Rabbi Lisa’s Prayer for Our Country: January 2019


We enter a new year, a new Congress,

On our home fronts
Our teachers call for proper treatment
For them, for their students, for their parents
For the health of public schools
For the well being of our nation

And just as in our nation’s capital,
There is
A Standoff
A walking away
A public calling out
When there should be
Could be
Might yet be?
A standing together
A walking toward
A public call for progress, for peace, for reconciliation

In Va’era Pharoah sees himself as God’s equal
His magicians as powerful as Moses and Aaron
And in that contest the people are thrown away
First the Israelites, suffering under cruel bondage
Then Pharoah’s own people — suffering from stubbornness – Pharoah’s and God’s

My, how the times have changed — not
Cruelty, whim, arrogance,

And we return to old tales well told
To learn what is happening
And what steps to take again
Which way to turn, toward whom, with whom

Just days into a new year,
And a government shutdown,
As another women’s march,
And a teacher’s strike loom on the horizon,

we might do well to remember this Shabbat what our teacher Michael Walzer taught us a few decades ago already, about why it is that Jews keep this story of the Exodus from Egypt ever present in our minds and hearts:

“Standing on the parted shores, we still believe what we were taught before ever we stood at Sinai’s foot; that wherever we go, it is eternally Egypt; that there is a better place, a promised land; that the winding way to that promise passes through the wilderness. That there is no way to get from here to there except by joining hands, and marching together.”

by Michael Walzer, adapted from Exodus, as found in Mishkan T’filah