A Prayer for Peace
“Let us live in peace, God.
Let children live in peace, in homes free from brutality and abuse.
Let them go to school in peace, free from violence and fear.
Let them play in peace, God, in safe parks, in safe neighborhoods; watch over them.
Let husbands and wives love in peace, in marriages free from cruelty.
Let men and women go to work in peace, with no fears of terror or bloodshed.
Let us travel in peace; protect us, God, in the air, on the seas, along whatever road we take.
Let nations dwell together in peace, without the threat of war hovering over them.
Help us, God. Teach all people of all races and faiths in all the countries all over the world to believe that the peace
that seems so far off is in fact within our reach.
Let us all live in peace, God. And let us say, Amen.
—–Rabbi Naomi Levy
“There is no creature whom the Blessed Holy One rejects.
God accepts all.
The gates are open at every hour.
All who wish to enter may enter.
Therefore it is written in Scripture:
” My doors I open to the wanderer” (Job 31:32)
Meaning the Blessed Holy One accepts all creatures as one. (Exodus Rabbah 19:4)
How many of us perform our small acts of kindness, charity and goodness for the wrong reasons? We expect a kind deed to be rewarded by a kind fate, to preserve us from trouble and misfortune. Goodness does not confer on us a life bereft of trials and tribulations. It does not prevent sadness or tragedy.
We are rewarded for our good deeds. Indeed, God honors the unseen kindness much more than the one done for an audience. There is a reward just not the one that humans expect. So look at your intentions, don’t assist someone just because you expect a reward.
We are rewarded not for our good deeds, but by these deeds. The greatest compensation is that we have done a kindness. This is what we can do to put peace within us and to allow it to spread out in each of our circles of friends and families. No Nobel Peace Prize, but to know that we have grown as a person and that we have elevated the meaning of our lives. One must do right and avoid wrong because we are human and we owe our humanity to seek perfection.
The reality of war is quite alarming but it is important for us to understand the horror of war and the blessings of peace.
Death Tolls Of Americans through Viet Nam
World War I——116,700
World War II——408,000
Total of American military personnel killed is 1,237,700
A note of remembrance is that during WWII, in Poland alone, the Nazis murdered 2,800,000 Jews. And later on the Nazis murdered 3,200,000 more Jews. When I was a little girl, my Croatian grandfather, who had fled to America when the communists took power, talked a lot to me about the importance of never forgetting that innocent people die during wars. He told me if we forget that we are all humans, created equal, then the wars will continue. He gave me a black and white book of what the Allies found in the camps. I don’t have the book anymore but the images have been burned upon my mind.
War is not a game. Once you fire that bullet you can’t take it back. God will not take it back. You watch the spirit leave the vessel it has been in during this journey on this plane. Our military staff come home with difficult psychological problems such as PTSD. I believe before we ask someone to do that, we had better be saving many innocent lives that would have otherwise perished.
All of the traditional faiths down through history, have always combined service to God and humankind with service to self. Personal growth and community outreach and service are part of what makes us human and not animals.
Each day of our lives is a gift we are given, whether we have earned it or not. We are loved by the Divinity of the Universe.
“The sun goes down, the shadows rise,
The day of God is near its close
Lord, crown our work before the night:
At eventide let there be light.”
– From Yom Kippur Readings, edited by Rabbi Dov Perets Elkins
May we be mindful each day that we are loved by the Universe whether we deserve or appreciate it at all, it is never ending and all encompassing every human being. Even those who have been criminals and murderers still the spark of Divinity lay deeply inside. It is never put out until the end of that soul’s journey. So may we live in harmony and peace for ourselves, for our communities and our countries.