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Prayer for Rising Waters: Getting Through Covid-19

Rabbi Paul Kipnes shares a prayer that invokes the Source of Life to help us learn from the heroes of the Torah and imbue us with courage, flexibility, and faith during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We, who strive to illuminate for others the blessings that surround us, seek guidance for our ancient teachers. The Torah is replete with heroes forced to adjust and adapt to their new realities. This prayer invokes the Source of Life to guide us to learn from their examples and imbue us with courage, flexibility, and faith. 

Source of our Wonder and Life,
Please guide us with chesed
So that
With planning and love,
And laughter and hope,
We will find a way to cope,
And we will find a way through.

One of Blessing,
Who once blessed our ancestors,
Shine for us
A light forward,
To illumine
The unknown ahead.

Grant us resilience,
Like those who came before us:
And hope amidst the worry,
And promise amidst the fear.

•••

Guide us
Like You guided,
Noah and Naamah,
Partners who planned quickly
for unanticipated days-
Building an ark,
And gathering the animals,
And collecting the seeds
To seed a future unknown.

Help us to hear,
That in spite of our fear,
We must plan together,
Anticipating unsettling weather,
So that our small arks will float above rising waters,
And through raging storms yet to come.

•••

And please hold our children,
Like You held
Isaac the assaulted,
Who struggled to find meaning
After his life was torn apart.

Don’t let this
Childhood trauma
Close up their hearts.
Rather grant us the smarts,
And a love
Deep like Rebekah’s,
To get them through this era
By teaching them a lesson:

That by loving each other,
And by sharing our hearts,
We can overcome
Even the most debilitating
Worry, anxiety, and fear.

•••

And uplift each of us too
Like You uplifted
Sarai the soulful,
Who dug deep amidst her despair,
To discover strength
Hidden within.

Like she who fed the others,
Those three stranger-wanderers
Who arrived from a distance
So far, far away.
May we feed each other,
With manna from our souls,
Shrinking the distance between us
With words we text, tweet, or say.

Send us hope for the future –
Like her child to be born! –
So that we too may laugh,
As we telegraph,
Amidst the greatest of fear
Now sitting with us here,
That amongst all of the oys,
We will still find great joy,
Unbounded,
Unending,
And simchas so deep.


Rabbi Paul J. Kipnes is the spiritual leader of Congregation Or Ami in Calabasas, California. Recently, he wrote about conducting a funeral in the time of COVID-19.

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