31 July 2020
‘We have not come into this
world for strife and discord’
One of the resources I continue to draw on for my personal prayers is Service of the Heart, a Jewish prayer book I first acquired back in 1974, when I was living in Wexford.
This Service of the Heart was published in London over half a century ago by the Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues in 1967. Two of the principal contributors to this book were Rabbi John Rayner and Rabbi Chaim Stern, who wrote or rewrote many of the prayers.
My prayer this evening seems appropriate as I prepare for next week’s 75th anniversary commemorations of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In another part of this book, Rabbis Chaim Stein says ‘Auschwitz and Hiroshima are among the dread and tragic symbols of this age.’
This prayer, however, comes from The Language of Faith, edited by Nahum N Glatzer, and it came in turn from Likkutey Tefillot, a collection of personal prayers ascribed to Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav (1772-1811):
May it be Your will that war and bloodshed shall vanish from the earth, and that a great and glorious peace may reign in all the world. Let all who dwell on earth perceive and understand the basic truth, that we have not come into this world for strife and discord, hatred and envy, greed and bloodshed, but that we have come into this world only to know You and understand You, who are to be praised for ever.
Let Your glory fill our minds and our hearts. Teach us so to use our skills and understanding that through us Your presence may come to dwell on earth, and that Your power and the splendour of Your kingdom may be known to all mankind, Amen.