As we enter Yom Kippur, it’s clear that we’re not really in control.
health, happiness and security are subject to whim and miscalculation, the
sudden, unexpected and absurd. Life is fragile and unpredictable, especially in
the Middle East.
We have irredentist Palestinians, Egyptian Islamists,
Syrian chemical weapons, the missiles of Hezbollah, and the Iranian nuclear
project to cogently remind us of our vulnerability.
So as you settle back
in the synagogue pew or your living room armchair to contemplate life on the Day
of Atonement, you might want to pray for stability; for a predictable year. Join
me in the following prayers:
Pray for our soldiers lying in ambush opposite
Hezbollah fighters on the Lebanon border or jihadi fighters along the
Pray for quiet.
Pray for the residents of the
Golan, whose homes are minutes away from the civil war that is raging in Syria.
Pray for Israelis in Judea and Samaria, who have been outlawed by the world,
boycotted by the EU, demonized by the Israeli Left, and subjected to a rising
number of Palestinian attacks. Pray for the residents of Tel Aviv, now well
within enemy missile range.
Pray that the recent release of Palestinian
terrorists (and the planned releases) do not come back to haunt us.
that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sticks to his self-declared redlines in
the current negotiations.
Pray that Netanyahu is given the stamina and
courage to make the right, tough decisions with regard to Iran. Pray that we
don’t (again) get caught flat-footed and surprised by an enemy
Pray for Jerusalem; that it remain under Israeli control. Pray
that we have the national backbone to reassert our sovereignty in the face of
increasing Palestinian Authority encroachment throughout the city and on the
Pray for US President Barack Obama’s backbone. May the Lord
grant him one.
Pray that you never have to walk into a pediatric oncology
hospital ward. Pray for friends and strangers alike who spend their days and
nights in these tragic places. Ask G-d to keep you and your children out of
emergency and operating rooms, cardiac units and psychiatric wards.
that you do not become a victim of this country’s more than 74,000 burglaries
per annum; 28,000 traffic accident victims, including 300 fatalities; 21,000 car
thefts; 22,000 crimes against the elderly; 15,000 cases of serious violence; and
150 non-terrorist murders.
Pray that classroom violence – experienced by
one out of every three school kids – does not affect your son or daughter, and
that they get to be part of the lucky 48 percent of Israeli kids who complete
high school matriculation.
Pray for rain.
Pray for all the
incredible volunteers in our society, who run thousands of nonprofit
associations devoted to social welfare, making Israel one of the most altruistic
societies in the world. May they all be strengthened and rewarded! Pray for the
patience and humility that we need to treat our elderly parents as we would like
our children to treat us.
Pray that all the international businessmen and
government officials who visit Israel to marvel at our hi-tech triumphs will one
day be equally impressed by our moral and spiritual accomplishments.
for a “good news” media; for the emergence of Israeli journalists who davka seek
to highlight and showcase the beauty of Israel’s society.
Pray for more
amazing archeological discoveries, like the Torah scroll gold ornaments
unearthed near the Temple Mount last week, and the Hebrew inscriptions from the
Canaanite period found in the Ophel last year – which demonstrate to the world
our rootedness in this land.
Pray for all the Israelis who aren’t
praying: Those gambling the day away in Greece, cycling aimlessly through Tel
Aviv, or unfortunately, just plain turned off by this country’s noxious mix of
religion and politics. Pray for Jews who are in synagogue but who pray only for
Pray that we can tame our tendency to all-too-often harshly
judge and stereotype each other.
Pray for your own faith and spiritual
world. May it be enriched and deepened.
Pray, if you can, like Rabbi
Yishmael Ben Elisha the High Priest, who according to legend was granted an
audience with God and asked to bless the Almighty. “May it be your Divine will,”
intoned the priest, “that your mercy overcome your anger; that you treat your
children with compassion and forbearance; and that you judge them with