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Praying for Aleppo

As we watch helplessly from afar, a humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding in Syria and in particular the city of Aleppo. The New York Times reports ” ‘A Complete Meltdown of Humanity’: Aleppo Civilians Gunned Down as They Flee“.

The words ‘Never Again” feel painfully hollow as we witness murder and massacres proceeding with no one to come to the aid of the wretched victims.

While we all feel powerless and diminished by the knowledge that such evil can be done without check, I am writing to ask you all to please Daven and recite Tehillim for the innocent victims of this barbarity.

Two years ago the Bnai Akiva youth movement in Israel approached Rav Yuval Cherlow, a leading Rosh Yeshiva for guidance on how to pray for the People of Syria. Rav Cherlow suggested that Psalm 37 and Psalm 120 would be particularly appropriate for the occasion. Both psalms speak of the plight of the innocent righteous when evil men plot against them.

Rabbi Cherlow also wrote his own prayer for the Syrian people. He passed it along to the young volunteers, and told them they could share it with others.

The texts of these prayers and Psalms are reproduced below. We will be reciting them in Shul this Shabbat (as we have done in the past) but I am writing to urge you to please recite these prayers as often as you can, wherever you are.

May the Almighty hear the prayers of all Humanity in this moment of wickedness, and may all Mankind merit to see Redemption and Peace, speedily and in our days.

Rabbi Shaul Robinson

Rav Cherlow’s Prayer For The People of Syria

Master of the universe, who makes peace on high, we are not accustomed to new formal prayers, we can no longer look at the slaughter taking place in Your world and fail to pray about it. Though we know that both sides in the war are guilty of wanton bloodshed, we are unable to keep silent when so many who are beyond the circle of conflict have fallen victim.

We beseech You in prayer to arouse in the killers their basic humanity and evoke mercy in their hearts, that they may recognize that we are all created in the image of God, and that there are limits even to human cruelty. May You bring to pass what is written in Your Torah: “He who sheds the blood of man, by man his blood shall be shed, for in God’s image was man created.”

Grant us the wisdom to know how to act in this hour of distress, when the dark face of humanity’s evil inclination is once again fully exposed and we are unsure how to stand against it. Enable us to act with all our energies to prevent bloodshed in Your world, above all in the Holy Land and its environs, as it is written in Your Torah: “You shall not pollute the land where you are for blood pollutes the land; and the land will not expiate the blood shed upon it, but with the blood of he that shed it.”

May God who makes peace on high, make peace upon us and upon all Israel, and let us say Amen.


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