Parashat Ekev Torah Reading: Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25
Announcement by The Rabbinical Assembly:
A Day of Prayer for the Gulf
Prayer for Recovery and Restoration of the Gulf
Weekend of July 30th
We rebuilt the wall until it was a continuous all around to half its height; for the people's heart was in the work.
The Louisiana Interchurch Conference and BISCO (Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing), will be sponsoring a special prayer service to be held in Houma, LA on the Gulf on July 30th. Parallel to this, we are asking our colleagues to include special prayers during Shabbat services, July 30-31 to pray for the recovery and restoration of the Gulf and its people. This particular weekend marks roughly 100 days since the explosion of April 20, 2010. We also remember in our prayers those who lost their lives in the explosion and subsequent fire and we pray for their families and all who grieve.
At one moment in this week's Torah reading, Moses attempts to fill the people of Israel with as much wisdom as possible as he prepares to send them into the Land that awaits them. These same words of wisdom echo for us today, as communities of faith around our country set aside this Shabbat as a day of prayer for another sector of God's Land: the Gulf of Mexico.
Moshe taught us: "So keep these commandments as you enter this promised land--a land that can flow with milk and honey. This is land for which God cares. The eyes of God are always upon it. If you will serve God with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give rain and the plants will grow and be harvested and you shall eat and be satisfied."
"This is a land for which God cares."
We mark 100 days since the beginning of this toxic Gulf of Mexico oil spill. For all the progress made in controlling the situation, damage that will be decades in the repairing is now fresh in our minds and foul in the waters and beaches. Please join us this evening at our 7:30 pm service as we add our voices to those of so many other faith communities in prayer for the Recovery and Restoration of the Gulf.
May God Have Reason to Praise Us
A Prayer in Response to the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill
Prayer based on verses from Psalm 104 and composed by Rabbi Amy Levin
Praise the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty.
God wraps in light as with a garment; stretches out the heavens like a tent
God set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.
The foundations of God’s earth support us, too. The splendor and majesty of Creation inspires us. The delicate balance of Your creation is ours to cherish and preserve.
You covered the earth with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.
But at Your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of Your thunder they took to flight;
You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth.
As the flood waters receded, Your Covenant with Noah was established, Your promise to us has stood: Your precious waters may surge and surround us, but we hold fast, the core of Your creation.
God makes springs pour waters into the ravines; they flow between the mountains.
They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.
God waters the mountains from the upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of God’s work.
God’s work of creation is ever-renewing. Humanity’s responsibility to cherish, preserve and restore God’s creation is equally eternal.
How many are Your works, O Lord! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures.
There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small.
There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which You formed, to frolic there.
How many are our works, O Lord! Some made in wisdom. Some made in folly. The earth is full of our presence and Your teeming creatures are in our hands to thrive or to suffer, to fill Your earth or to disappear.
When You hide Your face, they are terrified; when You take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.
When You send Your Spirit, they are created, and You renew the face of the earth.
When our faces are not hidden by humility and awareness of our own responsibility, we terrify Your creation: we take their breath away, they die and return to the dust. When we accept Your spirit, we nurture Your creation and have a hand in renewing the face of the earth.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in God’s works-
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
May my meditation be pleasing to God, as I rejoice in the Lord.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in the works of God we have revered, restored and healed. Let us sing praise to God who inspires and challenges us throughout our lives. May God have reason to sing praise of us as we move from contemplation to action, caretaking, advocacy and compassion.
© Rabbi Amy Levin, Av 5770 / July 2010
Rabbi Amy Levin
has been Torat Yisrael's rabbi since the summer of 2004 and serves as President of the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island.