Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Jewish Blessing for Mothers' Day

So, have you heard the one about the Jeiwsh mother...? Of course, who hasn't heard one!?

But seriously, it struck me this year that in almost 20 years in the Rabbinate, I had never attempted to create a prayer for the Shabbat of Mothers' Day weekend (insert your own Freudian crack here!), and decided to make up for it. What came out was :

A Jewish Prayer for Mother’s Day

Heavenly Parent – who gives the best to both mothers AND fathers – on this Shabbat, as we begin the weekend dedicated to mothers, we offer thanks for those attributes you have placed in mothers throughout time.

You are our Creator, and every birth of a newborn child reminds us of your role in the miracle of creating new life, with all its wonders and mysteries. Thank You for endowing mothers with the strength to carry and to bear their children, and the willingness to do it again after the first time!

You are a Nurturing Presence in our lives – we sense Your Presence in moments of comfort and moments of concern. Thank You for giving mothers the patience, the caring, the compassion, and the passion to be willing to give up everything for the protection of their children, and the ability to see in each tiny new step the potential for greatness.

You are our Guide and Teacher – when we walk in Your ways, we find peace and enlightenment. Thank you for giving mothers the wisdom to know when to step in AND when to step back in the lives of their children, how to lead without forcing, and when to follow silently, but protectively.

You are the Answer to all the mysteries of the universe – we try to seek Your truth, but know in our hearts that we are only worthy to glimpse a small piece of the world as You see it. Thank You for endowing mothers with that motherly 6th sense – to know when her child needs her, to know the answer to the question that cannot even be asked, to put aside her own feelings in a moment of her child’s need.

You are our God, but You are also the God of all Creation – even as we thank You for Jewish mothers and grandmothers throughout the ages, and apologize for the many jokes that have been told at their expense, we thank You as much or more for those mothers who are not yet Jewish, yet are raising our Jewish children and grandchildren with their love and Yours, to be the best Jews they can be.

And, God, with the care and compassion we have learned from You through our mothers and grandmothers, we ask you to keep faith with those for whom the words "Mothers' Day" are not the source of warm and fuzzy memories that they are for the rest of us.  Bring healing to those whose relationships with their mothers were dysfunctional or abusive -- rooted in something other than love.  Keep faith with those who yearn, but have been unable thus far, to become the mothers they dream of being.  Remember them as you remembered Sarah and Rachel.  And bring comfort, strength, and peace to those who continue to mourn the passing of their own child or grandchild.  Help us to recognize their needs on this day and support them as well.

On this special Shabbat, O God, we thank You for giving us mothers, even as we thank our mothers for helping to give us You. Bless them as You blessed our foremothers – Sarah, Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel – with the grace of good humor, the wisdom and strength of tradition, with beauty inside and out. Amen

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