בסיעתא דשמיא

כעבור סופה | After the Storm: A Prayer to Choose Life by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

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Hebrew English

הַעִידֹתִי בָכֶם הַיּוֹם אֶת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת הָאָרֶץ
הַחַיִּים וְהַמָּוֶת נָתַתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ הַבְּרָכָה וְהַקְּלָלָה
וּבָחַרְתָּ בַּחַיִּים לְמַעַן תִּחְיֶה אַתָּה וְזַרְעֶךָ.‏
“I call on the skies and the land to witness against you today:
Life and death I have put before you, the blessing and the curse.
And so choose life, in order that you will live, you and your seed.”[1]Deuteronomy 30:19

אָדוֹן הָעוֹלָם, אֶדֶן הָעוֹלָם, | רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם,
אַתָּה צִוִּיתָנוּ ״וּבָחַרְתָּ בַּחַיִּים״ (דברים ל:יט),
וּבְנֵי דוֹרֵנוּ
אֵינֵנוּ מַבְחִינִים בִּבְחִירַת הַחַיִּים.
וְכֻלָּנוּ אַחֲרָאִים
גַם בַּעַל כּוֹרְחֵנוּ גַם מִבְּחִירַתֵנוּ
לְהַפְרַעַָת הַאַקְלִים
שֶׁסָבִיר לְהַגְדִיל הַסְּעָרָה הַקָּטְלָנִית הַזֹּאת,
וּכְמוֹ כֵן אַחֲרָאִים וּלְרַפֹּאתוֹ.
Master of the Universe | Foundation of the Universe
You commanded us, Choose life,[2]Deuteronomy 30:19
but the people of our generation
cannot discern how to choose life.
We are all of us responsible,
whether by necessity or by our choices,
for the disruption of the climate
that has intensified this deadly storm,
and so we are responsible for its healing.

מְבַקְּשִׁים אֲנַחְנוּ אֶת הַכֹּחַ
לְקַבֵּל אַחֲרָיוּת עָלֵינוּ עַתָּה
לַעֲזוֹר לְאֵלוּ שֶׁנִפְגָעִים עַל יְדֵי הַסְּעָרָה,
וּלְהִמָשֵׁך לַעֲזוֹר
לְעוּמַת הַסְּעָרוֹת הַבָּאוֹת,
וְלִתְּמוֹךְ בְּאֵלוּ שֶׁמִּצְטָרְפִים
בַּעֲבוֹדוֹת הַהַצָּלָה וְהַסְעַד
וּלְחַבֵּר אִתָּם.
וְאָנוּ מִתְּפַּלְּלִים בְּעַד כָּל הַבְּרוּאִים
הַנִזְקָקִים וְחֲשׁוּפִים
״כַּעֲבוֹר סוּפָה״, (משלי י:כה חלק)
נָא לְהוֹשִׁיעֵם.
We seek the strength
to accept our responsibility now
to help those harmed by the storm,
and to persist in helping
in the face of coming storms,
to support all those engaged
in rescue and relief work,
and to join with them.
And we pray for all the creatures
who are in need and exposed
with the passage of the storm:,[3]Proverbs 10:25 partial
please save them.

״כִּי אַתָּה ״הַיֹּסֵר גוֹיִים
וְ״הַמְלַמֵּד אָדָם דַּעַת״ (תהלים צד:י)
נָא לְלַמְּדֵנוּ אֶת הַדֶרֶךְ קָדִימָה
לָקַחַת אַחֲרָיוּת זֶה אֶל זֶה
וְאַחֲרָיוּת עַל עַתִּיד הָעוֹלָם הַנִּפְלָא
עַל יְדֵי חָזוֹן וְלֹא עַל יְדֵי אָסוֹן.
עֲזוֹר לָנוּ לִבְחוֹר בְּדֶרֶךְ הַחַיִּים
מְיוּסָד עַל הַצֶדֶק, כִּי ״צַדִּיק יְסוֹד עוֹלָם״ (משלי י:כה חלק),
לְמַעַן יִתְּקַיֵּם
בָּנוּ לִבְנֵינוּ
וּלִבְנֵי בָּנֵינוּ הַכָּתוּב,
״בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה בָּעִיר
וּבָרוּךְ אַתָּה בַּשָּׂדֶה״, (דברים כח:ג),
שֶּׁלֹא נֶאֱבָד ״מְהֵרָה
מֵעַל הָאָרֶץ הַטֹּבָה״. (דברים יא:יז)
For You are the One who reproves nations
and who teaches humanity knowledge[4]Cf. Psalms 94:10 —
please teach us the path forward
to take responsibility for each other
and for the future of this wondrous planet
through vision and not through calamity.
Help us choose a way of life
rooted in justice, for the just establish the world,[5]Proverbs 10:25 partial
so that the promise may be upheld
through us for our children
and our children’s children,
Blessed will you be in the city,
blessed will you be in the field
,[6]Deuteronomy 28:3 
so that we will not be lost quickly
from off the good earth
.[7]Deuteronomy 11:17

