We are the Frontliners Now
אָבִינוּ שֶׁבַּשָׁמַיִם ,אַב הָרַחֲמִים ,הַשׁקֵף מִמְּעוֹן קָדְשׁךָ, בָּרֵךְ וְהָגֵן אֶת קְהִילָת הַגוֹלָה הָאַפרִיקָנִית, בָּאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת וּבָעוֹלָם, בֵּין שֶׁהֶם בְּנֵי בְרִית וּבֵין שׁאֵינָם בְּנֵי בְרִית. הֱיֵה נָא לָהֶם לְמַחֲסֶה וּמָעוֹז וְאַל תִּתֵּן לַמּוֹט רַגְלָם. תַצִּילֵם מִכַּף כָּל אוֹיֵב וְאוֹרֵב בַּדֶּרֶךְ וּמִכָּל מִינֵי פּוּרְעָנוּיוֹת הַמִּתְרַגְּשׁוֹת לָבוֹא לָעוֹלָם. הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא יִמָּלֵא רַחֲמִים עֲלֵיהֶם וְיוֹצִיאֵם מֵחֹשֶׁךְ וְצַלמָווֶת. מוֹסְרוֹתֵיהֶם יְנַתֵּק, וּמִמְּצוּקוֹתֵיהֶם יוֹשִׁיעֵם וִישִׁיבֵם מְהֵרָה לְחֵיק מִשְׁפְּחוֹתֵיהֶם. וְתִשְׁמַע קוֹל תַּחֲנוּנֵיהֵם, וִיקוּיַם לָהֶם מִקְרָא שֶׁכָּתוּב: לֹא יִשָּא גוֹי אֶל גוֹי חֶרֶב וְלֹא יִלְמְדוּ עוֹד מִלְחָמָה. וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן.
“Heavenly Father, Master of compassion, look down from Your holy habitation, and bless and shield the community of the African diaspora, whether they are members of the covenant or whether they are not members of the covenant, in this country and the world. Be their shelter and stronghold, and let them not falter. Rescue them from any enemy or ambush along the way, and from all troubles that afflict the world. May the Holy One, blessed is He, have compassion on them and bring them out from darkness and the shadow of death. May He break their bonds, deliver them from distress, and bring them swiftly back to their families’ embrace. Hear their pleas, and may there be fulfilled for them the verse: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more.” And let us say: Amen.”
Rabbi Tzadok HaKohen of Lublin:
We humans chase all over the world to find things: we climb mountains, we descend to the nethermost depths of the sea, we trek to the wilderness and to the desert. There is one place where we neglect to search—our heart. But it is there that we will find God.
An oral story from the Jews of Libya as related by Esther Zagadon to Malka Cohen:
When a person is created he or she is tied to God with a string. If one sins, the string breaks. But if one repents during the days of awe, the angel Gabriel comes down and makes a knot in the string and ties it. One once again is tied to God. Because every Jew sins once in a while, his or her string becomes full of knots. But a string with many knots is shorter than one without knots. Repentance brings a person closer to God.
Avraham Kook, “On Knowledge and Originality,” Orot haKodesh, Jerusalem: 1964, in Hebrew Writers on Writing, edited by Peter Cole, San Antonio: 2008:
Insight attained on one’s own—this is the highest degree of spiritual elevation. That which is acquired by study is, after all, taken from outside, and pales in comparison with the thoughtful reflection in the depths of one’s soul. All that is learned in such a manner is only a kind of profound advice concerning how best to draw the most essential significance from what is hidden within the heart, deep within the soul.