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“Strength and Support through Psalms,” Rabbi Zecher’s Shabbat Awakenings

June 24, 2022 | 25 Sivan 5782

Welcome to Shabbat Awakenings as we move toward Shabbat. This week I offer a request.

There are moments in the life of a community when we are invited to help another person. This is such a moment. This week, a family in our congregation learned that their baby son faces a life threatening disease with a poor prognosis. This is the second child in their family who has faced a life-threatening struggle of this nature. Though there are many ways we might wish to help them, today, in consultation and approval from this family, we have the invitation to direct our prayers toward them in a very specific way.

Through Psalms.

I invite you to engage in a Jewish custom of reciting Psalms for such a situation. The knowledge that a community is surrounding the family with prayer will bring strength and courage to them. When I suggested this effort to them, they were grateful even in their despair. The thought of such a community effort lifted them.

Here is what we will do. If you want to join in this act of lovingkindness, connect with my Executive Coordinator (asherr@tisrael.org). There are 150 Psalms. She will assign you one of them. She will send you your Psalm number and a link to Sefaria.org where you can find the specific Psalm. You can also open your Bible and find the book of Psalms and turn to your Psalm number. This will be your Psalm to recite each day. You pick any time, space, and place. The content of the Psalm may or may not have meaning to you but the significance of your action carries great meaning. As you read this Psalm each day, you may find that its words speak to you. Your offering the Psalm is a private action that has great communal power and a profound impact on this family. I assure you this is not a magical incantation. We cannot alter the course of the disease, but we can bring comfort to this family in their journey and that has healing powers. We are starting this project without an end time.

The family will remain anonymous, at their request. Their son’s Hebrew name is Hayim Oren — חיים אורן. Your connection and prayer will help bring healing, strength, and love, and though the family may not know you personally they will feel the effort of your prayers reaching them just by knowing this is happening.

On behalf of the clergy, we are grateful for our synagogue community.

May you find peace in this Shabbat.

Connect with me here. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  • We join together at 6:00 p.m., onsite and online, for Qabbalat Shabbat. Join on Zoom, Facebook Live, or stream on our website.We invite you to stay after the service for a festive oneg onsite to get to know each other and to get to know the singers and musicians that have brought so much joy to the temple throughout the year.
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