Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

To the Streets

This is a Passover appeal for each of us to work for social justice. It’s written in the voice of the admonishing prophet, exhorting us to leave the shelter of prayer and study to go to the streets in service of healing the world. To listen along, click on the triangle in the bar below (website only). The text follows.

To the Streets
Have you been to the streets of our cities?
Have you seen the toothless madness
Of the poor, the homeless, the wretched and infirm?
Have you heard the broken voices
Of loneliness and loss, addiction and despair?
Of children abused in their homes.
Of youths who starve their bodies.
Of teens who cut their limbs.
Of adults who degrade each other.

Have you been to the battlefields and bomb shelters?
Have you witnessed the terror
Of the innocent and the gunman?
Have you heard the cries of fear and dread,
Of shock, alarm and panic?
Of soldiers blinded by war.
Of refugees abandoned to hate.
Of civilians shelled in the night.
Of prisoners tortured in the darkness.

Have you been to our factories and fields?
Have you seen the crushing labor
Of the illegals, the abused, the forgotten and the misused?
Have you heard the silent resignation
Of the indentured and the enslaved?
Of children forced to toil in sweat.
Of youth maimed by machines.
Of women raped in the mills.
Of men dead in the mines.

Come down,
You the wise and the righteous,
The learned and the wealthy.
Come down
From the temples of your wisdom,
From the sanctuaries of your prayer,
From the shelter of holiness and grace.

Our people have
Tasted the ashes of grief
The dust of loss,
The parching thirst of loneliness.
Our mothers and fathers
Have felt the whip, have been
Forced into labor, have been
Abused and condemned
To violation and violence.

Show me the words that will rescue the captive,
That will free the slave and heal the broken.
Show me the passages that will cure the sick
Feed the hungry and build them homes.
G-d calls us to service in the name of healing.
G-d calls us to action in the name of justice.
G-d calls us to repair the world in the name of holiness.
Only your hands and your strength can bless the world.
Bring your energy and dedication,
Your perseverance and action.

Come down!
Come down!
Bring your Midrash to the darkest allies,
And your Aggadah to the neglected countryside.
Bring your Musar to the clinics and the infirmaries,
And your Shulchan Aruch to the shelters and encampments.
Bring your love and devotion to building a better world.

G-d of Old,
Let Your Torah and Mitzvot
Guide us in loving service
To lives of action,
Heading Your holy call to Tikun Olam.

© 2012 Alden Solovy and http://www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here’s a link to other prayers and readings for Passover.

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