After two massacres in our nation we struggle deeply. Though they can’t prevent it from happening again, our thoughts and prayers can begin to heal us from within. Words from Jewish liturgy help us cope through the bitterness with hope for greater peace ahead. From “Mishkan HaNefesh” for Yom Kippur, Yizkor/memorial prayers in our High Holy Day prayerbook (CCAR Press):
Eternal God, we ask Your help, for our need is great.
Our days fly past in quick succession,
and we cannot look back without regret, or ahead without misgiving.
We seek to understand the mystery of our own lives,
but our effort is in vain.
And when suffering and death strike those we love, our faith all but fails us, and we forget that we are Your children.
God, help us now to feel Your presence.
When our own weaknesses and the storms of life hide You from our sight,
Help us to know that You are with us still.
Uphold us with the comfort of Your love.
God makes me lie down in green pastures, leads me beside the still waters. Psalm 23:2
What are the sources of inner strength?
How have I survived loss and its pain?
Where do I find “green pastures” and “still waters”?
Blessed is the life force within us even in the worst of times.
Like dew on the grass, it renews and restores.
May courage come.
Let dark fears be gone with morning’s light.
Let grief give way to confidence and new hope.
Blessed are You, Holy One, who gives and renews life.
Rabbi Judah taught:
There are ten strong things:
Iron is strong, but fire melts it.
Fire is strong, but water quenches it.
Water is strong, but the clouds evaporate it.
Clouds are strong, but wind drives them away.
Wind is strong, but the human body bears it.
Human beings are strong, but fear casts them down.
Fear is strong, but wine allays it.
Wine is strong, but sleep overcomes it.
Sleep is strong, but death is stronger.
And loving-kindness survives death.
What fills me with Shalom?
What makes me feel like a whole person?
How has my community been a source of renewal and strength for me?
Blessed is peace, for all blessings flow from it.
Precious is peace, for without it no blessing is complete.
We pray —
For inner serenity,
For peace of mind,
For the feeling of at-homeness in the universe
and in our hearts.
Congregation Beth Israel’s clergy, staff and lay leaders extend to you and your families our sincerest good wish for a Sabbath of comfort and peace. May our nation heal from its wounds with words and deeds that bring honor to God, Creator of every living being. Shabbat Shalom.