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Reflection and Prayer for a Nation At War

By Rabbi Jill Hammer

Once, when Joshua was at Jericho, he looked up
and there was a man standing opposite him
with a drawn sword in his hand.

Joshua went to him and said to him:
Are you for us or for our enemies?

He said, No.
I am the captain of God's army.
Now I have come!

Joshua fell face down to the ground
And bowed and said:
What does my lord command his servant?

The captain of God's army said to Joshua:
Take your shoes from your feet
For the ground where you stand is holy.

And Joshua did so.

Joshua 5:13-15

God of hosts,
as our nation embarks on war,
we pause to remember that You do not choose sides.
You are neither for us nor for our enemies.
You are on the side of holiness.
May we continue to strive for holiness
even in anger, even in fear.
You are called adon milchamot, master of wars,
but You are also called adon hashalom, master of peace.
Make us know that You watch every battlefield
to see what is done there.
May You guard the innocents who are always victims of war.
May You lend a just ear to those who pray to you for safety.
May You bring us from war to peace quickly
so that we may honor the sacredness of life,
as You have taught us.

If we dared to take the shoes from our feet
and feel the ground beneath us
we would know that the earth has no borders.
We would know that your army
is not an army of force
but an army of justice and peace.
Help us to bring a time when everyone on earth
will sit under a vine or a fig tree
with none to make them afraid.