When the Reform Movement came out with its new siddur, Mishkan T’fillah, one of the more spoken about changes was adding m’chayeh hameitim back into the second blessing of the Amidah as an option. As we offer our prayers declaring God’s greatness, we traditionally declare that God gives life to the dead
Earlier Reform prayerbooks entirely rejected this line, preferring the notion that God gives life to all; but this newest siddur includes this idea of the resurrection of the dead as an option. And, I admit, when I am in prayer servies as a congregant (not leading them and not there as a teacher), I sometimes include those words myself.
Not because I literally believe that the dead come back to life (except maybe as vampires and zombies, but that’s an entirely different post), but because of the ideas that I perceive as included.
Traditionally, when one sees a friend whom one has not seen in over a year, the traditional blessing is m’chayei hameitim, who brings the dead to life. I long understood and embraced that idea as recognizing that when we don’t see someone for a long time, they are not alive to us in the same way as when we see them anew. It is as if they have been revived.
But I recently came to understand this in a new way, having returned fro the last of several conventions where I had the chance to see many dear friends (most of whom I don’t get to see nearly often enough) and a vacation during which I had amazing time with other friends.
It’s not that those friends are revived for me–because they are always there; for themselves and in my heart, even when I don’t speak to them as often as I want. It’s that there’s a part of me that’s revived when I’m with them…aspects of my personality that come out more vibrantly and more easily when I’m around them.
There are dear friends of mine who bring aspects of me alive that aren’t there, or aren’t noticable, when I’m not around them. I need those aspects of me. They are part of who I am. I am so thankful that I have people in my life who remind me of that. Who bring out those parts of me that sometimes like to hide.
And so I declare: Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech HaOlam, M’chayeh Hameitim. Blessed are You, Eternal Our God, Ruler of the Universe, who gives life to the dead….