Dear G-d, Heavenly Father,
Sometimes, I wonder how You feel about your children.
On the one hand, your blessings are abundant. Each day, You wake us up to the beauty of Your majestic world, and we are wowed.
We see You, and we sense Your love in every ray of sunshine, in every drop of rain, in the sweet melodies of your creatures, and on the smiling face of every child. Your kindness and faith in us are also evident in every breath we take, and in every journey You lead us on. King David’s words resonate profoundly: “G-d is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.”
On the other hand, it doesn’t take a great maven of the world to see how much pain and suffering still exists. In our Scottsdale community alone, many deaths (including some premature ones) have befallen us this year. Other community members have been thrust into the horrific den of physical and mental illnesses (and yes, this too included some innocent children.)
And of course, one need not go far to also witness the many apparent injustices such as the “natural disasters” that have struck us, the rampant poverty in many social circles, and the evil people globally who continue to cause havoc and destruction to Your world.
On a personal note, it is beyond me how such beautiful Jews can be butchered so cold-bloodedly by such evil terrorists. Just this past Sunday, we saw in horror how Ari Fuld, a 45-year-old father of four young children, was stabbed to death in the Gush Etzion district. The agonizing words of King David are left ringing in our ears: “For Your sake, we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep!”
And so, as we are about to enter tonight into Yom Kippur – the holiest day of the year, a day in which You forgive each and every one of us, and seal us in all of Your good books – let us make a deal:
We, your children, will continue to grow in Your ways, and illuminate Your world, with Your Torah and Mitzvot, just as You want it: one step at a time, one Mitzvah at a time, today more than yesterday, yet much less than tomorrow.
We will also continue to ask ourselves at the onset of every day, and before every decision: “What does G-d want us to do, today, right now?” And we will continue to do our very best to fulfill our G-d given purpose in Your world, and to focus on that which “we are needed for,” much more than on “what we need.”
I know that You trust us when we utter these words to you. After all, You have witnessed the tremendous growth of our community this past year, individually and collectively. You and I know of our countless community members, who have taken upon themselves good deeds, for Your sake, such as affixing Mezuzot on their doorposts; lighting Shabbat candles every Friday afternoon; putting on Tefillin, each at their own pace; keeping Shabbat or some of it; praying consistently and attending our community’s services; and even deciding to “date only Jews.” Throughout the year, we have also remained loyal to You, and to growing in Your ways, even if at times, we have experienced challenges and hardships beyond human comprehension.
But You, G-d, our Heavenly Father, the One who “sees the heart of man” (I Samuel 16:7), we ask that You take into account all of these deeds, along with all of the future deeds that we will take upon ourselves during this coming year, and place them lovingly before Your holy throne.
And in the merit of all of these deeds, and in the merit of Your people who love you and yearn for you, please grant us a year of peace, a year of joys and good health, and a year of redemption. Please extend special blessings to those of Your children who dwell in Your land of Israel, and especially to those who defend our Land, and give them strength, security, and full protection.
In the moving words of our prayers: “And in the book of life, blessing, peace, and prosperity, deliverance, consolation, and favorable decrees, may we and all Your people Israel be remembered and inscribed before You for a Happy life and for Peace.”
Finally, may we merit to witness the coming of Mashiach this year, and the ultimate fulfillment of the words that You placed in the mouth of Your prophet, Isaiah: “Your sun will never set again, and your moon will wane no more; the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your days of sorrow will end.”