Jack Nahmod

Offering a Tefillah in Response to Fires

As I have written here previously, there are times when I feel that existing tefillot do not fully articulate certain concerns and aspirations that in my opinion are fitting for expression through tefillah. I hope that this does not come across as arrogant or presumptuous. One such tragic occasion is when there are  massive fires, the likes of which just occurred in Lahaina. Sadly, these fires happen more and more often, which of course doesn’t detract from, and must not desensitive us to, the tragedy of loss of life and destruction they cause.

I offer this tefillah for the victims and emergency personnel of Lahaina and all those impacted by fires around the world:

לַיּוֹצֵר אוֹר וּמֵאִיר לָאָרֶץ, בּוֹרֵא אֵשׁ הָאוֹכֵל אֶת־הָעֵצִים וְאֶת־הָאֲבָנִים וְאֶת־הֶעָפָר וְאֶת־הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר־בַּתְּעָלָה לִחֵכָה (א מלכים יח:לח): יַעֲזֹר וְיָגֵן וְיוֹשִׁיעַ, ״לְמַעַן אֵיתָן הַנִּזְרָק בְּלַהַב אֵשׁ; לְמַעַן בֵּן הַנֶּעֱקַד עַל־עֵצִים וָאֵשׁ; לְמַעַן דְּגָלִים נָחִיתָ בְאוֹר וַעֲנַן־אֵשׁ; לְמַעַן זֶבֶד דִּבְּרוֹת הַנְּתוּנוֹת מֵאֵשׁ; לְמַעַן טֶכֶס הַר יָרַדְתָּ עָלָיו בָּאֵשׁ; לְמַעַן לָקַח מַחְתַּת־אֵשׁ וְהֵסִיר חֲרוֹן אֵשׁ; לְמַעַן צִיר עָלָה וְנִתְעַלָּה בְּרֶכֶב וְסוּסֵי אֵשׁ; לְמַעַן שִׁמְמוֹת עִירְךָ הַשְּׂרוּפָה בָאֵשׁ״ (סדר הושענות, ״למען איתן״); וּלְזֵכֶר כָּל הַנְשָׁמוֹת שֶׁנֶּהֶרְגוּ בַּשְּׂרֵפוֹת; אֲדוֹן כָּל הַבְּרִיּוֹת, תְּהֵא הַשָּׁעָה הַזֹּאת שְׁעַת רַחֲמִים, שֶׁתְּכַבֶּה כָּל שְּׂרֵפוֹת וְתִשְׁמֹר בְּכָל אֶחָד בְּסַכָּנָה, כָּל הַכַּבָּאִים וְכָל מִי שֶׁעוֹסְקִים בְּצָרְכֵי כָּל קְּרוֹבִים לַסַּכָּנָה, כָּל בְּנֵי אָדָם וּבַעֲלֵי חַיִּים, וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן

To the One who shapes the light and illuminates the world, the One who creates fire that can consume wood, stone, earth and water (1 Kings 18:38): May God help, protect and save us: “For the sake of Abraham who was saved from the flames of fire; for the sake of Isaac who was spared from wood and fire; for the sake of Israel’s tribes who were led by cloud and fire; for the sake of the Commandments, given from fire; for the sake of Har Sinai where you came down in fire; for the sake of Aaron who took the censer and stopped the wrath of fire; for the sake of Eliyahu who was taken by chariot and horses of fire; for the sake of the desolation of your city burned by fire” (Hoshanot, “Lema’an Eitan”); and in memory of all those who have been killed by fires; Ruler of all creations, may this be the hour of Your mercy, that you extinguish all fires and protect all in danger, all firefighters and everyone attending to the needs of those in danger, all people and living creatures, and let us say, Amen.

About the Author
Rabbi Jack Nahmod is a middle school administrator at a school in Manhattan. He has a Masters Degree in Jewish Studies and is also an attorney.
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