This February there comes to mind certain High Holiday themes – that of self-reflection, new beginnings, setting ourselves on the right course and hope for a better year ahead. We can only pray that the new Administration will bring a semblance of order to our nation, that the healing will begin soon and be full, as we say when illness strikes, “May you have a ‘refuah shlema um’herah,’” “a full and speedy recovery.”
But it will take time for our nation to heal. The political divisions are great, the bitterness strong. We are politically divided and our recovery is intertwined with a health crisis that is causing death and despair.
Our prayers go out to our new President and to all our political leaders. They will need inner strength, and help from God to bring peace and tranquility to our nation. Beginning in Roman times, a prayer was added to our worship, a prayer that acknowledged the government officials, a prayer that beseeched God to give them wisdom. So we read:
O Guardian of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. (Mishkan T’filah, p. 258)
There can be no more eloquent words than these. So let us pray for President Biden and for all those who lead our nation, and for ourselves as well, that we may weather the crises we are experiencing and gain strength in the coming years. May God heal us physically, politically and spiritually, upholding us and fortifying our will to do what is right and best for every citizen of our land.
May this be our prayer.