Yizkor Guide

Yizkor –The Memorial Prayer

Yizkor, a special memorial prayer for the departed, is recited in the synagogue four times a year, following the Torah reading of the last day of Passover, on the second day of Shavuot, on Shemini Atzeret and on Yom Kippur.

Yizkor, in Hebrew, means “Remember”. It is not only the first word of the prayer, it also represents the over all theme. I this prayer, we implore G-d to remember the souls of our relatives and friends.

When we recite Yizkor we renew and strengthen the connections between us and our loved ones thereby bringing merit to their departed souls and elevating them to the celestial home.

The main component of Yizkor is our private pledge to give to charity following the holiday in honor of the deceased. By giving to charity, we are preforming a positive physical mitzvah in this world, something that the departed can no longer do.

The soul gains additional merit if the memory of its good deeds spurs their loved ones to improve their ways and preform mitzvoth.

It is customary for those with both parents alive to leave the synagogue during the Yizkor service. A mourner during the first year remains in the synagogue, but does not recite Yizkor. Some kindle a 24-hour Yahrzeit candle (before the holiday).

In addition to reciting Yizkor for one’s parents, one my recite for any Jew who has passed on, including relatives and friends.

Adonai What is Man

יְיָ מָה אָדָם וַתֵּדָעֵהוּ
Adonai mah adam vateida’eihu
Adonai, what is Man that You recognize him?

בֶּן אֱנוֹשׁ וַתְּחַשְּׁבֵהוּ׃
ben enosh vat’chash’veihu.

The son of a frail human, that You recon with him?

אָדָם לַהֶבֶל דָּמָה
Adam lahevel damah
Man is like a breath,

יָמָיו כְּצֵל עוֹבֵר׃
yamav k’tzeil oveir
His days are a fleeting shadow

בַּבְּקֶר יָצִיץ וְחָלָף
Banker yatzitz v’chalaf
In the morning it blossoms and is rejuvinated

לָעֶרֶב יְמוֹלֵל וְיָבֵשׁ׃
la’erev y’moleil v’yaveish.
by evening it is cut down and brittle.

לִמְנוֹת יָמֵינוּ כֵּן הוֹדַע
Lim’not yameinu kein hoda
according to the count of our days, so may You teach us;

וְנָבִא לְבַב חָכְמָה׃
v’navi l’vav chach’mah.
then we shall acquire a heart of wisdom

שְׁמָר תָּם וּרְאֵה יָשָׁר
Sh’mar tam ur’eih yashar

Safeguard the perfect and watch the upright,

כִּי אַחֲרית לְאִישׁ שָׁלוֹם׃
Ki acharit l’ish shalom.
for the desiny of that man is peace.

אַךְ אֱלֹחִים יִפְדֶּה נַפְשִׁי
Ach Elohim yif’deh naf’shi

But G-d will redeem my soul for the grip of the lower world,

מִיַּד שְׁאוֹל כִּי יִקָּחֵנִי סֶלָה׃
miya sh’ol ki yikacheini selah.
for He will take me, Selah!

כָּלָה שְׁאֵרִי וּלְבָבִי צוּר
kalah sh’eriri ul’vavi tsur
My flesh and my heart yearn,

לְבָבִי וְחֶלְקִי אֱלֹהִים לְעוֹלָם׃
l’vavi v’chel’ki Elohim l’olam.
Rock of my heart, and my portion of God forever.

וְיָשׁב הֶעָפָר עַל הָאָֽרֶץ כְּשֶׁהָיָה
V’yashv he’afar al haaretz k’shehayah
The the dust returns to the ground, as it was,

וְהָרֽוּחַ תָּשׁוּב אֶל הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר נְתָנָהּ׃
v’harucha tashuv el ha’Elohim asher n’tanah.
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Yizkor

In Memory of A Father

יִזְכֹּר אֱלֹהִים
Yizkor Elohim

May God remember

נִשְׁמַת אָבִי מוֹרִי
nish’mat avi mori

the soul of my father, my teacher

[Name of the deceased]
[Name of the deceased]

[Name of the deceased]

שֶׁהָלַךְ לְעוֹלָמוֹ
shehalach l’olamo,

who has gone on to his world,

בַּעֲבוּר שֶׁבְּלי נֶדֶר
ba’avur sheb’li neder
because, without making a vow,

אֶתֵּן צְדָקָה בַּעֲדֹו׃
etein tzdakah ba’ado.

