In the 7th century BCE, Yeshaya, our most quoted prophet, described a feeling of utter brokenness: “My heart cries,” “I will water you with my tears,” “My innards moan like a harp.” (Chapter 16)
Yeshaya was not talking about the Jewish People, though there was plenty to cry about. He was talking about Moav, a nation with a history of ingratitude and maltreatment towards the Jewish People. Their behavior was so repulsive that they were singled out as one of the few nations that cannot marry into the Jewish People. Nonetheless, when the nation of Moav was viciously attacked by Assyria, and her people were brutally taken off to captivity, Yeshaya cried bitterly.
This morning after davening, we said a chapter of Tehillim.
We prayed for the Jewish communities across Ukraine. They are family and it is natural and appropriate to care about family before others.
We prayed for ourselves. Though we are not in imminent danger, this war will likely affect us in one way or another, and it is natural and appropriate to look out for oneself.
Lastly, we prayed for all the people in the region. They are not family. We have a terribly painful history with their ancestors. It may not be natural, and in this case it may be unnatural, but it certainly is appropriate to care and to care deeply about all of humankind.
May we merit to see the day when “Nation shall not raise sword against nation; no more will they learn to make war.”