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Prayers for the Final Moments

Prayers for the Final Moments


Between Two Worlds

The time between life and death is considered extremely sacred in Jewish tradition. On one hand, the passage marks the conclusion of the soul's journey on earth. On the other hand, death heralds the beginning of the soul's eternal life in Heaven.

Kabbalah teaches that at the moment of passing, every positive thought, word, or deed that occurred during the person's life is concentrated into a pristine spiritual light. This light is revealed to the world and in the Heavenly spheres, where it continues to shine and have an effect on those above and below.

Prayers for the Final Moments

1) Psalm 121

Hebrew and Transliteration:


A Song of Ascents.
I lift my eyes to the mountains -- from where will my help come?
My help will come from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot falter; your guardian does not slumber.
Indeed, the Guardian of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.
The Lord is your guardian; the Lord is your protective shade at your right hand.
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will guard you from all evil; He will guard your soul.
The Lord will guard your going and your coming from now and for all time.

2) Psalm 130

Hebrew and Transliteration:


A Song of Ascents.
Out of the depths I call to You, O Lord.
My Lord, hearken to my voice; let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas.
G‑d, if You were to preserve iniquities, my Lord, Who could survive?
But forgiveness is with You, that You may be feared.
I hope in the Lord; my soul hopes, and I long for His word.
My soul yearns for the Lord more than [night] watchmen [waiting] for the morning, wait for the morning.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord there is kindness; with Him there is abounding deliverance.
And He will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.

3) Psalm 91

Hebrew and Transliteration:


You Who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, Who abides in the shadow of the Omnipotent,
I say [to you] of the Lord Who is my refuge and my stronghold, my G‑d in Whom I trust,
that He will save you from the ensnaring trap, from the destructive pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions and you will find refuge under His wings; His truth is a shield and an armor.
You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
the pestilence that prowls in the darkness, nor the destruction that ravages at noon.
A thousand may fall at your [left] side, and ten thousand at your right, but it shall not reach you.
You need only look with your eyes, and you will see the retribution of the wicked.
Because you [have said,] "The Lord is my shelter," and you have made the Most High your haven,
no evil will befall you, no plague will come near your tent.
For He will instruct His angels in your behalf, to guard you in all your ways.
They will carry you in their hands, lest you hurt your foot on a rock.
You will tread upon the lion and the viper; you will trample upon the young lion and the serpent.
Because he desires Me, I will deliver him; I will fortify him for he knows My Name.
When he calls on Me, I will answer him; I am with him in distress, I will deliver him and honor him.
I will satisfy him with long life, and show him My deliverance.

4) Adon Olam

Hebrew and Transliteration:


Lord of the universe, Who reigned
before anything was created —
at the time when by His will all things were made,
then was His name proclaimed King.
And after all things shall cease to be,
the Awesome One will reign alone.
He was, He is,
and He shall be in glory.
He is one, and there is no other
to compare to Him, to consort with Him.
Without beginning, without end,
power and dominion belong to Him.
He is my G‑d and my ever-living Redeemer,
the strength of my lot in time of distress.
He is my banner and my refuge,
my portion on the day I call.
Into His hand I entrust my spirit,
when I sleep and when I wake.
And with my soul, my body too,
the Lord is with me, I shall not fear.

5) Ana B'choach

Hebrew and Transliteration:


We implore you, by the great power of Your right hand, release the captive.
Accept the prayer of Your people; strengthen us, purify us, Awesome One.
Mighty One, we beseech You, guard as the apple of the eye those who seek Your Oneness.
Bless them, cleanse them; bestow upon them forever Your merciful righteousness.
Powerful, Holy One, in Your abounding goodness, guide Your congregation.
Only and Exalted One, turn to Your people who are mindful of Your holiness.
Accept our supplication and hear our cry, You Who knows secret thoughts.
Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever.

