Late night tonight, it’s almost 3am in California. It’s about 5 hours past my typical bedtime and I am up trying to work on my rough draft for my thesis. Yet, before I sleep I read about community members that need a little extra prayer for one reason or another. Childish as this seems at first, I read with skepticism, expecting to see gripes about bruised knees and sprained ankles. Quickly, I realize there are community members who need added prayer and a speedy recovery. I no longer am able to write my thesis chapter or shut my eyes… my perspective has just changed like a paradigm shift between shallow care and deeper meaning.
It seems that the prayers we say should not just be for those who are ill, but their loved ones as well. Is that not the true Jewish value? What is community if we pray for one’s physical welfare while their loved one is emotional suffering by watching? We should pray for both. Aren’t we all affected when someone is ill, dies, suffers? G-d forbid we understand their pain, that we’ve felt it. However, being the sick or watching a loved one be sick, still is suffering.
I find it painstakingly hard to stand in shul and say the name of the person I know who is ill. I am terrified my voice will crack, might I cry, am I so worried that someone might judge me, that someone might ask who the person is and why I have mentioned them as opposed to others. On PunkTorah, people seem to offer sentiments so freely. Maybe I am committing an aveyrah or not being the community member I wish to be.
Upon further reflection, I have decided to add to my list of thoughts and blessings not only the ones who directly suffer, but all parties involved. We are supposed to value life. Like Israel has recently demonstrated with Gilad Shalit, when one suffers, we unify and suffer together.
May our stories of pain and suffrage end on the note Shalit’s did. May we all find our way into the comfort of someone’s arms we love and may those who are in need of healing have the speediest of recoveries. May we as a community, no matter the size, understand that pain is not a trivial feeling of shallow distain, but of genuine discomfort. And may our understanding prove to be commentary that we as a people are constantly in prayer for those in need.
Again, for all those on our prayer list and for some who aren’t, may you find the comfort that is needed to handle these moments, may there be healing and may there be hope.
Be True to the Streets,