Meditations on Morning Blessings: Failure, Memory and Change

on the occasion of a bat mitzvah and a young military death, a prayer for mindfulness and action **

    In the midst of the Viet Nam War, the great folk-singer/writer Steve Goodman wrote: “Tonight there’s 50,000 gone in that unhappy land, and 50,000 Heart ‘n Souls being played with just one hand.” Today, here and around the world, there are still too many empty spaces in the lives of young people… too many un-drunk welcome-home beers, too many lives reduced to a photo on a t-shirt, too many unshared stories, and too many unmaterialized adulthoods.

    In memory of the lost and for the ones we might yet save, let us pray:

As we celebrate the flourishing of some young people in our community, let us be ever aware of our many youth with no such opportunities for learning, support, and affirmation… or even the chance to grow up.

Keep us mindful: when young people suffer injustice or die in violence — whether in wars, declared or otherwise, or in seemingly endless street violence — it is the elders who have failed.

In honor of the many who do not thrive or survive, let us redouble our prayers for justice and peace.
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Shoftim: A Path to Follow

When in your war against a city you have to besiege it a long time in order to capture it, you must not destroy its trees, wielding the ax against them. You may eat of them, but you must not cut them down. Are trees of the field human [ki ha-adam eitz ha-sadeh] to withdraw before you into the besieged city? Only trees which you know do not yield food may be destroyed….
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