Plagued (Part I): A Prayer for Shabbat Va-era

God of our Mothers and Fathers, God of despair and defiance, suffering and solace, fear and faith.
We come to you on this Sabbath when we study the first four plagues upon Egypt, full of worry and searching for wisdom.

When we read of a river turned to blood, fish dying in the water, frogs filling up the land, lice afflicting people’s bodies and wild beasts running rampant, we see the power of God’s might and the horrors of human suffering.
Today our nation faces crises over the purity of our water, the endangerment and extinction of species, the sustainability of our planet, and access to treatment for the illnesses that ail us.
When we hear these verses about the cost of stubbornness, the refusal to see reality, hard heartedness towards fellow human beings, we shudder with fear and cringe with recognition.
Help us and our leaders to avoid the selfishness that swallowed Pharaoh. Make us mindful of what happens when we prize power over the purpose to which we are entrusted with it.
As you strengthened the determination of Miriam, Aaron, and Moses during what must have seemed like an endless struggle, we beseech You now, to be with us as we seek to resist those who refuse to listen to the growing concern for principles that seem increasingly imperiled with each passing day.
Increase our capacity for patience, persistence, and perseverance. Inspire us with the memory of courageous women and men who took risks, made sacrifices in the struggle cruelty and oppression.
Keep us rooted in reason even in the face or irrationality. Prevent us, we pray, from succumbing to the instinct to retaliate and temptation to become reactionary. Give us the discipline not to demonize those who differ from us. Grant us the good sense to choose our words carefully and keep our emotions in check.
God of Justice and Mercy, help us always to remember the words of Your prophets and heed Your call to Conscience that we may “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God.”
May this be our blessing and together let us say: Amen. 

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