For the past four years, I’ve taken great comfort in the many reminders in Jewish liturgy that we don’t worship any human king or person – we answer to G!d, the Royalty above royalty, Melekh Malkhei ha’Melakhim, the king of kings, the Sabbath Queen, the Source of Life. It helped me keep perspective, and reminded me that earthly rulers come and go. I prayed in my heart for four years that this day would come, and it has.
But today, I’m still praying.
In moments of joy, anxiety, wondering, hoping, when we find ourselves at a loss for more words of analysis… we can pray. It’s not a substitute for action, but it’s something you can do today, in community. So here is a prayer for Inauguration Day, written by myself along with Rabbi Deena, and members of Mishkan’s staff. If you want to add your voice to a growing communal prayer, join our Community Slack channel.
Sending you love, prayer, gratitude and joy in having reached this moment,
Prayer for Inauguration Day
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה, יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ, מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה
Barukh atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam,
shehecheyanu, v’kiy’manu, v’higiyanu laz’man haZeh.
We bless You, Source of Life, who gave us life, has held us up,
and enabled us to witness this moment.
May the Source of Life bless our new government as they take office today. We pray today for a peaceful transfer of power in the United States of America.
We pray that President Joseph Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as everyone elected and appointed to serve our country, assume their places as the new leadership without violence or bloodshed.
May our new leaders be empowered to follow the best of our collective wisdom traditions, pursuing justice, equity, honesty, compassion and dignity for everyone in this land, those who want to make their home here, and for the land itself.
May our country truly reflect the values of equality and freedom that it has represented since its founding, yet never fully lived into. May all people in this land pursue life, liberty, love and happiness without fear, bias, intimidation or inequity.
Source of Healing, help us heal our democracy and make tikkun/repair, from the past four years, and the past four hundred years. May our leaders guide us with strong and courageous hearts, as God blessed Joshua, to shape policies that repair the harm caused to so many. May our next chapter be one of accountability and truth-telling, vision and healing.
In the words of Isaiah, “May it be Your will to spread a great and wonderful peace over the whole world, ‘so that we can turn our swords into plowshares,” and in the words of the poet Yehuda Amichai, “And don’t stop at ploughshares… may they turn their plowshares into musical instruments.”
May we begin to sing a new song — one that we, our children and grandchildren will be proud to sing.