Eloheinu velohei avoteinu v'imoteinu, Our God and God of our fathers and mothers , The flood waters came, wreaking havoc upon our cities, our homes, our rescue workers, our sense of security, And we turn to You for comfort and support. Help us to differentiate between floods of destruction and down-pouring of Your love and comfort.
We know that waters can destroy. In a world decimated many times before, having been submerged in waters from the Florida hurricanes, the Asian tsunami, and ... each of Biblical proportions, we remember the destructive abilities of these flood waters.
Recalling now that the world, though filled with Your Glory, is not equal to Your flawlessness, we strive desperately, sometimes without success, to move beyond the impulse to blame You. Keep us far from apocalyptic thoughts, for we know that You ask us to care for each other, an awesome responsibility.
We also know that we can seek You in the waters. We recall Your Loving Hand, guiding us in our infancy:
From a barren rock, You brought forth water to quench our thirst, In the midst of a journey through the wilderness, You showed Miriam a myriad of wells which healed our parched throats, You guided us through Yam Suf , the Red Sea, moving us past destruction toward new life and new beginnings. Through Your love, we found our way.
Be with us now, during these deluged days.
Draw us close to those harmed by these waters, hearing their cries, responding to their needs. Lead us to support those who will fix the cities, care for the displaced, who bring healing to those suffering. Though our attention spans seem so short, may we be slow to forget those who were in danger.
Please bring a warm wind and hot sun from the heavenly realms to help dry up the flood waters.
And may we all embrace at least one lesson spoken aloud by so many who -- facing the floods -- rushed to pack up their valuables:
That memories of love and of time spent with family and friends are priceless, holy and sacred. This can never be taken away. As we rush to meet the challenge of living in this imperfect world of ours, May we slow down enough to cherish those who are truly valuable -- kadosh /holy -- to us.
Baruch Ata Adonai, Hamavdil bein kodesh l'chol. Blessed are You, O God, who differentiates between the truly Valuable and everything else.
Rabbi Paul J. Kipnes , Congregation Or Ami, Calabasas, CA
For information on what you can do to help, visit the Union for Reform Judaism's Hurricane Relief page.
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