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Tefillat HaOlam: A Prayer of the World

By Rabbi Arthur Waskow


You, O Holy One of Being

Interbreathing of all life

Known to all Your cultures and communities

By many sacred Names

You, YyyyHhhhWwwwHhhh  (pronounce by just breathing)

Who breathe transforming life into us

Just as we breathe a transforming Voice into the Shofar

You, Who breathe life into us all

So that we breathe in what the trees breathe out

And the trees breathe in what we breathe out

You who breathe into us the wisdom

To shape our breath into words

To shape our words so that they aim

Toward wisdom.  ­


May the words we are with Your help sharing today

Speak deeply ­— with Your help — to our nation and the world.

Help us all to know that the sharing of our breath with all of life

Is the very proof, the very truth, that we are One.


These ancient words remind us:

"I am the Interbreathing of all life,

And of Me, for Me, from Me, with Me,

Comes all the Earth.

You do not own it.

You must not poison and destroy it.

You must share its bounty with all life

For you are but My guests and visitors." (paraphrased from Leviticus 25)


Remind us that if some few among us

Drunk on their own wealth and power

Pour poison into earth and air and water

Then it is poison that we ALL eat and breathe and drink.

Our sustenance arises from the interweb of life

And it is only through greed and through coercion

That it is gobbled and poisoned by the few.


Together today we call upon our selves

And all our neighbors

To prevent the over-burning of our fossil fuels

That imposes drought and famine on our farms

Floods our rivers and our coastlines

Scorches our planet.


We know that what we call the Climate Crisis

Is a crisis in the balance of the gases

In our planet's atmosphere

A crisis in the Breathing of our planet

A Crisis in Your Name


Yes, a crisis in the very Name of God.


So we light for You this candle

This fire of enlightenment

To light up the Rainbow

In the many-colored faces of Your human cultures

And in the many-colored faces of all life-forms

To affirm that the Earth is not for burning

To affirm that in all our faces

Is the One Spark of Your Presence.


Send us forth from here

With the commitment to turn these words into action

Into compassion, into justice, into healing

Into shaping the Beloved Community

Throughout the Earth.


We call out

In the Name of the One Who is many

In the name of the many who are One.


And may the people say:

Amen! Ah'meyn! Ah'min!





Rabbi Arthur Waskow is the director of The Shalom Center and he has served on the Green Zionist Alliance slate for the World Zionist Congress.

On The Shalom Center's website you can find essays, prayers, new ceremonies and the reinterpretation of old ceremonies and texts to address the climate crisis and other difficulties in the relationship of adamah — Earth — and adam — humans — in our generation. Also see Rabbi Waskow's books "Godwrestling," "Down-to-Earth Judaism: Food, Money, Sex & the Rest of Life," "Torah of the Earth: 4000 Years of Ecology in Jewish Thought," and "Seasons of Our Joy," all available here.







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