February 11, 2011
A Prayer for the post-Mubarak Middle East, and for Israel
God and God of our ancestors:
You have blessed humanity, these past centuries, with the wisdom that has given rise to the emergence of democracy, a political order than recognizes and honors every person’s God-given value and dignity as no political order has ever done before. You have in this way brought freedom into Your world on a scale unprecedented in human history.
You taught us at Sinai that freedom is a means, not an end. You instructed us that when - in freedom - we would devote ourselves to Your vision, then this freedom would ennoble us and bring forth blessing. And that when we would harness our freedom to achieve tzedaka umishpat, righteousness and justice, then we would remain worthy of your Presence among us. And we learned, often painfully, that freedom without moral vision could auger calamity. It is because of this that we petition You daily to grace us with understanding, wisdom, and discernment, and is it because of this that we turn to You today with both hope and concern.
Even as Medinat Yisrael, the first flowering of our redemption, struggles nobly and continuously to make its own freedom and democracy a more perfect tool of tzedaka umishpat , we today casts our eyes with both hope and concern to our great neighbor to the south, as freedom has finally reached the land of Egypt.
You have commanded us in Your Torah to harbor no enmity toward Egyptians, for we had been strangers in their land. And so we pray that their new-found freedom indeed bring them the dignity and justice they rightfully seek and desperately deserve. But we know as well that Your people’s place in this world can be a precarious one, and that we are often subject to the great winds of history. And so we beseech You, our God and God of our fathers, to look with favor today upon the words of Your servant Isaiah, who envisioned the day when freedom would bring only knowledge of You, and knowledge of You would bring only peace:
And it shall come to pass in the end of days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.