Friday, September 23, 2005

". . .May it be Your will . . . that their homes not become their graves"—For the victims of Hurricane Katrina

"For the people of the Sharon he [the Cohen Gadol/High Priest] prayed: May it be Your will, L-rd our G-d and G-d of our Ancestors, that their homes not become their graves."

Philip (Paltiel) Birnbaum, Z'L (RIP), in a footnote on page 825 of his High Holyday Prayer Book (1951), explains: "With reference to the inhabitants of a place name Sharon in Palestine we are told that they had to renovate their homes twice in each seven-year period because the bricks there were not substantial enough to withstand the effects of the weather. Hence the high priest's special prayer on behalf of anshei haSharon [the people of Sharon], lest they be buried in the ruins of their homes."

Ever since I returned from Israel and was confronted, at closer range, with the story of the devastation of the Gulf Coast, I've been trying to figure out where in the Yom Kippur service I'd heard those ancient words, which, somehow, seemed to express my reaction to this present-day tragedy. For so many, their homes have, indeed, become their graves. But my final push to do some serious searching for those words came from this post, and the song that was posted with it. The words to the song are from Haftarat Re'eh, from Yishayah/Isaiah chapter 54, verses 11 and 13, and chapter 55, verse 1. Tze u'lmad—go and study. A Song for Katrina.


Blogger Batya said...

I'm always amazed by how phrases in prayers, Bible and Psalms are so connected to what's going on.

Tue Sep 27, 01:38:00 PM 2005  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Yes, it is pretty amazing.

Thu Sep 29, 12:55:00 AM 2005  

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