These very dark days have brought us, both as individuals and as a community, to a wide range of emotions.
In times such as these, we have turned to the Book of Psalms again and again because we can recognize — as in a distant mirror — so many of those emotions in those who have long preceded us and whose words and thoughts still resonate. Praying these ancient words enables us to give voice to the depths of our own pain and helps us feel less alone in what we experience today.
We offer seven psalms as suggestions for a liturgical response to our individual and collective emotions, including grief, fear, rage (even at God), desperation, shock at the incomprehensibility of human evil, faith and doubt, yearning, and hope.
Each psalm is preceded by a brief superscription of our own, indicating why it is especially appropriate for the present circumstances. Some may want to select from these for use in services or communal gatherings. For those who wish to recite as a unit, we have put them in a recommended sequence.
Following these psalms are prayers for Israel, for the Israel Defense Forces, for the redemption of captives, and a general prayer for our people in distress.
Shalom al Yisrael.
Compiled by Rabbis Rob Scheinberg, Gordon Tucker, and Jan Urbach