A Synagogue Ritual for Miscarriage
For those who wish to mourn with their community, a special prayer to be used in temple
By Sandy Falk & Daniel Judson
We encourage you to mourn in the way that is most comforting to you, whether you work through your grief solely with your partner, or whether you choose to seek support from family, friends, or your community. If you do wish to use a public ritual to mark this event, we have included the following prayers.
They are to be recited with Birkat Hagomel, the prayer said during the reading of the Torah by someone who has survived a difficult journey or illness.
[Woman or rabbi recites:]
Out of the depths I call to You, O God; You hear me fully when I call. God is with me, I have no fear. I was hard-pressed, about to fall; God came to my help. God, You are my strength and my courage. I will not die, but live, and yet tell of the deeds of God. I thank You for having heard me; O God, be my deliverance.
[Woman recites Birkat Hagomel]
בּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלם הַגּוֹמֵל לְחַיָּבִים טוֹבוֹת שֶׁגְּמָלַנִי כָּל טוֹב
Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu melech ha'olam, hagomel lechayavim tovot, shegemalani kol tov.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, ruler of the universe, showing goodness to us beyond our merits, for bestowing favor upon me.
מִי שֶׁגְּמָלֵךְ כָּל טוֹב הִיא תִגְמְלֵךְ כָּל טוֹב. סֶלָה. אָמֵן.
Mi shegemalech kol tov, he yigmalech kol tov. Selah. Amen.
May the One who has shown you every kindness, ever show kindness to you. Selah. Amen.
The rabbi may offer the following mi shebeirach, a special prayer of comfort and healing for the couple:
May God who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah, grant this family refu'at hanefesh urefu 'at haguf, a full healing of body and spirit, abundant blessings from loved ones, and an awareness of God's presence with them in their pain. As for the baby that was not to be, shelter this spirit, O God, in the shadow of Your wings, for You, God of parents, God of children, God of us all, guard and shelter us. You are a gracious and loving God. Guard our coming and our going, grant us life and peace, now and always, for You are the Source of life and peace. May we as a holy community support and love our friends in times of pain as well as times of joy. And as we have wept together, so may we soon gather to rejoice.
[In response, the woman or the couple may say:]
God heals the broken-hearted
and binds up their wounds.
God reckons the number of stars,
giving each one its name.
Great is God and full of power
whose wisdom is beyond reckoning.
God gives courage to the lowly
and brings hope to those bereft.
So may God always be with us.
-Based on Psalm 147:2-6
Excerpted with permission from The Jewish Pregnancy Book (Jewish Lights).