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Community Blog A Prayer to the One Who Holds Us All

By Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld

Offered on Election Day 2020

Elohei haruchot l’chol basar
God of the spirits of all flesh

We spend so much time saying no.
Saying no to a long list of ism’s
Saying no
To the foot on the neck
The hand in the pocket
The cage at the border
The torch in the hand
The hate on the tongue
The cold in the eyes.

Saying no
To the degradation
Of language
Of land
Of law
Of life.

Av Harachamim
Father of all fathers
Mother of all mothers
Source of all compassion—
This morning
Help us stand before You
And say Yes.

Yes to the sanctity, to the preciousness, to the dignity of all life, created in Your image.
Yes to the truth of Your Oneness, and ours.
Yes to the breathtaking beauty of our world—
And yes to the vital moral fabric of our lives.
To the forces that would tear that fabric apart,
We say
We will always show up to stitch it back together.
We walk in the footsteps of our ancestor Abraham
Who “stitched together all who inhabit this world” (she’icha et kol ba’ey ha’olam)
Who saw connection everywhere
Who was commanded to be a blessing to all the families of the earth.

We know that it is so much easier—and faster—to tear things apart
Than it is to stitch them together.
But we will keep showing up for as long as it takes

Because we are children ourselves
Because we are parents
Because we are teachers
Because we are witnesses
Because we are weavers
Because we are threads
in the tapestry of Your creation.

We will stitch together what has been torn apart.
Dear God, please give us strength. Give us wisdom. Give us courage.
Gather us all in the embrace of your unending love.

Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Echad. 
Listen, you who wrestle,
And bear witness to the One who holds us all.

Rabbi Sharon Cohen AnisfeldRabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld is President of Hebrew College in Newton, MA. She first came to Hebrew College in 2003 as an adjunct faculty member of the Rabbinical School and then served as Dean of Students from 2005-2006. She went on to serve as Dean of the Rabbinical School for eleven years, from 2006-2017, before becoming President.

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