I shall give charity on his behalf.

בִּשְׁכַר זֶה
Bis’char zeh,
As a reward for this,

תְּהֵא נַפְשׁוֹ צְרוּרָה
t’hei naf’sho tzrurah
may his soul be bound

בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיּים
bitzror hachayim
in the Bond of Life

עִם נִשְׁמוֹת
im nish’mot
together with the souls of

אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב
Avraham, Yitzachak v’Ya’akov,
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

שָׁרָה רִבְקָה רָחֵל וְלֵאָה
Sharah, Rivkah, Racheil v’Leiah
Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah

וְעִם שְׁאָר צַדִּיקִים
V’im sh’ar tzadikim
and together with the other righteous

וְצִדְקָנִיוֹת שֶׁבְּגַן עֵֽדֶן
v’tzid’kaniot sheb’gan Eiden,
men and women in the Garden of Eden.

וְנאמַר אָמֵן׃
v’nomar Amein
Now let us respond: Amen.

Yizkor

In Memory of A Mother

יִזְכֹּר אֱלֹהִים
Yiz’kor Elohim
May God remember

נִשְׁמַת אִמִּי מוֹרָתִי
nish’mat imi morati
the soul of my mother, my teacher

[Name of Deceased]
[Name of Deceased]
[Name of Deceased]

שֶׁהָלְכָה לְעוֹלָמָהּ
shehal’chah l’olamah
who has gone on to her world

בַּעֲבוּר שֶׁבְּלי נֶדֶר
ba’avur sheb’li neder
because, without making a vow

אֶתֵּן צְדָקָה בַּעֲדָהּ׃
etein tzadakah ba’adah
I shall give to charity on her behalf.

בִּשְׁכַר זֶה

Bis’char zeh,
As a reward for this,

תְּהֵא נַפְשׁוֹ צְרוּרָה
t’hei naf’sha tzrurah
may her soul be bound

בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיּים
bitzror hachayim
in the Bond of Life

עִם נִשְׁמוֹת
im nish’mot
together with the souls of

אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב
Avraham, Yitzachak, v’Ya’akov

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob;

שָׁרָה רִבְקָה רָחֵל וְלֵאָה
Sarah, Riv’kah Racheil v’Leah
Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah;

וְעִם שְׁאָר צַדִּיקִים
v’im sh’ar tzadikim
and together with the other righteous

וְצִדְקָנִיוֹת שֶׁבְּגַן עֵֽדֶן
v’tzid’kaniot sheb’gan Eiden
men and women in the Garden of Eden.

וְנאמַר אָמֵן׃
v’nomar Amein
Now let us respond: Amen.

יִזְכֹּר אֱלֹהִים נִשְׁמַת
Yizkor Elohim nish’mat
May God remember to soul of my

  • בְּנִי
  • בַּעְלִי
  • דּוֹדִי
  • אָחִי
  • זְקֵנִי

• b’ni
• ba’li
• dodi
• achi
• z’keini

  • son
  • husband
  • uncle
  • brother
  • grandfather

[Name of Deceased]
[Name of Deceased]
[Name of Deceased]

שֶׁהָלַךְ לְעוֹלָמוֹ
shehalach l’olamo,
who has gone to his world,

בַּעֲבוּר שֶׁבְּלי נֶדֶר
ba’avur sheb’li neder
because, without making a vow,

אֶתֵּן צְדָקָה בַּעֲדֹו׃
etein tzdakah b’ado.
I shall give charity on his behalf.

בִּשְׁכַר זֶה
Bis’char zeh,
As a reward for this,

תְּהֵא נַפְשׁוֹ צְרוּרָה
t’hei naf’sho tzururah
may his soul be bound

בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיּים
Bitzror hachayim
in the Bond of Life,

עִם נִשְׁמוֹת
im nish’mot
together with the souls of

אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב
Av’raham Yitzachak v’Ya’akov
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob;

שָׁרָה רִבְקָה רָחֵל וְלֵאָה
Sarah Riv’kah Racheil v’Leah
Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah;

וְעִם שְׁאָר צַדִּיקִים
v’im sh’ar tzadikim
and together with the outher righteous

וְצִדְקָנִיוֹת שֶׁבְּגַן עֵֽדֶן
v’tzid’kaniot sheb’gan Eiden
men and women in the Garden of Eden.

וְנאמַר אָמֵן׃
v’nomar Amein
Now let us respone: Amen.