A Prayer for the Lone Soldier
by Alden Solovy
A “Color Red” siren went off in Jerusalem yesterday. For the second time in four days, rockets were launched from Gaza at the City of Gold. We got a taste of what the south has been suffering, quite literally, for years. My first reaction: the IDF has my back. No need to worry. Of course, it’s not quite so simple. And still, we’re counting on the IDF. We must.
Last week, RJ Blog posted my three-part liturgy for Operation Pillar of Defense. The first prayer is for the safety of the IDF, called “For the IDF: Operation Pillar of Defense.” The second is for terrorists to find a new path called “To the Terrorist.” The third is for peace, called “For Peace in the Middle East.” The liturgy moves from the immediate need for the safety of our soldiers and citizens to our hopes for the future. Since then, I’ve received several requests for a Hebrew version of the IDF prayer. That post has been updated to include the Hebrew translation of this prayer by Elen Rochlin.
I recently posted another new prayer called “Lone Soldier, Operation Pillar of Defense,” which is also included here. It’s a prayer for the chiyal boded, the Lone Soldier, the young men and women in the IDF who have made aliyah to Israel alone, without their families, to live the dream of building lives in Israel and serving our people in the military. Israel embraces them with love and care. The idea for this prayer came from the mother of a Lone Soldier.
Lone Soldier, Operation Pillar of Defense
Guardian of Israel,
Young men and women
Have left their homes and families
Throughout the world
To find their place in the Land,
To build lives of hope,
And to serve Your People in the IDF.
And bless all soldiers
Of the Israel Defense Forces,
With strength and skill,
Compassion and determination,
The hallmarks of our military.
Let comradeship bolster their courage.
Let them keep faith with their vision
Of a strong and vital Jewish state.
Look with compassion on their families
And the families of all our military.
Ease their minds.
Console their hearts.
Grant their deepest prayers
For the well-being of their children.
Source of Peace,
Grant a swift and successful end to Operation Pillar of Defense.
Shield our soldiers from the traumas of war.
Keep them safe,
So that they may keep us safe.
Return them swiftly in life and in health
To the loving arms of our people.
Alden Solovy is a liturgist, poet, teacher, editor and writing coach, as well as an award-winning essayist and journalist. He’s written for the secular and Jewish Press. Before making aliyah six months ago, Alden was a member of Beth Emet-The Free Synagogue, Evanston, Ill., and a regular participant in worship at BJBE, Deerfield, Ill. His work will appear in the forthcoming CCAR Press book, Mishkan R’fuah: Where Healing Resides.