Future Prayer | Reconstructing Judaism
D'var Torah (Yom Kippur)

Future Prayer

D'var Torah

Isaiah 57:14-58:14

Are these the words for the future prayer not yet in our mahzor, the one all the generations after us will recite?

We heard the prophet say: “Prepare, prepare the road - clear away the stumbling blocks.” But instead, we have built walls across the roads to keep out those we fear.

We heard the prophet say: “Cry from the throat, do not relent, raise up your voices like a shofar.” But in our fear, we closed our eyes to injustice and stood by silently to allow murder to be done in our names. We clenched our fists to strike. We cheered the clenching of fists. We oppressed.

The prophet said: “The wicked are like a troubled sea and cannot be at peace.” But we roiled the waters until we are nearly drowning. In our fear, we have been wicked, and for us there is no peace. We choose sides and close our ears to the cries of those we do not want to hear. We temporize. We justify. We choose death, not life.

We heard the prophet say: “Loosen the chains of wickedness” but we only bind them tighter. “Free all who are oppressed” but we support oppression.

>When God asked us where we were, we dare not call out “hineni - here I am.” We stand in darkness and we stand for darkness.

My prayer is that we not leave this legacy to our children. My prayer is that for these days of awe, we take a moral stand against violence on all sides, that we condemn those who commit violent acts, that though we might understand why people commit violence, we refuse to use that understanding to justify and condone violence. My prayer is that we lend our support to those who work for peace.

My prayer for this period of awe is that each have the courage to be the people our tradition calls us to be. My prayer is that we answer to the call: to banish the menacing hand, to let our light shine in darkness, to be the repairer of bridges, the restorer of roads. Only then can the light burst forth, the waters of healing flourish, and righteousness travel before us.

Yom Kippur

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