Prayer for the Jewish Soldier

For the Love of Israel and the Jewish Peopleby Nathan Lopes Cardozo

 

Lord of the Universe:

We, the soldiers of the people of Israel

Come to You in humility

And pray for your help.

 

Once more we are asked to defend our

People and

The Holy Land against our enemies.

 

We ask You to have mercy on us and

Help us watch over our people

With clean hands

And with a heart filled with mercy.

 

Let our people have the strength to

Stay in good spirits

And live in unity and

Walk in Your ways,

The ways of justice and truth.

 

Let us not make mistakes

And hurt those who are not guilty,

Who do not understand

And have no part in this conflict.

 

Please,

Let our bullets not hurt those children of our enemies

Whose parents place them deliberately in dangerous spots,

Fire on us

And then shield themselves

Behind their own offspring against

Our forces so as to fault us when their children

Are wounded or even killed.

 

Remove the evil spirit of these parents

And make them realize the wickedness of their actions.

 

Stop their teachers from manipulating their students

With hate for us in their schoolbooks

On the radio, television and

The Internet.

 

O God,

You know what one of our prime ministers once said:

“We may forgive our enemies one day

For hurting and killing our children

But

We cannot forgive them for having made our children

Into those who needed to kill.”

We beg You, do not let our Jewish souls have to undergo

 

This ordeal that we cannot bear.

We are the children of Avraham, your servant, who

Prayed for the evil people of Sedom in the hope that

They would repent and live decent lives.

 

So, we beg you:

Make our enemies repent.

Make them understand that

We are good people

Who wish to live in peace with

All our neighbors.

 

O Lord,

Remove from their thoughts atrocities such as those

In which they dip their hands

In our blood.

As Jews, we

Cannot fathom

Doing this to even our worst enemies.

 

You commanded us to live in a country that

Is little more

Than a tiny island.

Our population is smaller than that of

Many single cities.

 

You asked us to live there so as to send

Your holy Word to all the corners of the world.

But

We are surrounded by many nations who

Contain more than a hundred million people.

They inhabit one of the largest regions of the world

But deny us the right to live in even the smallest corner of the world.

They do not want to listen

And only wish our death.

 

Give the Arab nations

Leaders

Who pursue justice and who really

Care for their people

And do not wish to bring their own brothers to despair

And unbearable pain

With the intention

Of accusing us

Of grave injustice.

 

Now,

After thousands of years of our dwelling

In this world and after many exiles, tortures, pogroms,

Expulsions and Holocausts

We finally found our way back to our

Small homeland

That You promised to our ancestors.

 

Yet once more our dreams of peace

Have gone up in smoke

While we try, at the risk of our own lives,

To find a way to

Allow our Palestinian neighbors to

Live their own lives.

 

While we were prepared to make sacrifices

For the welfare of these people

As no other people ever did

While we offered them land, peace, finances

And even firearms so as to defend themselves,

We once more pay the price for being a people

Who believe in the honesty of another nation and its leaders

And once more we feel misled.

 

Oh Lord, remove the evil intentions of the

Security Council, which distorts the truth.

Remove the deliberate lies

From the hearts of those who head the

Media.

Why do they want to portray us

As an evil people?

They do so

To deny Your existence and Your moral

Demands.

They hide behind their own wickedness

And cover up their own and their ancestors’

Immoral acts that they committed against us

And our ancestors for thousands

Of years.

 

O God, You know

That

No army in world history has used as much restraint

As ours.

No army is so careful not to hurt or kill

As ours.

But what shall we do when they are not even prepared

To give us the option

To prove this to the world?

 

Please, God,

Bring peace into the hearts and minds

Of our enemies.

Let them be uplifted with a spirit of righteousness.

Stop them from hating us because we are Your people.

Let us sanctify Your name as this is our

Mission and our dream.

Give us the possibility once more to teach

Your ways to the peoples

Of the world

And make them hear and

Understand.

 

We hate war as nobody else does.

We abhor the need to wear weapons.

We cannot stand the sound of our own artillery

And our tanks.

 

We are the people of the Book,

The Book that demands holiness,

Kindness

And integrity.

Our heroes are not the generals or the marshals

But our prophets and our sages,

Righteous people.

So deliver us from this anguish.

Bring peace to the nations.

Let us not be forced to use our strength against them

For they will have no escape.

But

Let the blessing that you gave to Avraham come true –

“Through you all the families of the earth will be blessed” –

For this is our hope.

 

–Chapter 34 from Cardozo’s For the Love of Israel and the Jewish People: Essays and Studies on Israel, Jews and Judaism.

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