6) V'al Ken Ne'kaveh

Hebrew and Transliteration:


And therefore we hope to You, Lord our G‑d, that we may speedily behold the splendor of Your might, to banish idolatry from the earth and false G‑ds will be utterly destroyed; to perfect the world under the sovereignty of the Almighty. All mankind shall invoke Your Name, to turn to You all the wicked of the earth. Then all the inhabitants of the world will recognize and know that every knee should bend to You, every tongue should swear [by Your Name]. Before You, Lord our G‑d, they will bow and prostrate themselves, and give honor to the glory of Your Name; and they will all take upon themselves the yoke of Your kingdom. May You soon reign over them forever and ever, for kingship is Yours, and to all eternity You will reign in glory, as it is written in Your Torah: The Lord will reign forever and ever. And it is said: The Lord shall be King over the entire earth; on that day the Lord shall be One and His Name One.

7) The Shema and verses of unity

At the very last moments, all present, including the person himself (if possible), recite the following passages aloud, and with intense concentration:

translation: Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our G‑d, the Lord is One.

Recite the following verse in an undertone:

translation: Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever. (Say three times.)

Recite the following verse out loud:

translation: G‑d is the Lord. (Say seven times.)

translation: The Lord is King, the Lord was King, the Lord will be King forever and ever.

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Cassidy -- Mitchell Glasgow July 9, 2017

As I write my friends Brother is dying, he is RC and no priest is available in the hospital to give the last rites,the Rabbi is saying a blessing over John at the moment. Thank you Reply

Ben L New york June 26, 2017

I just lost my mother at a young age and these beautiful and powerful words are so perfectly written for her to hear and for me to say Reply

I Sarah Chichester uk November 26, 2016

Thank you for this information as I am looking after my mother as she passes her last days of life here with us. I am saying the prayers several times during the day and feel the energy around us lighten. She cannot move or speak but because of you she is hearing the call of heaven. Reply

Anonymous Indiana January 14, 2016

My so-in-law is Jewish, my daughter also. We know his time is coming soon, she works so hard to comfort him. I found this site and now we can use the Shema in his final moments. Thank you so very much. Reply

Anonymous December 26, 2014

comment Upon my fathers passing I have read all of this thank you. Reply

Rlee JaxFl February 3, 2014

Final moments Thank you once again, Rabbi, for posting this information . I had the privilege of being with my mother in her final moments. These prayers kept me anchored and focused on the fact that G-d is unchanging and sovereign in spite of my circumstances.
May G-d continue to bless your endeavours in H-s service! Reply

Mrs. Chana Benjaminson via December 19, 2013

Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with us. May you and your entire family be comforted amongst the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem. Reply

Anonymous December 18, 2013

My Mom's Final Moments I printed several copies of theses prayers and handed them out to family members as I was not sure who might be around during my Mom's final moments it turns out the entire family was around, children, grand children and great grand children during sabbath day The adults said this prayer and my mom passed with the final words. The experience although very somber was comforted with these prayers. Reply

Rilla Duluth MN May 28, 2013

thank you I am a hospice volunteer and just learned a patient is jewish and since I'm Catholic I found your site w/a request for "jewish prayer for the dying" - I am going to the hospital now and am so glad to have these prayers to be said for him. I know I would appreciate Catholic prayers for me and am so glad to be able to do this for him. Reply

RLee April 22, 2013

Thanks be to G-d and to you for this practical way.
These psalms and prayers gave-a way to focus on the mitzvah of praying for my friends as they kept vigil at bedside of their wife and
Thank you again, Rabbi, And May G-d continue to bless and use your writings to encourage persons needing practical spiritual counsel.

Anonymous Butler, PA/USA May 4, 2010

Thank you 3 years ago I came to these words when my father was dying. They gave me a way to express my self and comfort my father in a time of grief.
Today I am passing them on to a friend as her mother is dying.
These words are universal and cross lines of religion with spiritual support
Thank you Reply