Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Prayers After the Boston Marathon Tragedy

Driving yesterday afternoon I heard on the radio that two bombs had gone off at the Boston Marathon and I immediately said a private prayer. Then my thoughts quickly turned to the people I knew who were running the race. I was on my way to the Jewish Community Center and as soon as I got there I sent a text to a mutual friend to make sure a friend who was running in the marathon was okay. I immediately got a response that she and her family were fine because she had finished the race so quickly (her personal best) and crossed the finish line 15 minutes before the bombs went off.

I then went on Facebook using my phone to check on another friend, Noam Neusner from Washington D.C., who runs the Boston Marathon each year. His Facebook page was already filling up with concerned friends asking if he was okay. Noam's wife Andrea, who waited over ten hours to hear from her husband in New York City on 9/11, then posted that he had finished the race several minutes before the explosions and was fine. Then his own posts began at about 4 PM to let people know he was fine: "Hi everyone I'm fine. Didn't hear explosion, but it's bad. Pls pray for the victims, this is bad."

An event like the attack at the Boston Marathon changes the narrative. How interesting that the marathon runners are now reporting their finish times as "20 minutes before the blasts," "15 minutes before the blast," and so on. And I'm sure there are runners who are thinking of how fortunate they are to have not been running faster as their slower pace kept them from being affected by the explosions.

Psalm for Boston Marathon Tragedy
Photo Credit: USA Today

Like in the days following 9/11 I'm glued to the TV news addicted to the footage and wishing we could go back to the days when all the talking heads reported on was the national budget and the cold weather this spring.

During this difficult time it is important that we also focus our attention on the runners who kept running to help others and donate blood; those who selflessly ripped off their shirts to create tourniquets; and, those who were exhausted from running a marathon but summoned the strength to carry another human being to safety.

Let us pray for those who are grieving and those who are suffering with injuries, as well as for the first responders who are tirelessly doing God's work and helping other human beings.

Psalm 46:

1 For the Leader; [a Psalm] of the sons of Korah; upon Alamoth. A Song.
.א לַמְנַצֵּחַ לִבְנֵי-קֹרַח-- עַל-עֲלָמוֹת שִׁיר

2 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
.ב אֱלֹהִים לָנוּ, מַחֲסֶה וָעֹז; עֶזְרָה בְצָרוֹת, נִמְצָא מְאֹד

3 Therefore will we not fear, though the earth do change, and though the mountains be moved into the heart of the seas;
.ג עַל-כֵּן לֹא-נִירָא, בְּהָמִיר אָרֶץ; וּבְמוֹט הָרִים, בְּלֵב יַמִּים

4 Though the waters thereof roar and foam, though the mountains shake at the swelling thereof. Selah!
.ד יֶהֱמוּ יֶחְמְרוּ מֵימָיו; יִרְעֲשׁוּ הָרִים בְּגַאֲוָתוֹ סֶלָה

5 There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, the holiest dwelling-place of the Most High.
.ה נָהָר--פְּלָגָיו, יְשַׂמְּחוּ עִיר-אֱלֹהִים; קְדֹשׁ, מִשְׁכְּנֵי עֶלְיוֹן

6 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, at the approach of morning.
.ו אֱלֹהִים בְּקִרְבָּהּ, בַּל-תִּמּוֹט; יַעְזְרֶהָ אֱלֹהִים, לִפְנוֹת בֹּקֶר

7 Nations were in tumult, kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
.ז הָמוּ גוֹיִם, מָטוּ מַמְלָכוֹת; נָתַן בְּקוֹלוֹ, תָּמוּג אָרֶץ

8 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our high tower. Selah!
.ח יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת עִמָּנוּ; מִשְׂגָּב-לָנוּ אֱלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב סֶלָה

9 Come, behold the works of the LORD, who hath made desolations in the earth.
.ט לְכוּ-חֲזוּ, מִפְעֲלוֹת יְהוָה-- אֲשֶׁר-שָׂם שַׁמּוֹת בָּאָרֶץ

10 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth;
He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariots in the fire.
י מַשְׁבִּית מִלְחָמוֹת, עַד-קְצֵה הָאָרֶץ
.קֶשֶׁת יְשַׁבֵּר, וְקִצֵּץ חֲנִית; עֲגָלוֹת, יִשְׂרֹף בָּאֵשׁ

11 'Let be, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.'
.יא הַרְפּוּ וּדְעוּ, כִּי-אָנֹכִי אֱלֹהִים; אָרוּם בַּגּוֹיִם, אָרוּם בָּאָרֶץ

12 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our high tower. Selah!
.יב יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת עִמָּנוּ; מִשְׂגָּב-לָנוּ אֱלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב סֶלָה


Susan Piskiel said...

Thank you Rabbi Jason.

Alan Jay Gerber said...

the quality and sentiment was superb.
kol ha kavod
Alan Jay Gerber
The Kosher Bookworm