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Between the Fires: A Kavvanah for Lighting Candles of Commitment, by Rabbi Arthur Waskow (the Shalom Center)

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We are the generation that stands
between the fires:
Behind us the flame and smoke
that rose from Auschwitz and from Hiroshima;
From the burning forests of the Amazon,
From the hottest years of human history
that bring upon us
Melted ice fields, Flooded cities, Scorching droughts.
Before us the nightmare of a Flood of Fire,
The heat and smoke that could consume all Earth.

“Here! The day is coming
That will flame like a furnace, “
Says the Infinite YHWH / Yahhhh,
The Breath of Life —
when all the arrogant, all evil-doers,
root and branch,
will like straw be burnt to ashes.
Yet for those of you who revere My Name,
Yes! My Name, Yahhhh, the Interbreath of Life!
a sun of justice will arise
with healing in its wings / rays. . . .

“Here! Before the coming
of the great and awesome day
of YHWH/ the Breath of Life,
I will send you the Prophet Elijah
to turn the hearts of parents to their children
and the hearts of children to their parents,
lest I come and smite the earth with utter destruction.”[1] Malachi 3:20-21 

Here! we ourselves are coming
Before the great and terrible day
of smiting Earth —
For we ourselves shall turn the hearts
Of parents to their children
And the hearts of children to their parents
So that this day of smiting
Does not fall upon us.”[2] Malachi 3:23-24 

It is our task to make from fire not an all-consuming blaze
But the light in which we see each other fully.
All of us different, All of us bearing
One Spark.

We light these fires to see more clearly
That the earth and all who live as part of it
Are not for burning.
We light these fires to see more clearly
The rainbow in our many-colored faces.

Blessed is the One within the many.
Blessed are the many who make One.

[Light candles of commitment]

“Between the Fires: A Prayer for lighting Candles of Commitment” was composed by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, drawing on traditional midrash about the danger of a Flood of Fire, and the passage from Malachi. Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org) was inspired to compose a prayer based on this on this one for the ten day period between the day of the flood (ל״ב בעומר) and the day of the rainbow (מ״ב בעומר) during the Sefirat HaOmer, A prayer between the Fires (between the 32nd and the 42nd day of the Omer).


1 Malachi 3:20-21
2 Malachi 3:23-24

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