When a Hostage Returns
For a Gathering:
Poster of the now-released hostage
The text of Birkat Hagomel
Leader: When a hostage is released or rescued from the bonds of Hamas captivity, we celebrate the gift of life returning to our people.
We stand near the poster of the now-released hostage and turn to the text of Birkat Hagomel.
Leader: One of the most powerful and emotional reasons to recite Birkat Hagomel is release from captivity. This Halacha permits us to bless Gomel on someone else's behalf. (Shulkhan Arukh, OH 219).
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַגּוֹמֵל לְחַיָּבִים טוֹבוֹת, שֶׁגְּמָלַנִי כָּל טוּב.
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, hagomel l'hayavim tovot, sheg'malani kol tuv.
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who bestows goodness upon even the guilty, Who has bestowed every goodness upon me.
(m) מִי שֶׁגְּ֒מָלְ֒ךָ טוֹב הוּא יִגְמָלְ֒ךָ כָּל־טוֹב סֶֽלָה
(f) מִי שְגָמָלֵך כֹּל טוֹב הוּא יִגְמְלֵךְ כֹּל טוֹב סֶלָה
Mi sheg'malkha/g'gamaleikh kol tov hu yigmolkha/yigm'leikh kol tov selah
May the One who rewarded you with all goodness reward you with all goodness for ever.
We sing together:
Hashiveinu (words on handout)
Remove the poster. Place it into a binder where it will be kept alongside all the other hostages' photos and stories as a keepsake.
Leader: Each renewal of life comes with the sadness of growing loss. We learn of new deaths each week, and our hearts break for the ones we know and for the names we hold close even though we don't know them.
For all these lives lost, we light a yahrzheit candle. We recall their memories as precious blessings.
Leader recites El Male Rahamim for victims of the 5784 violence in Israel.