In my Rabbi's sermon this week, he spoke beautifully about the Prayer for Peace. We have read it often to ourselves and out loud in services many times. As with many poems, they come alive once we take some time to consider the words and their purpose. Yesterday, as I listened to the Rabbi's words, I felt that I was hearing Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav for the first time. Perhaps, my recent return from my Israel and London vacation made me more open to hearing the thunderous clap of the words. Perhaps, the attack on Boston which is still on my heart allows me to feel the words rather than simply hear them. Or maybe the Rabbi's heartfelt passion for the words is what made them come alive. Whatever the reason, I left shul yesterday knowing that I had to write about it.
May we see the day when war and bloodshed cease,
when a great peace will embrace the whole world.
Then nation will not threaten nation,
and mankind will not again no war.
If you say these words with the full intent of prayer, it feels possible. "A great peace will embrace the whole world" is a loving and courageous thought. Could all the evil turn to love just by having the desire of peace? If only it was this simple. But if you imagine G-d, the Almighty, your Higher Power, a great energy (whatever it is that you think is the all loving source), could touch the hearts of those in so much pain that they turn to evil, just maybe...
For all who live on earth shall realize
we have not come into being to hate or to destroy,
We have come into being
to praise, to labor, to love.
Wow! Reading these words in their beautiful simplicity gives me great hope for peace. Don't hate or destroy, this is not what we are meant to do, rather tell people that they matter, work hard and love all - this is our purpose.
Compassionate G-d, bless the leaders of all nations will the power of compassion.
Fulfill the promise conveyed in Scripture.
I will bring peace to the land,
and you shall lie down and no one shall terrify you.
I will rid the land of vicious beasts
and it shall not be ravaged by war.
In this partnership, G-d asks us to fulfill the promise in the Scripture, live life with the laws and rituals of the Jews. As we do this, G-d will bring peace, we won't be scared, evil will be gone and there will be no more war. And with all this gone, he promises that following:
Let love and justice flow like a mighty stream.
Let peace fill the earth as the waters fill the sea.
The love in these two last lines just makes me smile. I am overwhelmed by poetic strength and the simplicity in their power. Love and justice will flow like a mighty stream = with some stability and force. Let peace fill the earth...it feels like one superior embrace. Let peace fill the earth = not just one area, but the entire world. ...as the waters fill the sea = Water can fill even the deep crevices of the sea leaving no dry area. The sea is a huge body of water, not just an area, but all the seas on earth.
And let us say: Amen
This is my interpretation. I am sure that once I begin to study more about this prayer, I will write even more. I love this prayer. It sits in my heart and I am comforted and hopeful.
Amen indeed. This week, I will frame this and keep it in my office to remember the words, "We have come into being to praise, to labor, to love." Let us all try to change the world with love.
Thank you Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav for the extraordinary words and thank you to Rabbi Lucas for opening my eyes and heart to these beautiful words.