Prayer for a Better Day

Oasis Songs: Musings from Rav D
Friday, August 20, 2021 / 12 Elul 5781

Summary: This week, I offer a prayer as we find ourselves focused on Haiti and Afghanistan.

Ribbono Shel Olam,
You whose eye is on all living creatures,
We turn our eyes to You.
Sometimes Your world has so much pain,
We lose our way in the devastation.
Our hearts and minds blur beneath the weight.

This is such a week.
Haiti, poor, beautiful, bereft Haiti.
Poorest of the poor,
Even your president, Moïse,
Could not afford the cost of life,
Taken at the hands of an assassin.
Then, as though in moral outrage,
The ground itself shook,
Killing, maiming, destroying
Those who have seen too much suffering,
Those who are the orphans and the widows of history.

Across the world on the mountainous steppes,
Afghanistan shudders as well.
Starting in the twelfth century,
It has known only war,
A legacy of rage ripping the pages of history.
Bodies plummet from planes
Because sometimes the desperate still have hope,
Clinging to it, to the wheel well, against all odds.

In their final, terrible fall,
We are forced to ask is all hope vain?
Is it only darkness, this world You made,
Held in a sort of round
By the dim strands of light?

We know this is not Your world anymore,
We know You stepped away to let us play out
Our own hand at world-making.
You are the kindest parent,
Letting us fail again and again.
What nachas must you schep
When we get it right,
When we act from love and concern.

This, then, is what we ask of You.
Raise up our hearts in hope.
Open our hearts to avoid suffering,
Or to meet it with hands willing to ease the pain.
Let us count our blessings,
For in their enumeration
Our desire to destroy is lessened.
Let us study Your beautiful world,
The careful balance You inscribed
With harmony and shleimut.
And while we learn
To be better at the making
Of home, culture, country, and politics,
Step in this time, step into history again
The way you did for our ancestors.
As we turn our eyes to You,
Turn Yours to Afghanistan, turn to Haiti.
Provide them a resolute heart
To endure their darkness.
Lead them to their better day.
Do it quickly.

Shabbat shalom,

Rav D

Shabbat Table Talk

  1. What would you include in your prayer for Afghanistan? What would you include for Haiti?
  2. What do you think the world most needs? How can we help make that happen?

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