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Jewish Journal

Who by water, and who by fire?

by Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

August 31, 2009 | 7:35 am

(AP)

We have been hearing the sounds of the shofar every morning since the month of Elul began. And within its wordless cry we already hear the echoes of the liturgy of Rosh Hashana. None more than the echoes of Nitaneh Tokef’s, “Who will Live, and who will die?  Who by water, and who by fire?”

The terror of fire has arrived at the doorstep of thousands of homes, and may change forever the lives of thousands of families. The terror of fire has already claimed the lives of two heroes, who responded to the Torah’s call to not stand idly by at a time of danger.

We pray before you God, Creator and Master of all nature’s forces, that You grant strength and comfort to those who fear losing their homes and possessions, and courage and protection to the fearless souls who are doing Your work on the firelines. And please open my heart, and the heart of everyone who sees and knows of the crisis of fire that is upon us, to respond to the calls for help that will soon come. Calls from relief organizations, calls from firefighting fraternities who need to support the families of the fallen. May our hearts be sensitive and our souls generous.

The shofar has awakened us. And we will not disappoint.

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