A Prayer for These Troubling Times

Often, when I find myself at a loss for words to describe something, I “go small” and think of one-word descriptions for those emotions.

Such was the case this morning after a shiva call to the grieving family members of Ezra Schwartz Hy’d, who was recently murdered in yet another horrific terror attack in Eretz Yisroel. And the words that came to mind were:












Ordinary & extraordinary.

Similar feelings permeated the homes of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali last summer when they were sitting shiva for their beloved sons (See Basically; Just What You Saw which I wrote after observing their generosity of spirit during those awful days.)

A consistent theme that emerged during discussions in their home this morning was the level of achdut (unity) they were experiencing – meaning that they were getting emotional support from Jews of all backgrounds and all levels of religious observance.

For example; one of Ezra’s aunts approached me as I was leaving and shared with me that a Satmar chasid who owns a bus company personally drove a bus to New Jersey to pick up friends and family members of the Schwartz family. She was moved to tears as she described how this man they never met took them to Sharon, MA for the funeral, drove them home when it was over – and refused payment!

After her words settled in, all of us in the room looked at each other, thinking the same thing: “Why does it take unspeakable calamities to engender this level of unity? Shouldn’t we try and maintain this in good times as well?”

With that in mind, permit me to share a prayer that I imagine Reb Levi Yitzchok of Berdichev, the “defense attorney” of the Jewish people, would compose nowadays as the blood of our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel is being spilled each day:

“Master of the Universe; we commit ourselves to building and maintaining unity among our people. In this merit, spare us from this gezeira (decree), and usher in the coming of Mashiach, speedily in our times.”

To help us reach that goal; please find below the lyrics of “Aderabe;” a beautiful song which is taken from a moving prayer written by the chassidic master Reb Elimelech of Lizensk.

Here are two musical renditions composed for these verses by my friend Yossi Green; one by Avrohom Fried and one by by Ohad Moskowitz with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Play it at home, hum it to yourself, teach it to your children and sing it with your family this Shabbos. Speak to your kids about the values these stirring words represent and think of ways you can model these values to them.

Please share these lines and/or a link to this post with your friends and on your social media and let’s collectively work to foster the unity that will usher in Hashem’s blessings to all His children.

Yakov Horowitz

—————————————————————————————– Aderaba, ten belibeinu Shenireh kol echad mal’as chavereinu Velo, velo chesronom

On the contrary, place in our hearts the ability to see only the good in our friends and not their shortcomings

Veshenidaber kol echad es chaveiro Bederech hayashar veharatzui lefonecha Ve’al ya’aleh belibeinu, shum sin’ah Me’echad al chaveiro cholilah

May we speak to each other in a way that is proper and desirable in Your eyes and may there be no hatred between friends, Heaven forbid.

Usechazek osonu be’ahavah, be’ahavah ailecha Ka’asher goluy veyodua lefanecha Sheyehei hakol nachas ruach Nachas ruach ailecha

Strengthen our ties and our bond to You with love, as it is revealed and known to You that we strive to give You only satisfaction and pleasure.

Omain kein yehi rotzon

Amen, may it be your will

About the Author
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Founding Dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam of Monsey and Director of The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES, is a innovative educator, author, and child safety advocate. He published child safety books that are in 80,000 homes in three languages as well as beginner Gemara/Talmud & Chumash/Bible workbooks. Rabbi Horowitz conducts child abuse prevention and parenting workshops in Jewish communities around the world and received the prestigious 2008 Covenant Award in recognition of his contribution to Jewish education.
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