At the end of this post is the ancient prayer authored by King Hezekiah that we should be shouting to the heavens
These are frightening times for the People of Israel. The enemy has slaughtered eleven of God’s children in the the middle of Shabbat Prayers in a Synagogue.
It’s a wake-up call for the Jewish People to search our hearts and see what we can change to make ourselves more Godly individuals and a more Godly nation. After all, God attaches his Name to us!
When God’s children while they are praying to Him, it is not just an attack on innocent Jews, but it is an attack on God Himself and a desecration of His holy Name!
When the Jewish People do teshuva (repent and change our ways to a more Godly path), we still may not merit His protection. Our mistakes as individuals and as a nation are many. We still may not merit supernatural Divine protection to stop the enemy through God’s attribute of strict Justice.
However, we can appeal to God’s attribute of Mercy and demand that God stop this horror for the sake of protecting the sanctity of His own name in the world. In truth, that is the historic mission of the Nation of Israel; to teach the world about the One true God. That is where all history is leading to when recite as the final verse of each of our communal prayers, “on that day, God will be one, and His Name will be one.” (Zechariah 14;9)
A terrorist cut down innocent Jews during prayer services in their Sanctuary, shrieking ‘All Jews must die!’ When the enemies of the Jews are successful in their evil mission, it gives them, and the non-Jewish nations watching, the impression that God won’t or can’t do anything to protect His own Nation and His Holy Places. What a horrible desecration of the Name of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob!
So, for thousands of years, as the Jewish people have suffered through our long history, we have turned to God to beseech Him to stop the enemies of the Jews. Not because we think we deserve to be protected, but because we are horrified by what a huge desecration of God’s Name this is causing in the world. “Do it for the sake of Your own Name!”
Over 2700 years ago, King Hezekiah composed the following prayer when Sennacherib besieged the city of Jerusalem. (II Kings 18) The situation seemed hopeless. The righteous Hezekiah went to the Temple and poured his heart out to God with the following words. Jews around the world have been reciting these words literally every Monday and Thursday morning in our long tachanun prayers since at least the middle ages.
If you are Jewish, recite it as below. Non-Jews can replace “us,” “we” and “our” with “the Nation of Israel”
O merciful God of Israel, turn back from Your anger and relent from the evil meant for your people.
Look from the heavens and see that we have become an object of scorn and mockery among the nations; we are considered to be like sheep being led to slaughter, to be killed, destroyed, beaten and humiliated. But despite all this, we have not forgotten Your Name – we beg You not to forget us!
Foreigners say, “There is nothing [for the Jews] to look forward to, no hope!” Be gracious to the Nation of Israel whose hope is in Your Name. O Pure One, bring Your salvation soon. We are exhausted, we have no rest. May your mercies conquer Your anger against us. We beg You, turn back from Your anger and have mercy on the treasured nation that You have chosen.
Listen to our voice and be gracious – do not cast us off into the hand of our enemies to blot out our name. Remember what You swore to our forefathers: “Like the stars of the heaven will I multiply your offspring” — but now we are a few remaining from many. But despite all this, we have not forgotten Your Name — we beg you not to forget us!
Help us God of our salvation, for the sake of Your Name’s glory; rescue us, and cleanse us of the errors of our ways for Your Name’s sake!