Against Indifference: A Prayer for the World
“The opposite of love is not hate; it’s indifference.” — Elie Wiesel
There is probably no greater curse in our world today than the curse of indifference. While we are surrounded by abundant beauty and have much to be thankful for, millions of children and other innocent people live lives of ongoing war, hunger, displacement and other disasters.
Demonic forces that we cannot control, or do not care about because they are far away from our lives of comfort, strike our fellow human beings all over the world.
While we Jews have had our share of calamities, it is our duty as the chosen people to care not only for our fellow Jews but for all of humanity.
Here is a prayer, in Hebrew and English, which I suggest we say in all our synagogues on Shabbat, when saying the prayer for the state of Israel and our soldiers; or when praying at home.
This is not just a prayer to God; it is also meant as a reminder to us not to remain indifferent to all the pain in our world and to what requires our care and serious attention.
I invite all of you to ask your rabbis, and your gabbaim who assist in the running of the services, to add this short payer to the synagogue Shabbat service, and send it out to your friends — Jews and gentiles alike.
I suspect that if God were to give the Torah today, He would add an 11th commandment: “Thou shalt not be indifferent.”
The beginning of the Jewish New Year, less than two weeks away, gives us a unique opportunity to start saying this prayer:
How abundant are Your works, Hashem; with wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your possessions.” (Psalms 104:24)
Our Father in Heaven, Master of the Universe,
Have mercy on all who suffer from terrorism and wars, in Israel, and the world over.
Protect all of Your creatures against violence; weaken the hands of villains, and lead them to the path of goodness and complete repentance.
Prevent natural disasters:
Earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, raging fires, and tornadoes.
Have compassion on all the displaced, homeless, and starving people in Your world.
Have mercy on your creations. Comfort the mourners, and heal the injured.
Open our hearts to all human beings in all four corners of the earth.
Eradicate evil from among all the inhabitants of Your world.
As is written: “You allowed people to subjugate us; we went through fire and water and You brought us out to a place of abundance.” (Psalms 66:12)
And let us say Amen.
Shana tova to all good people.