December 5, 2023 -
A Prayer for Our Nation In the Aftermath of the Deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile & Five Police Officers in Dallas – the week of July 3-9, 2016 – Rabbi Robert Nosanchuk, Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple
Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav said:
Architect of the world, author of her story, grant me the courage to participate in the world’s design, to join in the unfolding of her story. How I want to share in the responsibility of this world- to pray for her welfare, to care for her needs, to safeguard her treasure, to work for her rectification.
(The Gentle Weapon: Prayers for Everyday and Not-So-Everyday Moments Inspired by Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav, Jewish Lights Publishing, 2014, p. 99)
These words call to us tonight, as we share responsibility for a chaotic and brutal and week in our natIon and our world. Was it not three weeks ago that we gathered to acknowledge the most destructive massacre our nation had yet seen?
Tonight as we pray, the horror of Orlando is still smoldering among us.
Tonight as we pray, hatred that targets LGBT citizens, minorities, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, and so many others feels so very palpable in our discourse.
Tonight as we pray, the treasures of our world seem far beyond what we could ever hope to see.
Tonight as we pray, our brothers and sisters in the black community ache so deeply, knowing the pain of a broken system that has too often executed their children, your children O God. This week the cities might have been Baton Rouge and St. Paul but no city feels safe, no Cleveland immune, no Chicago unscathed, no LA untouched by the horror of realizing how little black lives seem to matter until they are photographed, booked, and numbered in a cell
Tonight as we pray, our brothers and sisters in law enforcement, so many of whom seek to protect us and hold us from harm, so many in Dallas who have now been ambushed by those who would respond to violence, so much violence, only with more provocation, rage and murder.
Tonight as we pray, it is hard to believe that our prayers will be heard. It is hard to believe that the one who has heard us pray for strength before will give us strength now… And yet pray we must.
Tonight we pray for peace, abundant peace, shalom rav, peace that gives our nation hope, peace that gives our leaders resolve.
Source of life and peace– you are what we need now. We beg of you– fill our hands with your blessing, fill our lives with courage, We need the courage for which Nachman of Bratslav prayed– courage to participate in the world’s design, courage to join in the unfolding of her story.
May her story lead us to shalom rav, abundant peace, which we so desperately need.