This is a prayer about remembering. Yes, it is a prayer for peace, but it is about remembering. What have we forgotten? Jews and Muslims, Israelis and Palestinians, share a common lineage. We are brothers and sisters. Click on the triangle in the bar below to listen while you read. The text follows. For more prayers about Israel, please click here. One of my favorites is “Israel: A Meditation.”
For Peace in the Middle East
Sons of Abraham,
Sons of Hagar and Sarah,
Of Isaac and Ishmael:
Have you forgotten the day we buried our father?
Have you forgotten the day we carried his dead body into the cave near Hebron?
Have you forgotten the day we entered the darkness of Machpaelah
To lay our Patriarch to rest?
Sons of Esau and Jacob:
Have you forgotten the day we made peace?
The day we set aside past injustices and deep wounds to lay down our weapons and live?
Or the day we, too, buried our father? Have you forgotten that we took Isaac’s corpse into that humble cave
To place him with his father for eternity?
Brother, I don’t remember crying with you.
Sister, I don’t remember mourning with you.
We should have cried the tears of generations.
We should have cried the tears of centuries,
The tears of fatherless sons
And motherless daughters,
So that we would remember in our flesh that we are one people,
From one father on earth and one Creator in heaven,
Divided only by time and history.
My brother calls you Allah.
My sister calls you Adonai.
You speak to some through Moses.
You speak to some through Mohammed.
We are one family, cousins and kin.
Light of truth,
Source of wisdom and strength,
In the name of our fathers and mothers,
In the name of justice and peace,
Help us to remember our history,
To mourn our losses together,
So that we may,
Lay down our weapons and live.
G-d of All Being,
Bring peace and justice to the land,
And joy to our hearts.
© 2010 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Postscript: The repetition in this prayer is deliberate–asking “have you forgotten?”–and calling on readers to “remember.” Another deliberate repetition: the use of the words “peace” and “justice,” which resonate for all sides of the conflict. This was originally posted for Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, and Yom HaAtzma’ut, Israeli Independence Day, April 19 and 20, 2010. Could there be a better way to honor fallen soldiers — or to celebrate independence — than to make peace? Special thanks to Rabbi Peter Knobel for his guidance. For more prayers about Israel, please click here.
Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons, Yitzchak Rabin memorial broch