There is a Jewish story about a child who went to the synagogue to pray. He did not know the words of the traditional prayers, so he sat down in the back and started to sing the alphabet. After a few minutes, the adults of the synagogue asked him: “Why are you singing the alphabet?”
The boy explained, “I don’t know the prayers and I want to pray. I want to thank God for my animals and the water, for the warmth of the sun, the moon and the stars that watch over me. So, I am reciting the alphabet. I know that God can put the letters in the correct order to make the prayers.”
This child reminds us, young and old, that we don’t need to ONLY say certain prayers. The Creator of the Universe hears and welcomes ALL of our prayers. We CAN all talk to God.
Take a moment to think about what you are thankful for. You can also ask questions, wonder and share all of our feelings with God. During this difficult time, we are living in different cities and towns and villages around the world but many of us share the similar feelings – we have fears, uncertainty, and worries.
Our faiths give us strength in these days and we all offer prayers for healing and peace. In Judaism we pray:
Mishberach Avoteinu, Avraham, Yitzhak v’Yaakov; v’Imoteinu, Sara, Rivkah, Rachel v’Leah, May the God of our ancestors, bring healing to those all those who are sick, give comfort to their loved ones and give strength the doctors, and nurses and first responders. Adonai, heal the bodies and souls of all who are sick. Bring blessing and healing to all.
Today, I offer this prayer for all of us: Let The Rain Come
Let the rain come and renew the earth, may it wash away our fears
Let the sky be filled with rainbows, may this symbol of hope welcome a better tomorrow
Let the sunshine warm our faces, may it illuminate our hearts.
Let us see all the people of the earth as one human family, may we feel connected around the earth.
Let us listen to the joy and sadness in one another’s hearts, may we help heal together.
Let us continue to fill our world with love and compassion, may we build a brighter future for everyone.
In the words of the Psalmist, “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart Be acceptable to You, O God, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14)
Rabbi Diana Gerson,
Associate Executive Vice President, The New York Board of Rabbis