Me’chayeih ha-meitim


Me’chayeih ha-meitim

Up on a mountain that was somehow down inside me. Years of climbing that had felt like digging, trying to set my soul free. And suddenly there I stood, face to face with my Gd.

Able to ask the hard questions, dump my anger and grief, but all I could find were joy and relief.  So I spilled out my gratitude, wept as I drown in The Love, finally sensing the Forever that would be enough, righting Creation’s wrongs and setting me free of the demons ’round that mountain and down inside me.

Baruch Atah Adonai,
Me’chayeih ha-meitim.

Me’chayeih ha-meitim is Hebrew for “who makes alive the dead.” Traditionally, the phrase was said multiple times a day as part of The Amidah, or Standing Prayer.

With the advent of Reform Judaism, the phrase was changed to eliminate the reference to resurrection of the dead, so the prayer became instead “Me’chayeih ha-col,” “who gives life to everything.”

Interestingly, however, according to scholars, given the time the prayer originated, me’chayeih ha-meitim may not have been intended to refer to literal resurrection of people who were truly dead. For example:
(1) In the Ancient Near East, Sumerians used the same phrase to praise their deity after a gravely ill person had been restored to health,
(2) The Talmud instructs us to thank Gd for “reviving the dead” when we see someone for the first time in over a year.

The prayer that I shared above was written as an expression of this expanded, figurative meaning of “giving life to the dead,” as Gd’s Love can revive our withered souls, bringing us from the darkness of spiritual exile into the light of redemption.

may Shabbat bring more shalom to all, jen


If anyone is interested in learning more about The Amidah, I recommend My People’s Prayer Book, Vol. 2: The Amidah. Rabbi Lawrence Hoffman, Ph.D. (Jewish Lights Publishing, 1998).

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