The recent heinous act of terror by Hamas against the people of Israel has left us all devastated and deeply shaken. As more details emerge, the chilling extent of the atrocities that took place on that fateful Saturday morning becomes even more harrowing. Innocent families were mercilessly slaughtered in their own homes; women faced unspeakable violence; children were treated with inhumane cruelty, and countless civilians are now being held captive. The scale of the horrors, some too vile to even articulate, is overwhelming. With the death toll now surpassing 1,200 and rising, the looming prospect of an IDF ground invasion of Gaza fills us with anxiety.
Please join us in fervent prayer for the safety of the brave Israeli soldiers who stand guard on the frontlines and for the protection of the civilians of Israel who live under the constant threat of rocket fire. Ask the Lord to bestow healing upon the wounded, comfort the traumatized and swiftly and safely bring home all those held against their will.
May peace prevail, and may the cycle of violence and hatred come to an end.
Here are some select Psalms to recite:
In Psalm 22, King David cries out to God amidst profound suffering. Feeling forsaken by the Lord, he endures ridicule and persecution from brutal adversaries, comparing them to animals in a way that is eerily reminiscent of the animalistic foes we confront today. Yet, David recalls the enduring faith of his ancestors. They sought the Lord in their dire moments and found deliverance. This propels David to plea: “Save my life from the sword, my precious life from the clutches of a dog. Deliver me from a lion’s mouth; from the horns of wild oxen rescue me” (verses 21-22). Through this prayer, David realizes that despite his trials, God remains close, listening intently to the cries of the faithful.
But David’s overarching desire extends beyond his immediate salvation. He yearns for the day when God’s sovereignty will be universally acknowledged, and he will no longer face adversaries. “Let all the ends of the earth pay heed and turn to the LORD, and the peoples of all nations prostrate themselves before You; for kingship is the LORD’s and He rules the nations.” (verses 28-29).
We pray for the time when the entire world will recognize God as king, and when evil will be completely eradicated from this world.
For the leader; on ayyeleth ha-shaḥar.-a A psalm of David.
My God, my God, why have You abandoned me; why so far from delivering me and from my anguished roaring?
My God, I cry by day—You answer not; by night, and have no respite.
But You are the Holy One, enthroned, the Praise of Israel.
In You our fathers trusted; they trusted, and You rescued them.
To You they cried out and they escaped; in You they trusted and were not disappointed.
But I am a worm, less than human; scorned by men, despised by people.
All who see me mock me; they curl their lips, they shake their heads.
“Let him commit himself to the LORD; let Him rescue him, let Him save him, for He is pleased with him.”
You drew me from the womb, made me secure at my mother’s breast.
I became Your charge at birth; from my mother’s womb You have been my God.
Do not be far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.
Many bulls surround me, mighty ones of Bashan encircle me.
They open their mouths at me like tearing, roaring lions.
My life ebbs away: all my bones are disjointed; my heart is like wax, melting within me;
my vigor dries up like a shard; my tongue cleaves to my palate; You commit me to the dust of death.
Dogs surround me; a pack of evil ones closes in on me, like lions [they maul] my hands and feet.
I take the count of all my bones while they look on and gloat.
They divide my clothes among themselves, casting lots for my garments.
But You, O LORD, be not far off; my strength, hasten to my aid.
Save my life from the sword, my precious life from the clutches of a dog.
Deliver me from a lion’s mouth; from the horns of wild oxen rescue me.
Then will I proclaim Your fame to my brethren, praise You in the congregation.
You who fear the LORD, praise Him! All you offspring of Jacob, honor Him! Be in dread of Him, all you offspring of Israel!
For He did not scorn, He did not spurn the plea of the lowly; He did not hide His face from him; when he cried out to Him, He listened.
Because of You I offer praise in the great congregation; I pay my vows in the presence of His worshipers.
Let the lowly eat and be satisfied; let all who seek the LORD praise Him. Always be of good cheer!
Let all the ends of the earth pay heed and turn to the LORD, and the peoples of all nations prostrate themselves before You;
for kingship is the LORD’s and He rules the nations.
All those in full vigor shall eat and prostrate themselves; all those at death’s door, whose spirits flag, shall bend the knee before Him.
Offspring shall serve Him; the Lord’s fame shall be proclaimed to the generation
to come; they shall tell of His beneficence to people yet to be born, for He has acted.
In Psalm 35, David urgently beckons God to rise in his defense against his adversaries. Amidst encroaching threats, he fervently prays for divine refuge. With his enemies defeated, David promises to rejoice and praise God.
In verse 10, David poetically yearns for a time when all of his bones will engage in praising God. The Sages wonder what situation would allow him to serve his Creator with all his bones. Some commandments are done with one’s mind, others with the mouth, and some with one’s limbs, but what commandment encompasses the entire body? The answer is the command to settle the Land of Israel. King David was yearning to live peacefully in Israel, where one’s entire body is completely immersed in God’s chosen land.
“Take up my cause, O LORD my God, as You are beneficent, and let them not rejoice over me. Let them not think, “Aha, just what we wished!” Let them not say, “We have destroyed him!” May those who rejoice at my misfortune be frustrated and utterly disgraced; may those who vaunt themselves over me be clad in frustration and shame” (verses 24-26).
David’s prayer is our prayer as well. O Lord, shield us from foes, that we may devote ourselves wholly to You and live in peace in Your sacred land!
Of David. O LORD, strive with my adversaries, give battle to my foes,
take up shield and buckler, and come to my defense;
ready the spear and javelin against my pursuers; tell me, “I am your deliverance.”
Let those who seek my life be frustrated and put to shame; let those who plan to harm me
fall back in disgrace.
Let them be as chaff in the wind, the LORD’s angel driving them on.
Let their path be dark and slippery with the LORD’s angel in pursuit.
For without cause they hid a net to trap me; without cause they dug a pit for me.
Let disaster overtake them unawares; let the net they hid catch them; let them fall into it when disaster [strikes].
Then shall I exult in the LORD, rejoice in His deliverance.
All my bones shall say, “LORD, who is like You? You save the poor from one stronger than he,
the poor and needy from his despoiler.”
Malicious witnesses appear who question me about things I do not know.
They repay me evil for good, [seeking] my bereavement.
Yet, when they were ill, my dress was sackcloth, I kept a fast— may what I prayed for happen to me!
I walked about as though it were my friend or my brother; I was bowed with gloom, like one mourning for his mother.
But when I stumble, they gleefully gather; wretches gather against me, I know not why; they tear at me without end.
With impious, mocking grimace they gnash their teeth at me.
O Lord, how long will You look on? Rescue me from their attacks, my precious life, from the lions,
that I may praise You in a great congregation, acclaim You in a mighty throng.
Let not my treacherous enemies rejoice over me, or those who hate me without reason wink their eyes.
For they do not offer amity, but devise fraudulent schemes against harmless folk.
They open wide their mouths at me, saying, “Aha, aha, we have seen it!”
You have seen it, O LORD; do not hold aloof! O Lord, be not far from me!
Wake, rouse Yourself for my cause, for my claim, O my God and my Lord!
Take up my cause, O LORD my God, as You are beneficent, and let them not rejoice over me.
Let them not think, “Aha, just what we wished!” Let them not say, “We have destroyed him!”
May those who rejoice at my misfortune be frustrated and utterly disgraced; may those who vaunt themselves over me be clad in frustration and shame.
May those who desire my vindication sing forth joyously; may they always say, “Extolled be the LORD who desires the well-being of His servant,”
while my tongue shall recite Your beneficent acts, Your praises all day long.