This afternoon Rabbi Abbi Sharofsky was honored to participate in “One Commonwealth, Many Virginians: Uniting in Interfaith Prayer for Healing and Unity” Governor Northam’s Virtual Prayer Vigil. The following is the text of her invocation, praying for healing from the illness of racism.
—JCRC of Greater Washington
This week’s Torah portion, Korach, focuses on the Israelites struggling with changing leadership dynamics and the difficulties of moving from the past into the future. This is an ongoing struggle for the Israelites, as seen in previous Torah portions. Our country is experiencing similar challenges – coming to terms with a tumultuous history and learning how to create a more just and equitable society. In difficult times, many people turn to prayer, asking God for strength and healing, as Moses does time and time again.
In the book of Numbers, one of the five books of the Torah, we read about racism, illness, and prayer. Miriam speaks out against Moses, her words directed at the Black woman Moses married. Miriam then falls ill. Moses cries out to God, El Na R’fa Na La, Lord please heal her now. Perhaps Moses’ prayer is multi-layered – heal the illness and heal the deeper affliction of racism.
As we are joined together, many faiths lifting our voices in prayer to the Divine, I pray the same words as Moses, El Na R’fa Na La, Lord, please heal her now. Please, God, heal our country. Heal us of our physical affliction, the COVID-19 pandemic, and heal our souls from the affliction of racism.
May it be Your will, God of our Ancestors, that we come through this time of affliction stronger and able to see Your Divine Image in each person. May we teach our children and our children’s children that Black Lives Matter and hate has no home here. May we experience a refuah shleima, a complete healing of our bodies and our souls. Together we say, Amen.