Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors


A Rabbi’s Prayer in Response to Natural Disaster

posted by Brad Hirschfield

How does one pray in the wake of this week’s events in Haiti? Or does that really beg the question of how we pray on any given day in the face of equally painful, if less grand, tragedies? I am not sure, and frankly right now, am not sure that I care.
I know that words elude me, but I want to express at least some response to these events in words. Thanks to Rabbi Jason Miller who reminded me of a prayer authored by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth. I share it because it gives voice to at least some of what I am feeling, even if not all about which I am thinking, as I reflect on the suffering in Haiti.


Prayer in Response to Natural Disaster
Sir Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth[1]
Adon ha-olamim, Sovereign of the universe,
We join our prayers to the prayers of others throughout the world, for the victims of the earthquake which this week has brought destruction and disaster to many lives.
Almighty God, we pray You, send healing to the injured, comfort to the bereaved, and news to those who sit and wait. May You be with those who even now are engaged in the work of rescue. May You send Your strength to those who are striving to heal the injured, give shelter to the homeless, and bring food and water to those in need. May You bless the work of their hands, and may they merit to save lives.
Almighty God, we recognise how small we are, and how powerless in the face of nature when its full power is unleashed. Therefore, open our hearts in prayer and our hands in generosity, so that our words may bring comfort and our gifts bring aid. Be with us now and with all humanity as we strive to mend what has been injured and rebuild what has been destroyed.
Ken Yehi Ratzon, ve-nomar Amen.
May it be Your will, and let us say Amen.
________________________________________
[1] Rabbi Sacks originally wrote this prayer following the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004. The current wording is slightly modified to respond to the recent earthquake in Haiti.



  • dream walker

    As is fitting this Martin Luther King Jr. weekend,
    Rabbi Brad, being the mensch that he is, blogs about social and humanitarian issues.
    Just as characteristically, his Judaism BELIEFNET colleague David Klinghoffer – who limits Judaism to ritual and thus for whom the Biblical social justice prophetic tradition is non-existent – is AWOL on this symbolic occasion.
    Mr. Klinghoffer, who has long been angling for an appearance on Pat Robertson’s “700 Club,” does not believe in universal health care for Americans. So why should he be expected to support rescue efforts for “deal with the devil” Caribbean folk?

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  • http://www.unravelingtheword.info/ScripturesOfTheDay Sean Rhoades

    Amen

  • BJ

    Matthew 18:19 Again I tell you, if two of you on earth agree (harmonize together, make a symphony together) about whatever [anything and [a]everything] they may ask, it will come to pass and be done for them by My Father in heaven. In the name of Jesus, AMEN.

  • Your Name

    As far as Prayers go, the Rabbi is giving to all of us a simple, and basic Prayer we all can use, and is a good prayer that can sustain us when we need to help other people to realize that some servivors who need our helping hand need us. Keeping an Open heart is one of the golden Rules. Mankind who are negatively commenting with their greed, or lack of simpathy are one who are not using the full Positive potential of the Brains, Common sense, and Gods 12 Facets of the Law that should be the Knotted Rope of Rescue that helps any person be able to climb out of dispear, danger, disasters, and any of Lifes Stresses. When People begin to realize that Prayer to God Almighty needs to be backed up with action, and Gifts that one is able to give without hurting themselves in the process. Then Prayers are answered.

  • Bonnie

    I hope Rabbi Brad sent this prayer to those two doom saying idiots, Pat Robertson and Newt Gingrich. They could both use a refresher course in what serving the greater good and compassionate humanity really means.

  • g

    Beautiful prayer..What prayer in this situation says to me… is that the merciful Almighty will work in this situation to bring healing..how?? Maybe there will be some unexplained ‘miracales’ such as people given up for dead , suddenly are delivered unto life etc.
    But the real indication of God’s mercy as reflected in the prayers for the victims is the fact that there are people such as Chief Rabbi Sacks whose hearts and minds are quick to respond in mercy and love and help to these grave situations. It tells me that though many of us are seemingly consumed by our own lives and struggles, that God’s Spirit indeed dwells in many and that in a heartbeat many are quickened by their love and sense of being our brother’s keepers to rise to the occasion and bring relief and life into this situation of great and horrible disaster. Bless the Name of the Almighty who has people in all faiths and backrounds who instead of heaping invective on the poor and hurt, bring healing and help.
    This beautiful prayer tells me , that God is present in His creation for good and for healing.
    May the Merciful One’s children bring great blessing and healing to this terrible wound to human life.

  • Your Name

    From a distance,God is watching us,and because He loves His people,surely,He will never forsake or abandon them/us.
    thanks.

  • Cully

    Amen
    and when our words fail, let our tears, as we look upon this great loss and pain, be are our most fervent prayers.
    Amen

  • Cassie

    Bonnie, I don’t recall Mr. Gingrich making any sort of negative commets regarding Hati…I think you are referring to statements made by radio talk-show host, Rush Limbaugh.

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    Thanks for the hat tip Brad. I’m not sure what the title “nabbi” means, but that’s how I’m listed in your categories for this post. Perhaps it’s a combo of the titles Navi and Rabbi, in which case… I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!

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