Monday, June 30, 2014

No Prayer Goes Unheard

The day after tens of thousands of Israelis rallied in the middle of Tel Aviv, joining together in their longing for the safe and speedy return of the abducted teenagers, Israel got their wish. Well, sort of. The fates of the boys were finally discovered. Details are still sketchy, but it seems they were murdered soon after their abduction. Is that a relief? Is the fact it's finally over a relief? Can there be any good from such a confusing and sad situation?

I think the love and concern that poured out of strangers for the well-being of these boys, from all over the world, is one consolation. Those prayers don't just disappear simply because they weren't answered the way we wanted them to. The 18 days of prayer can be correlated to the '18' prayer we say several times a day - the Shemonah Esrey. One of the prayers states that God is 'shomeah tefilah' that He hears prayer. It's in the present tense. Our Sages tell us this means that no sincere prayer goes unanswered. It could be that now is not the right time, but those heartfelt please and tears don't fall on deaf ears. Even if you don't believe in God (כ"ו) the positive energy put out into the universe, the unity and love and longing for things to be good - that doesn't just stop being there. It's there, and it will be used.

And let us not forget, that we don't need a heart-stopping event to remind us that we are all one. The next time you find yourself thinking thoughts that distance you from your fellow human, whether it's bearing a grudge, talking gossip, or being jealous, remember how easy it was to see the best in people when we were all on the same team. We still are, that hasn't changed. And that is a relief. 

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