We here in my area of The Great White North were also bombarded by the superstorm, but the aftereffects are not nearly to the extent of what our neighbours along the American Eastern Seaboard are attempting to deal with. We all are counting ourselves amongst the very fortunate as we clear our yards of debris all the while knowing that the damage to both life and property could have taken a far greater toll. We mourn with our friends who live in the direct path of Sandy's wrath, and we struggle to find meaningful ways to help. A donation to the Red Cross is so vital, and yet it seems like so very little.
All week I have struggled with the dichotomy that exists between the sense of relief that I feel for my own good fortune and the absolute helplessness I experience for those left in tatters. I have schizophrenically alternated between emotions of elation while marvelling at the leadership and cooperation being displayed by so many, and that of utter despair while sadly viewing those crying out in desperation. And while I am a firm believer that action must come first in these situations, I am never so self-centred as to believe that a prayer or two couldn't help the fallen. In my mind, prayers are the most personal of inspirational quotes. It is why I was so comforted when I received the following from the Union for Reform Judaism yesterday.
"We pray that those who suffer find comfort through their faith in You and through the loving kindness of those emergency workers and volunteers who have come to their aid.
We pray that those who have lost so much have the fortitude to rebuild their lives. Let us seek out ways to help them build their tents anew and make of them, once again, havens of healing and hospitality. May all who have been battered by this storm discover many hearts and hands open to them. None of us stands alone in times of trouble.
Baruch Atah, Adonai, magein Avraham v’ezrat Sarah.
Blessed are You, Adonai, shield of Abraham, help of Sarah.
Baruch Atah Adonai, ozer Yisrael b’guvrah:
Blessed are You, Adonai. You are the Source of our strength."
Allow me to add one more of my own.
Blessed are You Adonai, who has shown us the power of nature. May we never again forget the delicate balance of the universe and our place within it.
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha-Olam, Shenatan lanu hizdamnut l’takein et ha olam.
Blessed are You, Adonai, our God, Ruler of the universe, for giving us the opportunity to mend the world.
Shabbat Shalom to all who observe.