Rabbi Danielle Upbin sent us a prayer she wrote for the Gulf of Mexico. The good news is that it looks like maybe, please God, the leak has been capped. The bad news is: it’s been leaking since April. We killed the ocean. As we ready ourselves to take part in restorative measures, to aid in the process of cleaning the Gulf, we offer this prayer to God for strength and healing:
A Prayer for the Gulf of Mexico
Ribono Shel Olam, Master of the Universe, “Maker of the heavens and earth, the seas and all they contain,” Oseh shamayim va’aretz et ha’ayam v’et kol asher bam (Psalm 146): Grant protection and sheltering peace to the myriads of living creatures who make their watery home in the Gulf of Mexico. Shield them from the slick, suffocating forces of the oil geyser. Guard every turtle and every fish, every crawling creature and every swimming creature. Protect each and every organism, from microbe to mammal. As the Psalmist said: Mah Rabu ma’asecha Y-AH kulam b’chochmah asitah… “How great are your works, Oh, Breath of Life, with Wisdom you created it all.” The earth is filled with your creatures. Here is the great, vast sea, teeming with numberless living things, great and small… All of them look to You (Psalm 104). Let us cease from obscuring Your countenance with our contaminants.
Ha’Borei-– Creator of the Universe: Grant us the ability to act responsibly with Your planet. To till and to tend it, to guard it and to guide it, to preserve it and to ensure that there is a healthy earth for us and for the next generation to enjoy. Awaken in us the spirit of stewardship, to use our resources wisely, to create alternative sustainable energy , to love and to live deeply in harmony with all of Your Creation. We are but sojourners on this planet of Yours, as it says in Your Torah, Ki li ha’aretz, ki gerim v’toshavim, atem imadi “For the land is Mine; you are but strangers resident with Me” (Vayikra 25:23).
We recall Your covenant never to destroy the earth again; may we be strengthened as partners in Creation, also, to never destroy the earth. May we return from our environmental aveirot, sins, and set our path straight for a cleaner, clearer and healthier planet.
Let us say, Amen.
Rabbi Danielle Upbin is the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom in Clearwater FL.