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A Prayer for these Fire-Filled Days

Henaynu, We are Here because We CareA PRAYER FOR THESE FIRE-FILLED DAYS
By Rabbi Paul J. Kipnes,
Congregation Or Ami, Calabasas, CA

Our God and God of our fathers and mothers,
As the flames burn,
wreaking havoc upon our homes, our hills,
our fire fighters, our sense of security,
we turn to You for comfort and support.

May our homes be safe,
our hills endure,
our fire fighters be protected,
our sense of security renewed.

Guide us
to care for the displaced,
to bring healing to those suffering,
to watch over the animals,
to support those who fight the fires.

Though our attention spans can be so short,
may we be slow to forget
those who were in danger.

And help us remember that we can seek Your presence, even during the flames.
We recall Your Loving Hand, guiding us in our infancy:

In a burning bush, You spoke to Moses, sending him to lead our people out of slavery,
In a pillar of fire, You led our people through the wilderness to the Promised Land,
With black fire on white fire, You wrote the Torah, our guide for living in this world.
Back then, we found our way through Your light.

Be with us now, guiding and comforting us,
during these smoke and fire-filled days.
Draw us close to those harmed by these flames,
hearing their cries,
responding to their needs.
Please bring abundant rain from the heavenly realms
to the fire areas.

And may we embrace at least one lesson spoken aloud again and again,
by so many who – facing the flames – rushed to pack up their valuables:

That memories of love and of time spent with family and friends
are priceless, holy and sacred.
This can never be taken away.

As we rush to meet the challenge of living in this
imperfect world of ours,
May we slow down enough to cherish those
who are truly valuable –
kadosh (holy) – to us.

Baruch Ata Adonai, Hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol.
Blessed are You, O God, who differentiates
between the truly valuable
and everything else.

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