In Our Virtual Mishkan, splansky

Prayers for the Depleted

The burdens we carry continue to increase.  How much more can we carry?  Shabbat is coming just in time to ease our burdens and uplift our spirits.  We enter into Shabbat with open and broken hearts.  Let us take in prayer and song; let us be buoyed by the good company of family and congregation; let our spirits be elevated by words of Torah learning and new insight from special guests.

In our readiness to learn about pervasive and persistent racial injustices in this good country, we welcome The Reverend Doctor Anthony Bailey for tonight’s “Sermon in Conversation” and our own former Director of Community Engagement, Tema Smith, for tomorrow’s “Kiddush and Conversation”.  Tema is a leading voice in North America on Judaism and race. On Monday evening all are welcome for an evening co-sponsored by The Toronto Board of Rabbis, so we can listen and learn from Jews of Colour about their experiences in our local Jewish community.

The Birkat Shalom, our daily prayer for peace includes this poetic translation from the old Union Prayerbook.  Many congregants know it by heart from days gone by.  It rings as true today as it ever did.  I share it with you now so you might read it as a meditation tonight before lighting your Shabbat candles.

Grant us peace, Your most precious gift, O Eternal Source of peace, and give us the will to proclaim its message to all the peoples of the earth.  Bless our country, that it may ever be a stronghold of peace, and its advocate among the nations.  May contentment reign within its borders, health and happiness within its homes.  Strengthen the bonds of friendship among the inhabitants of all lands, and may the love of every name hallow every home and every heart. 

Praised are You, Adonai, who blesses Your People with peace.

One source of comfort for me this week is this beautiful melody from Jerusalem.  “Eil na Refa na La” is the Torah’s shortest and most effective prayer.  Moses offered up this palindrome of a prayer to ask God to heal his sister Miriam.  And she was healed.  This video is filmed in the Hadassah Hospital, filled with healers of all kinds – the medical teams, the loving visitors, and the courageous patients themselves who are determined to work for their own health.  Our world is aching and weakened by many ailments today.  Eil na Refa na La!  Please God, please heal her and she will be healed.

Enjoy the melody, the glimpses of the beauty of Jerusalem, and the many faces and languages of her inhabitants.  Receive the healing power of its message and let Shabbat’s rest restore us for the week ahead when we get back to work.

Shabbat Shalom.  Be strong and of good courage. (Joshua 1:6)

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