War on Simchat Torah

Shabbat Simchat Torah 5784 / 2023. I’ve been inside a bomb shelter more today than in the entire 11.5 years I’ve been in Israel combined. ‘This is not a situation, or a round of fighting,’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. ‘ We are at war.’ This is a multi-prayer liturgy on this difficult day, and for the days ahead. It begins with a new prayer, ‘War on Simchat Torah,’ then moves to ‘For the Soldiers of the IDF’ and concludes with ‘Israel: A Meditation.’

War on Simchat Torah
On the ground,
We rejoice with the Torah.
In the air,
The missiles fly.
On the ground
The attack has come, as well.
Some still dance
With the Torah,
While others shelter in place.

We are at war,
Even as we remember
The blessings of G-d’s word,
Even as we pledge
To be true to our faith
And to live according
To G-d’s instructions.

כי נר מצוות ותורה אור ודרך חיים
For mitzvot are a lamp
And Torah is light
And the way of life. (Proverbs 6:23)

G-d of Israel,
Bless this nation
And protect us
Even as the sirens blare
And combat has come
To our streets.

Let peace be close at hand,
So that we dance
In the gardens and the groves,
In the heights and in the deserts
Once more
In joyous celebration
Of Torah and life.

For the Soldiers of the IDF
Rock of Israel,
Our sons and daughters,
Our brothers and sisters,
Our family and friends,
Have been called to serve,
In the name of peace and justice,
In the name of sovereignty and survival,
To defend and to protect our land
From violence and assault,
From kidnappers and terrorists,
From missile and mortar,
From those who would destroy our nation and our people.

We stand with the defenders of Israel.
We honor the guardians of Zion.
We hold dear the sentries of Am Kadosh.

G-d of Old,
We know the price of safety,
We know the cost of security.
Bless the injured and wounded
In every generation
With Your healing hand.
Bless the dead and the bereaved
With Your love and consolation.
Bless the heroes of our past
And the heroes of the future
With a share in the world to come.

Source of Peace,
Keep our soldiers safe,
And let our soldiers keep us safe,
So that they return in life and in health
To the loving arms of our people.

Israel: A Meditation
You are my people.
You are my heart and you are my hope.
We waited together at the mountain
When G-d revealed the Holy Word.
We wandered together through the desert
On the path to sacred soil.
We watched the sea part.
We heard the heavens roar.
We stood at the doorway to freedom,
At the border of a Promised Land.

You are my destiny.
You are my joy and you are my truth.
We were victorious at Jericho,
Unyielding at Masada.
We defied empires
For Torah.
We defied kings
For justice and freedom.
We’ve traveled the earth,
Wandered the millennia,
Refugees of the ages,
Homeless and hopeful,
Waiting to return
To native ground.

You are my brother in history,
My sister in fortune,
The mother of my courage,
The father of my heart,
The child of my longing,
And the light of generations.
To you I pledge my right arm
And my voice in song.
To you I pledge my soul.
To you I pledge my spirit.

You are my nation.
You are my inheritance.
You are my home.

© 2023 Alden Solovy and ToBendLight

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
Share the prayer! Email this to a friend.

Please check out These Words: Poetic Midrash on the Language of Torah and my other CCAR Press volumes: This Grateful Heart, This Joyous Soul, and This Precious Life, which can also be purchased as the Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines, 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. For a taste of my teaching, see my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer.”

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing.

Photo Source: Times of Israel / AP

Tags: , , , , ,

“Alden has become one of Reform Judaism’s master poet-liturgists…" - Religion News Service, Dec. 23, 2020

“Mesmerizing, spiritual, provocative, and thoughtful, Alden was everything you would want in a guest scholar and teacher.” – Rabbi Denise L. Eger, Congregation Kol Ami, Los Angeles, and Past President, CCAR

"Alden Solovy has become one of the most revered liturgists of the last decade…" - Jewish Post & Opinion, March 29, 2023

“Alden left everyone feeling inspired.” – Cantor Jeri Robins, Shabbat Chair, NewCAJE6