Vaera 5775: I am Pharaoh

436px-Thutmosis_IIIIn this week’s Torah reading, and in last week’s, G-d tells Moses that G-d will harden Pharaoh’s heart. What does it mean for G-d to harden Pharaoh’s heart? In his commentary, Rabbi Shai Held explains that: “There comes a point when a person has become so totally entrenched in bad behavior that he simply loses the ability to choose any other path.” Practice bad behavior enough and it becomes a way of life. This new prayer is a reminder that we all have the potential to become like Pharaoh, or to emulate Moses, Miriam and Aaron.

I am Pharaoh
I am Pharaoh
When I willfully
Harden my heart
To beauty and holiness.

I am Pharaoh
When I willfully
Harden my heart
To love and tenderness.

I am Pharaoh
When I willfully
Ignore the call
Of the forgotten and oppressed.

Ancient One,
Open my heart
With joy and compassion.

I am like Moses
When I seek
The word of G-d
In the wilderness and on the mountain.

I am like Miriam
When I lead
Our people, rejoicing,
In celebration and song.

I am like Aaron
When I cleanse my heart,
To fulfill G-d’s command
In awe and righteousness.

G-d who led us out of slavery,
Through the desert
And into a new land:
Teach me to open my heart,
In loving service to You,
In loving service to Your people,
In loving service to Your creation.

© 2015 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

Postscript: Other Passover prayers include: “Egypt Inside,” “The Season of Freedom” and “Elijah,” which appear in my second book, Haggadah Companion: Meditations and Readings. And here’s a listing of all of my Passover prayers.

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