A Prayer for Flood-filled Days



Eloheinu velohei avoteinu v’imoteinu,

Our God and God of our fathers and mothers,
The flood waters came, wreaking havoc upon our cities, our homes,
our rescue workers, our sense of security,
And we turn to You for comfort and support.
Help us to differentiate between floods of destruction
and down-pouring of Your love and comfort.

We know that waters can destroy.
In a world decimated many times before,
having been submerged in waters
from the Florida hurricanes, the Asian tsunami, and …
each of Biblical proportions,
we remember the destructive abilities of these flood waters.

Recalling now that the world, though filled with Your Glory,
is not equal to Your flawlessness,
we strive desperately, sometimes without success,
to move beyond the impulse to blame You.
Keep us far from apocalyptic thoughts, for we know that You ask us to care for each other, an awesome responsibility.

We also know that we can seek You in the waters.
We recall Your Loving Hand, guiding us in our infancy:
From a barren rock, You brought forth water to quench our thirst,
In the midst of a journey through the wilderness, You showed Miriam a
myriad of wells which healed our parched throats,
You guided us through Yam Suf, the Red Sea, moving us past destruction
toward new life and new beginnings.
Through Your love, we found our way.

Be with us now, during these deluged days.
Draw us close to those harmed by these waters, hearing their
cries, responding to their needs.
Lead us to support those who will fix the cities,
care for the displaced, who bring healing to those suffering.
Though our attention spans seem so short, may we
be slow to forget those who were in danger.
Please bring a warm wind and hot sun from the heavenly realms
to help dry up the flood waters.

And may we all embrace at least one lesson spoken aloud by so many who – facing the floods – rushed to pack up their valuables:

That memories of love and of time spent with family and friends
are priceless, holy and sacred.
This can never be taken away.
As we rush to meet the challenge of living in this
imperfect world of ours,
May we slow down enough to cherish those who are truly valuable –
kadosh/holy – to us.

Baruch Ata Adonai, Hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol.
Blessed are You, O God, who differentiates between the truly
Valuable and everything else.

Originally posted on orami.org

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Rabbi Paul Kipnes

About Rabbi Paul Kipnes

Rabbi Paul Kipnes the spiritual leader of Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas, CA. He teaches Pastoral Counseling in the Rabbinical School and serves as a member of the Rhea Hirsch School of Jewish Education clinical faculty at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles. He serves as Rabbinic Dean at Camp Newman in Santa Rosa and chair of the Revenue Enhancement Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. Rabbi Kipnes co-edited a national CCAR Journal issue on New Visions for Jewish Community. Under his leadership, Congregation Or Ami has won national awards for social justice programming, for innovative worship programming, for outreach to interfaith families, and for engaging family education, and for best overall use of technology in a synagogue. Or Ami also wins the hearts of its families for its Henaynu caring community, which reaches out during times of need. This and his other writings can be viewed on his blog, Or Am I?. He tweets @RabbiKip.

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