From the Desk - Praying for the Jewish People
Shalom Friends! Over the coming weeks, we have a lot of exciting programs! We look forward to an exciting hamantaschen making, a wonderful community Megillah Reading and kids' Purim Carnival as well as the paint night and the Beth Ora Blood Drive! Please see the website for more details. Family Knopf will be going out of town on Sunday for our first trip back to England since we arrived. The temperature in Manchester at the moment is 6 degrees so we look forward to some sun bathing! Carly and I will also be privileged to go on a short trip to Jerusalem for the first time in nearly six years and we are so very excited! In the meantime, we are all working hard on many exciting and meaningful developments in the synagogue and we look forward to telling you more about it after Purim. Wishing you all well for the next couple of weeks, Rabbi Anthony and Carly Knopf Dovid, Rachelli, Yehuda and Avrami
What's the Deal with... Praying for the Jewish People? One of the key ideas in Judaism is the importance of feeling a bond with the entire Jewish People. When a Jew in Israel or anywhere around the world is killed (G-d forbid), we all feel the pain. This is reflected in our prayers in which we pray not only for ourselves and our families but the whole Jewish people. For example, the daily Amidah prayer speaks of Hashem healing the sick of the people of Israel. But Barry Simon asked me the question: We seem not to pray for the rest of the world! What about the rest of humanity? So, what's the deal? It's true that many of our prayers focus on the Jewish people. We see the whole people as our extended family. Just as we feel close to our family, so we feel close to Jews everywhere. On a deeper level, we are bound to Jews because we all have the same destiny. We are all charged by G-d with being an exemplary nation and living lives of holiness. Judaism is not just a religion of individuals but is a religion of the collective. But, at the same time, we are also part of humanity and our prayers do reflect this. On High Holidays, we pray that all of creation come to recognize G-d and we ask Hashem to have pity on all His creations. The great Chafetz Chaim (Rabbi Yisrael Meir Kagan (1839-1933) is reputed to have said that if the Gentiles knew how much we pray for them on High Holidays, they would print machzors! We also say a prayer for the our host country every Shabbat in synagogue. As the great 13th century rabbinic leader Rabbenu Yona wrote, we pray for the welfare of the state because we are to daven for peace in the entire world and to feel pain when others suffer. A person should not make requests for his needs alone but should 'daven for all human beings that they be in a peaceful environment'. May Hashem bless all His creatures with peace and safety.