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September 3, 2015 | 19th Elul 5775

Prayers for the Victims of the Haiti Earthquake

May be read following the Torah reading and/or prior to the Mishebeirach blessing on Shabbat.

On this Shabbat, we continue telling the saga of our people's Exodus from Egypt, our journey from slavery to freedom, from servitude to covenant. We recall that moment of deliverance at the Sea of Reeds when we miraculously passed through the waters, yet witnessed the watery death of others. Rather than rejoice at our own survival, we are taught to hear the cries of the victims; God silenced the angels who would celebrate the survival of the Israelites, proclaiming "The work of My hands is drowning in the sea."

As we gather this Shabbat, we remember the loss of tens of thousands of God's children killed in the Haitian Earthquake. We pray that the survivors in need of healing might find strength and comfort. We pray that those in search of missing loved ones will be sustained with courage and hope. We pray that those who have lost their homes and livelihoods will have the fortitude to rebuild their lives. Loving and gracious God, who created the earth in all its fullness, grant them comfort, healing and peace. Be their help, in this, their time of need.

As it is written:

 here was a great and mighty wind, splitting mountains and shattering rocks by the power of Adonai; but Adonai was not in the wind.  After the wind--an earthquake; but Adonai was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake--fire; but Adonai was not in the fire.  And after the fire--a still, small voice.   (I Kings 19:11-12)

May we be the voice that brings comfort and hope in the midst of the storm. 

Adapted by Rabbi Shawn Zevit from a prayer by Bradley Burston, Israel News  

A prayer for the people of Haiti,
who, on a good day,
must take heroic measures
just to wake the next,
And who must now find a way
to live through the end of the world:

Compassionate One
whose relief work is beyond our capabilities
Breathe life today into those buried alive
and strengthen the response capacity
of Your relief workers in this world
To hear those who have yet to be saved,
To hear those who have been saved
but whose limbs and lives are crushed,
To hear those who pray
For those who can no longer pray for themselves.

Source of Speech, embedded in the language of love
Fortify the souls of those who call out now in rescue
Life Force, expressed in the language of loss
Send strength to those who, with their last strength
Now seek nothing more than finding loved ones

A prayer for the people of Haiti,
who on this day
take heroic measures
just to survive,
And with the world's help,
Will find a way
to live into
an new world,
Though one rebuilt
on the rubble of unfathomable loss.

Source of Response to need
Be the blessing
Of prayers realized.

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