"A life blossoms like a flower and withers; it vanishes like a shadow and does not endure. . . .The length of our days are set; the numbers of our months are with You. You set limits we cannot pass." (from Job 14:2, 5)
"A day-old infant who dies is to her father and mother like a full bride." (Talmud)
In one of the brightest days in June we lost our twin girls. In our darkest hour, we thought we may never again feel the warmth of the sun. Yet, here we are—in the dark days of winter, on the solstice, no less, celebrating LIGHT. Today, we remember "Nes Gadol Haya Sham"—a great miracle happened there. We thank God for the miracle of Hanukkah, and for the miracle of our own lives and those of Am Yisrael.
Yet, a miracle does not happen every time. The twins will not grow to become part of _______________'s family. We will never truly KNOW these neshamas (souls) that came so close to us. But we can acknowledge their arrival in this world, and mourn their passing.
This family mourns the loss of the infants for whom they waited, for whom they dreamed. They grieve for what might have been, the hands they longed to hold, the faces they longed to kiss. Their arms hold no small lives; their hearts are filled with sadness. We are confounded by the overwhelming mystery of death, by our inability to shape life to our wishes.
While deep inside my womb, I gave the babies names—silent names. Names that now have no bodies. Yet these names have souls to cleave to. Every utterance is a creation. Please honor us today as eidim (witnesses) to our daughters' names.
Our daughter who was born alive was known to us, and shall be remembered as: ___________bat_______v'_______ Zichrona Livracha. May her memory be for a blessing.
Mother speaks briefly about name.
God, accept into the warmth of Your eternal embrace our child, who lived only within our family's embrace. Hold her close beneath Your wing.
Our daughter who knew life only within my womb was known to us, and shall be remembered as: ___________bat_________v'______ Zichrona Livracha. May her memory be for a blessing.
Mother speaks briefly about name.
We pray that our ____________ now dwells with God. God, accept into the warmth of Your eternal embrace our child, who lived only within our family's embrace. Hold her close beneath Your wing.
El Malei Rachamim, God filled with compassion, dwelling on high, grant perfect rest under the wings of the Shekhinah to the souls of _______ and _______. Place these smallest of beginnings, tiny and tender roots, who were so desired and loved, among the holy and pure ones who shine brilliantly as the heavens.
** (Together, we all lift the tallit above our heads.) **
Under this tallit we feel Kavod—honor and respect for that which dwells on high, and Havdel—the separation between the heavens and the earth. In Pirke Avot we learn, "Who is truly happy? The person happy in his own portion."
On this first day of Hanukkah, we acknowledge that the greatest miracle is our lives and that of our families. With this gesture, we reaffirm our Jewish home, our family, and our love for each other.
Please say together, with us, the Shehecheyanu.
Holy One of Blessing, Your presence fills creation. You have kept us alive, You have sustained us, You have brought us to this moment.
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