Expressing gratitude, affirming hope

Pesach 2020 is here.

Who would have thought that the annual liturgical reference to plagues would be ever more than a compelling reference point in the Haggadah?

We have been enjoined by God to be a holy people. “Holy” is not a descriptive term but rather a prescriptive one. We are not “holy” by virtue of who we are, but rather by virtue of what we do, how we behave toward each other and toward the world. Such holiness now requires us to meld our cause to the urgent, overarching cause of saving lives and saving the myriad life-affirming institutions of our community – including our schools – that together, imbued with and animated by the values of our people, strive to create for us the very best society possible.

Last week, we reproduced a National Prayer for Canada co-authored by Rabbi Reuven P. Bulka Archbishop Terrence Prendergast.

This week we reproduce a “Special Prayer for Healing at Our Passover Tables” written by renowned educator and scholar Dr. Erica Brown. These days, many prayers are being written by remarkable people with the suggestion to invoke additional words at this year’s Seder. The point of course, is to keep in our minds and hearts – and never lose – a sense of gratitude and hope during the Covid-19 plague of 2020.

(Dr. Brown suggests that the prayer be inserted and recited in unison after reciting the Ten Plagues in the Haggadah.)

“God, who brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, shower us today with Your wonder. Bring a swift and steady end to the plague blowing through the world like pestilence. Free and deliver us. Redeem and liberate us. Lift and carry us through this crisis.

“Shine Your enduring love on those performing daily miracles: medical personnel and teachers, grocery and delivery workers, sanitations crews and volunteers, and all of our healers and helpers. Reward their kindness with good health and a thousand blessings. We thank them for lifting and carrying us through this crisis.

“Endow us with abundant love, compassion, strength and extraordinary patience to remain kind in these trying times and find true shelter in each another. Let us lift and carry one another through this crisis.

“Bring solace and consolation to those who are grieving and to those who are alone and grant a complete healing of body and soul to those who are suffering, in the spirit of Isaiah’s wisdom, “For the Lord comforts his people, and will have compassion on his afflicted ones” (49:13).

“Hear us, O Lord, and answer us, lift us and carry us, and let us say, Amen.”

•••

Be safe. Stay safe. Be well. Stay well. Be strong. Stay strong.

Chag samayach.

GAJE

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