Yizkor: Instructions for Remembering
Remember the blessings of those who no longer walk this earth.
Remember each name, each life-story.
Remember on behalf of those whose memory fails.
Remember with love the sweet and the bittersweet.
Remember with forgiveness the hurt and misunderstanding.
Remember with insight so you might experience deeper meaning.
Remember through the pain until you can touch the joy and find comfort.
Remember through dreams left unfulfilled and choose one to fulfill.
Remember through your heart.
Remember through your actions.
Remember through living with kindness, generosity and forgiveness.
Remember through your children and grandchildren.
Remember by planting memories and helping them take root in the living.
Remember by opening your heart even if you thought it was closed forever.
Remember to live your own life as a blessing.
Remember to do all this.
Remember and you will be remembered.
Rabbi Nina J. Mizrahi©
8 Tishrei 5776/21 September 2015
Meditation before Yom Kippur for One who Cannot Fast
By Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub, LMSW © 2005/5765
Ribbono shel Olam/Master of the Universe;
Creator of All, Source of All Life,
Who Knows What is Deep in Human Hearts,
Who Nurtures Every Living Being:
As You know, dear God,
Yom Kippur is fast approaching, and because of my condition
or circumstances beyond my control,
I am not able to keep the traditional fast –
I cannot abstain totally from eating.
On this Day of Atonement, this Sabbath of Sabbaths,
this year and every year,
it is so central to join the people of Israel
in denying ourselves food and drink for one day
so that we focus on correcting our misdeeds,
on knowing our mortality;
on reaching for a life of Torah, mitzvot, and lovingkindness;
You know, dear God, that it is not my intent
to be apart from our people and our tradition.
My current state of health or military training makes it difficult for me to fast
So, dear God, I turn to You now in sincerity and openness:
Help me in the coming year to do my best in guarding my health.
Help us, Your children, learn how to protect our bodies from harm.
Help us support others in caring for their tzelem Elokim, their Image of God.
Teach us to help one another grow and thrive in Body, Mind, and Spirit.
If there is an opportunity for me to help others who suffer
by doing something they need or by being attentive company –
Grant me the ability to do this mitzvah with love and devotion.
Rofeh khol basar/Healer of all living creatures:
I thank You for the breath that is in me
for the community of Israel that lives
for the possibilities of today and tomorrow.
May my eating be as a fast;
May it be dedicated to You, to T’shuvah –
to the Renewal and Restoration of my Relationship
to You, to Others, and to Myself.
We pay a high price for regret.
The season of reflection is upon us
Fixing a time to assess the meaning of our lives
The quality of our relationships
We can taste the sweetness and bitterness that coats our tongues
Feel the peacefulness and havoc in our hearts
The outrage and complacency of our souls
A meaningful journey through this season can change us
If we face the truth of whom we are – with forgiveness and without judgment.
Directing comfort and compassion inward,
We can identify where we have missed the mark
And meet it with honesty supported by loving kindness.
Create an opportunity to remove obstacles
And summon the courage to get our lives back on track
Relief replaces regret
Empowerment overcomes stagnation
Engagement builds new connections
The harvest festival of Sukkot
Falls on the heels of Yom Kippur for a reason
Cleansed and renewed, we experience a spaciousness of being
Clarity of heart and soul frees us
To gather in the cornucopia of a glorious bounty
Our tables set with gratitude
Breaking bread outdoors
Our Sukkah overflowing with guests
Human and divine.
We drink in joy in a setting of complete vulnerability
To ready ourselves for the winter that will surely follow.
If we are prepared
The cold will not overcome us
We will plant and cultivate spring blossoms
Dancing in the spring rain, we will reaffirm life
In the summer heat, the respite of even the slightest breeze will be welcomed
The same applies to the seasons of our heart.
If we slack off and are not diligent
About the quality of our character, values and actions
We will lose focus and perspective
And possibly our way
Regret alone cannot return us
Thankfully, the season of reflection and return is upon us
A new year begins
While we have no control over the seasons or even our circumstances
We can choose to live a fulfilled, meaning-filled and purposeful life
Which prepares us to
Face challenges and conflicts
Pursue peace and justice
Live with kindness and compassion
And love with an open heart.
May you and those you love inscribe yourselves in the Book of Life for a sweet new year!
Rabbi Nina J. Mizrahi, Community Rabbi
4 Tishrei 5776/ 17 September 2015