So far 2,200 missiles have been fired at Israel in the past 10 days! (figures released today.)
A Prayer For Israel
In the light of the current war, we want to daven (to pray) for the situation in Israel. We feel an intense desire to say something to God. But frequently we simply do not know WHAT to say. Rather than add extra teffilot (prayers) here are some recommendations of how to insert new Kavanna (direction, thoughts) into our daily Amida – our most focused prayer.
The Amida consists of 19 Berachot (blessings), each with a "theme." The idea is to think of ideas that tie in and echo each of the berachot that we recite:
1. PROTECTION (SHIELD OF AVRAHAM)
All the phrases here relate to God as "help, saviour, protector." We look to Avraham who wandered from land to land powerless, and who also had to wage war to save his captured relative as a paradigm in asking for God's help and protection.
2. GOD'S STRENGTH
The phrases here deal with God's power as He who gives, sustains and takes life. We can praise God for the gift of life, and think of God as He who "supports those who are falling, heals the sick, and frees prisoners" - asking God to invoke these qualities in our present reality.
God is holy and we are holy because we praise God. Holiness is what we would like to see in this world, even though it sometimes appears elusive.
The Torah tells us that the war-camp should be a place of Holiness – Devarim 23:15. We achieve this goal by restraining negative impulses and moral degradations that can emerge in war-time. In our time Tzahal (IDF) insists that its army adopt a high moral code (Tohar Neshek). In this manner we are fulfilling a Divine mandate.
May God give intuition, vision, clear-thinking, far-sightedness, strategy, intelligence to our troops in combat, strategists and generals.
May we return to Torah and Jewish Values.
We pray that the Jewish People return to one another – feelings and acts of mutual respect and honour rather than suspicion and harshness. That we fulfill our obligations to our fellow man. Likewise that we fill our lives with the Jewish actions that connect us to God: Shabbat, Kashrut, Jewish Learning, honesty, integrity etc.
"If God keeps a strict account of our sins, who ever has a right to exist?" (Tehillim 130) and so let us ask that God forgives us for our guilty acts, and sees us as worthy of mercy.
7. FREEDOM FROM OPPRESSION
"See our distress, and fight our fight…" – this one is pretty easy!
"May you save us QUICKLY!" – May this war not become a protracted affair. May our armed forces be successful in the shortest possible time.
For the wounded, for the injured soldiers, for the emotional traumas, etc.
That there should be a "blessing on the land" - that the war should create neither poverty, nor cause an economic crisis.
10. INGATHERING OF EXILES
This week Nefesh Bnefesh brought another 300 Olim! The Jewish people are coming home from all over the world. Israel is a realisation of the words of the prophets who spoke of a return from the 4 corners of the globe. There is such an important future in the making here!
But I also think about the captured soldiers as I say "sound the Shofar to our freedom" and "gather the lost ones of Israel."
11. JUSTICE AND JUDGES
May our leaders and politicians make principled and wise decisions.
War can at times induce a warped sense of morality and a cheapened value to life and suffering. May our values and human sensitivities remain strong.
12. BREAKING OUR ENEMIES AND OBLITERATING EVIL
Does the name Nasrallah or Ahaminajad come to mind?!
13. A SUPPORT FOR THE RIGHTEOUS
May God be an emotional support to all those in bomb-shelters, to all those in fear, to the parents of soldiers to the fighters themselves. May God be their courage and may He calm their fears. May God keep the Israeli population tenacious and strong.
May God continue to build Jerusalem and help it flourish. May Jerusalem become a paradigm of justice, peace and Godliness. May we move forward to an era of redemption in which we feel God's Shechina (presence) in Yerushalayim.
15. GOVERNMENT AND SALVATION
We yearn for the Mashiach who will embody the appropriate fusion of government and spirituality. We pray for a time in which God will save and protect the entire Jewish nation from wars, and any form of attack.
16. LISTEN TO OUR PRAYERS
So many Jews around the world are praying for Israel, So many Jews love this little country. We have so many hopes and dreams, so many loved ones. God, please accept our heartfelt prayer!
17. RETZEI – GOD'S ACCEPTANCE OF OUR PRAYERS
May God respond to our prayers and give us ongoing opportunity to connect with Him, allowing us an open channel of communication with Him at all times.
We thank God for our lives, for our health, for our parents and children.
We thank God for Medinat Yisrael which instills Jewish meaning and pride throughout the Jewish Globe, and has created Jewish opportunities that we would not have dreamed of 100 years ago.