Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

Blood on Holy Ground

Negev Sunset near YeruhamSpilling innocent blood defiles holy land. In this week’s double Torah reading, Matot-Masei, we read: “…for blood, it polluteth the land…” [Numbers 35:33] This is a new prayer for peace, expanding “innocent blood” to the idea that all of humanity is sacred and “ground” to the entire earth. Blood may not be spilled on holy ground. This piece appears in This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press.

Blood on Holy Ground
We have all shed blood on holy ground.
Christians. Muslims. Jews.
We have all used anger, violence and hatred
To prosecute our cause.
Woe unto the land
That has soaked in so much blood.
Woe unto the generations
That has soaked in so much death.

We have all shed tears on holy ground.
Christians. Muslims. Jews.
We have all buried the lost
And dressed the wounds
Of those who prosecuted our cause.
Woe unto the generations
Who have tasted so many tears.
Let no one proclaim innocence.
Let no one proclaim justice.
Let no one proclaim G-d’s blessing.

We have all prayed for peace on holy ground.
Christians. Muslims. Jews.
Woe unto the land
That has waited for our words to become deeds.
Let these hopes become the work of our hands.
Let these blessings become the work of our hearts.
Let no blood be shed on holy ground.
Let all ground be holy.
And let peace spread to the four corners of the earth.

© 2021 CCAR Press from This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer

Postscript: My other prayers for peace include: “For the Return of Peace,” “For Peace in the Middle East,” “To Win the Peace,” “Children of Gaza, Children of Israel” and “When Peace Comes: A Meditation.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

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