January 13, 2005

A Prayer

Tsunamis. Landslides. Floods.

I personally witnessed the horrible consequences of the seemingly unrelenting rain in Southern California. People are dead. Houses are washed away. Lives are ruined.

I remembered an odd passage in the Machzor (prayer book) for Yom Kippur. It stated that when the Kohain Gadol (High Priest) left the Holy of Holies in peace he would pray a special prayer for the Jewish People. Then, as if tacked on the end of this blessing for a fruitful and blessed year, he would say: “[concerning the inhabitants of the Sharon] May it be Your will, Hashem, our G-d and the G-d of our forefathers, that their homes not become their graves.”

The ArtsScroll Machzor states (citing Yerushalmi Yoma 5:2): “The Kohen Gadol recited a special prayer for the people of the Sharon because the earth there was suitable for construction, and house had to be rebuilt twice every seven years or they would collapse. Also, the houses in the valley were subject to landslides and flash floods. Hence the Kohen Gadol prayed that the inhabitants of Sharon not be trapped in the ruins of their homes.”

The fact is, no matter where we live, we are at the mercy of the elements. And we must never forget that Hashem ultimately controls everything. But if there is any positive to the disasters that have befallen so many, it is that there has been an incredible outpouring of help, support and charity for those who have suffered.

My prayer as a humble Jew is that Hashem should comfort those who have lost so much and may He end the immense suffering soon.

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