Torah Tidbits


A Veterans’ Day Prayer
Shabbat Parashat VaYetze
November 9, 2013 – 6 Kislev 5774

A Veterans’ Day Prayer

When Jacob left Beer Sheva, he was not forgotten.  Our Parsha begins with a verse that notes Jacob’s departure from Beer Sheva.  Rashi asks: Why does the Torah share the fact that Jacob left Beer Sheva?  And Rashi remarks:  When the Torah tells us the Jacob left Beer Sheva, it is to teach us that when a great person leaves a certain place, his absence is noted even after he moves on.

On Veterans’ Day weekend it is incumbent upon us to remember and to honor the service of our veterans even though many of our veterans have moved on to new chapters in their lives.  Their service leaves a lasting impression on all of us, and we are grateful for their service and appreciative of their dedication.

In the spirit of that gratitude and appreciation, I share with you the following Prayer for Veterans’ Day, composed by my colleague, Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff.

Almighty God,
As we gather here, we recall
that more than 90 years ago – in 1918
-on the 11th day of the 11th month – at the 11th hour of that day — an armistice was signed to end the war the war to end all wars, we said

and yet, other wars would come
and others would be called to serve
-so Armistice Day became Veterans Day,
a time to recognize and remember
those who would face new horrors
keeping peace
or answering the call to fight

O Lord,
we know too well
there have been times
when we have not honored those
who honored us
through sacrifice and service
in wars our nation chose to fight

today we pray that we have learned
to offer thanks
to show respect – and gratitude
to all our veterans – alongside those who serve our nation still and to their families, too

today we pray
to mourn our dead
to help our wounded
to praise our heroes,
and to welcome home our troops
– with open arms –
when they return

we pray you give them strength
and grant us strength, as well-
– to keep our faith
that one day
-thanks in part – large part – to the courage of those we honor with our words today – one day, we’ll beat our swords to plowshares and war will be no more

…and let us say, amen

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror