners in a Jewish funeral service, or at other times of grief. The first section of the prayer is for God and praises his greatness; the second section asks for forgiveness for sins, whether spoken or thought; and the last section asks that our loved one be accepted into heaven.
- El Molei Rachamim: This is a song of comfort sung at funerals. The song describes how our hearts go out to those who have died, asking God to take care of them until they are reunited with their loved ones again someday here on earth or in heaven.
There are many beautiful prayers in Judaism, but these 5 Jewish prayers for the dead in English should be more than enough to cover you.