Trying at a Prayer

a journal and pen
I was asked to write a prayer,
and I am trying.
שְׁמַ֖ע יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל, אדוני, אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ, אדוני, אֶחָֽד
Listen Israel, Adonai, our God, is one.
(Dvarim 6:4)
שְׁמַ֖ע יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל, אֲנַחְנוּ, עַמֵינוּ, אֲנַחְנוּ, אֶחָֽד
And listen Israel, we, our people, are one.
I am not able to speak from poetry.
Today, I have only prose.
I am shocked out of imagery.
I am shocked into argument.
We, our people, are one.
Our God is One.
Mordecai Kaplan said God is the process that makes for salvation.
We say our God is change.
Change can go in so many ways.
We see the darkness set in. We may deepen into rest, and the light becomes more precious.
We wonder at the colors of the leaves, we know they will decay, and lead to new growth.
Change is in the natural rhythms of time.
A time for leaves, a time for bare branches.
A time for peace, a time for war.
(Kohelet 3:8, inverted)
לְמַ֤עַן צִיּוֹן֙ לֹ֣א אֶחֱשֶׁ֔ה וּלְמַ֥עַן יְרוּשָׁלַ֖͏ִם לֹ֣א אֶשְׁק֑וֹט
עַד־יֵצֵ֤א כַנֹּ֙גַהּ֙ צִדְקָ֔הּ וִישׁוּעָתָ֖הּ כְּלַפִּ֥יד יִבְעָֽר
(Isaiah 62:1)
For the sake of Zion I will not stay still, and for the sake of Jerusalem I will not stay quiet,
until, what emerges, is her righteousness as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch.
I am not able to speak in prayer.
Today, I have only declarations. Resolve, and weariness.
We, our people, are one.
I try to apply the categories of prayer: please, thank you, sorry.
Please – please let it not get any worse? I don’t know what to ask for. Nothing will bring us back to October 6, to the precious lives lost, to a future where we can celebrate Simchat Torah without the bloodstains of atrocity. I can’t begin to ask for what we need. There is so much to ask for.
Thank you – thank you for showing us the truth? Truths I never wanted to know, I never wanted it to be true, about the eternality of hatred. And we are eternal too. Or God is. As long as we live, so does hatred.
Sorry – sorry. I know what the prophets would want us to say. Sorry that we have sinned, that we have brought this on us ourselves. No. This I will not say. This I do not believe. I can only say sorry, that it took terror to make me see how true it is, that we, our people, are one.
I try to write a prayer.
The only thing I seem to be able to ask for is more tears. My eyes are dry.
And I know there is so much to ask for.
But I don’t know how to write a prayer anymore.
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