Prayer Offered for April 29, 2024

We are coming to the close of the Jewish holiday of Passover in which we eat matzah, a flat bread that recalls our ancestors’ fleeing slavery centuries ago—so quickly that they didn’t have time to let their dough rise.

Passover tells a triumphant story of overcoming oppression yet at our Passover ritual, we split a piece of matzah in half to symbolize brokenness. This year, our breaking-apart ritual reflects our very broken world.

Where do we feel that brokenness today?

We feel it across our state, on our college campuses, in our city halls

and in the tents that line our streets

in Jewish communities, we are feeling it everywhere since the horrors of the October 7th massacre in Israel, and the war in Gaza where so many are suffering.

In the largely LGBTQI+ community I serve, we feel torn, lonely, and targeted.

Jewish mystical tradition teaches that the universe is fractured, it is our job as human beings to notice the broken pieces all around us and put them back together. Whether we reach out to someone in pain with kindness or enact just laws, we ask that each of our actions, how will this mend our broken world?

Today, we recognize in this space Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day which commemorates the horrors that began with Kristallnacht, the night of broken glass in which Jewish businesses and communities were literally shattered by the Nazis. We grieve the millions of Jews and others who were killed as we recall the progression during the 1930s from antisemitic rhetoric, to violence, to anti-Jewish laws… We all know where the story was headed, but they did not.

Europe’s Jews thought they were at home. Today in the United States, after years of relative calm, my entire lifetime, we struggle with the recent spike in antisemetic acts.

All of us can continue to pick up the broken shards of this world, for ourselves, and others. Where do you see brokenness around you?

What actions will you take to mend this world?

The book of Psalms reads, “G-d is close to the brokenhearted.”

G-d of compassion, I pray that You can hold us in our brokenness and give us the strength to hold one other in compassion.

G-d who encourages us to question, grant us the ability to pause when we think we’re right, to listen to other voices that might be difficult to hear.

G-d of the in-between spaces, teach us to see nuance and complexity when we’re surrounded by slogans.

G-d of the brokenhearted, guide us to mend this broken world with strength and resilience.—AMEN.

Rabbi Mychal Copeland
Prayer Date