Faith Commons

by Alice Shalvi

O God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, Creator of humankind and all living things, grant me the power to feel as others feel, the power to listen and to hear, to behold and truly see, to touch and be touched. 

Keep fresh within me the memory of my own suffering and the suffering of klal yisrael (the whole community of Israel), not in order to stimulate eternal paranoia, but rather that I may better understand the suffering of strangers; and may that understanding lead me to do everything in my power to alleviate and to prevent such suffering.

When I see streams of refugees bearing the pathetic belongings they have salvaged from ruined homes, may I recall the wanderings of the people of Israel and may I vow never to be the cause of loss and homelessness. 

Enable me to be like Yourself- to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, tend the sick, comfort the bereaved. Guide me in the ways of tikkun olam, of mending the world. As I delight in a loving marriage of true minds, may I never forget the thousands of women battered and beaten by their spouses. As I rejoice in the bliss of my children and grandchildren, may I never forget the pleading eyes and swollen bellies of starving infants deprived of physical and emotional nourishment. May my women’s capacity for concern, compassion, and caring never be dulled by complacency or personal contentment. May my feelings always lead me to act.

Grant me the wisdom to discern what is right and what is wrong and inspire me with the courage to speak out whenever I see injustice, without shame or fear of personal retribution. Enable me to feel pity even for my enemies. Grant me the will and the ability to be a peacemaker, so that the day may soon come when all people will live in friendship and Your tabernacle of peace will be spread over all the dwellers on earth. Amen,. 

God and God of our ancestors, forgive me of my sins of pride and conceit, my obtuseness to the needs, desires, and ambitions of others, my lack of empathy, my ignorance and obliviousness to all that is going on in the world save what is directly related to my own experience and that of the Jewish people. Forgive us our arrogance and narrowness of vision; forgive us our readiness to inflict pain on those who have hurt us. Make us whole, make us holy. 

Alice Shalvi

Found in Yom Kippur Readings: Inspiration, Information and Contemplation, Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins, Ed.