Transliteration

Adon ha’olam, eden ha’olam | Ribono shel olam, atah tsivitanu “uvacharta bachayyim”, uv’nei doreinu eineinu mavchinim biv’chirat hachayyim. V’kulanu achrai’im, gam ba’al korcheinu gam mib’chirateinu l’hafra’at ha’aklim shesavir l’hagdil ha’s’ara hakat’lanit hazot, ukh’mo khen achrai’im l’rapo’to.

M’vakshim anachnu et hakoach l’kabel ha’achrayut aleinu atah la’azor l’eilu shenifga’im al y’dei ha-s’arah, ul’himasheikh la’azor l’umat ha-s’arot haba’ot, v’litmokh b’eilu shemits’tarfim ba’avodot hahatsalah v’has’ad ul’chaber itam. Va’anu mitpal’lim ba’ad kol hab’ru’im haniz’kakim v’chashufim “ka’avur sufah”, na l’hoshi’eim.

Ki atah hayoseir goyim vha-m’lamed adam da’at — Ki atah “hayoseir goyim v’ham’lamed adam da’at” — Na l’lamdeinu et haderekh kadimah lakachat achraiyut zeh el zeh v’al atid ha’olom hanifla’ al y’dei chazon v’lo al y’dei ason. Azor lanu liv’chor b’derekh hachayyim m’yusad al hatsedek, ki tsadik y’sod olam, l’ma’an yitkayeim banu liv’neinu v’livnei baneinu hakatuv, “Barukh atah ba’ir, uvarukh atah b’sadeh” shelo ne’evad “m’heirah mei’al ha’arets hatovah”.


The prayers for hurricane victims that are circulating through the Open Siddur Project and elsewhere are poignant and heartfelt, but they don’t speak an important piece of the truth that we need to hear. What about our collective responsibility for climate disruption that undoubtedly increases the harm caused by this and every major storm? And what about the Deuteronomic promise that God brings us recompense for our actions davka through the weather? Here’s an attempt at a prayer that incorporates a deeper understanding of our responsibility. For the final version of this prayer, I started with an anonymous Hebrew translation of my original English prayer, then I tweaked it and wove in scriptural references, and retranslated it back into English. -Rabbi David Seidenberg.

For a longer essay on the concerns inspiring the composition of this prayer, please read Rabbi Seidenberg’s essay “After the Storm: How Should we Pray?,” at The Times of Israel.

Aharon Varady, Baruch Sienna, and Hinda Labovitz all assisted in helping to prepare this prayer on the Open Siddur Project Facebook discussion group.

Rabbi Seidenberg wishes to remind everyone seeking prayers for the victims of this seasonal hurricane, that we are not just dealing with Harvey but with monsoon floods covering a third of Bangladesh, where over 1200 have already died – far worse than our hurricane here.

Download After-the-Storm-A-Prayer-to-Choose-Live-David-Seidenberg-neohasid.org-2018.pdf (PDF, 94KB)

Download the same text albeit with the divine invocation Adon/Aden, rather than Ribono Shel Olam (above).

Notes   [ + ]

1, 2. Deuteronomy 30:19
3, 5. Proverbs 10:25 partial
4. Cf. Psalms 94:10
6. Deuteronomy 28:3
7. Deuteronomy 11:17

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