Jewish Prayers From the Heart and Pen of Alden Solovy

Taharot in Pittsburgh

As the Jewish world mourns the murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, a group of private individuals are preparing themselves to perform taharot. Taharah (taharot, pl) is the ritual preparation of a body for burial. It’s a sacred task that takes a special individual. These will be particularly difficult taharot, given the brutality of the deaths. It’s my hope that in praying for those who are conducting this holy act, we find a bit of solace for ourselves.

Taharot in Pittsburgh
Rock of Comfort,
Redeemer of Israel,
Grant Your protection and care
To those who are preparing the dead for burial,
Gently washing wounded bodies
With love and water,
Praying for the souls of the innocent
To find peace on the journey
To heavenly spheres.

So much loss.
So much blood.
So many wounds.

These unnamed servants of our people
Come in quiet devotion,
With gentle prayers,
Serving the dead with the work of their hands,
So that the living can grieve
And that souls can find rest.
Grant them an extra share of steadfast strength
As they bless the lost with the gift given in reverence
For generations.

White is the clothing of the dead.
Sorrow is the clothing of the living.
Let the taharot in Pittsburgh become a beacon of love,
A radiance of healing,
And a source of comfort for all.

© 2018 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Postscript: See also “A Liturgy after Terror Attacks,” “After a Deadly Anti-Semitic Attack” and “Racist Violence against Houses of Worship.”

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: Tree of Life * Or L’Simcha Congregation website

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