Counting the Solitude

 SN:  I lately concluded, a person in constant prayer is unassailable. If you are IN God nothing can touch you; not fire, nor lions, nor sword, nor harsh speech, nor bacteria and viruses…. Nothing can touch you. You are unassailable.

If you are required to remain home this is an excellent time to be reading, listening to sermons, praying, with fasting and grief over your sins and our collective sins. Repent, turn back away from sin and toward God. This is a time of warning and an opportunity to change your life for the better forever. As in the days when the ancients fasted, prayed, stayed alone in the dessert wilderness, sat in sack cloth and ashes begging God’s forgiveness, now too is the time for those truly dedicated to God to change their ways and speak to friends or family about the need for us to change and return to God before the entire society is torn asunder.

Modelled on the Jewish practice of counting the days before the Passover High Holy Day Omer, these prayers are for those counting their days in quarantine or lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.

notes taken from an article by RABBI SHARON BARR SKOLNIK AND RABBI HILLEL SKOLNIK  https://www.myjewishlearning.com/

 

Passover 2020

During this unprecedented era, many of us find ourselves restricted to our homes, alone or with loved ones, for an indefinite period of time. We might be feeling scared and anxious, stressed, frustrated, or bored.

This is a time when Jews and Christians call out to God for a solution to their survival problems! What shall we do to retain our business or job positions? How will we manage? We will with God’s help and for that we must pray constantly, changing our ways now, purposefully, actively changing our ways.

Although the future may seem bleak, the opportunities for gratitude, blessings and joy persist.

Just as we purposely count up those 49 days every year before Passover, so too we offer this way of counting up towards the ultimate in-person, regathering of our many communities.

Counting of the Quarantine

In an effort to focus on the things that make our days meaningful — the moments that make our days count — we choose to end each day by counting the quarantine. We suggest that you gather your loved ones, either in person or virtually. Take a few deep breaths. Have each person share at least one instance of gratitude today. While filled with thoughts of appreciation, recite the following together;

Here I am, actively ready to fulfill the mitzvah of saving lives, as the Torah teaches, “and you shall choose life.”

Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu melech ha-olam, ha-oneh b’eit tzarah.

(translation) Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, The One who answers us in our times of crisis.

If you’ve listened to evil rumors all of your life and imagined Jews doing unspeakable things during Passover, now you can learn a little of what they really do. They eat together and pray, and remember the horrors their forebearers passed through at the hands of the ancient Egyptians.

Today is the first day of the quarantine.

After the blessing has been recited and the day counted, choose a physical reminder of the completed day, such as:

    • A sticker on a calendar
    • Marbles in a jar
    • Coins in a tzedakah box (see-through preferred) This is a collection box for giving charity. Giving charity is a central most important doctrine of Judaism. “Give, give until it hurts, then give more!”
    • Jumping jacks corresponding to the days
    • Find something in your house that you have the same number of

Although none of us yet knows when this time of quarantine will end, we hope and pray that it will be soon, that God will hear our prayers for healing, and will bring us and our children back to a time when we can all be normally social, instead of socially-distant.

Ensuing Days

The intention is to keep us reminded to be constantly in prayer and even imagining ourselves One with God! First we count the days, then the weeks, noting that each is important and matters equally. Below are some more examples of how to count the days and.

 

Day Two

Today is the second day of the quarantine. Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, The One who answers us in our times of crisis.

Add in something important to you, for example, “Accept my repentence from my sins and protect me and my people from the horrors of the sickness and other problems around us.”

Day Seven

Today is the seventh day, which is one week of the quarantine. Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Creator of the Universe, The One who answers us in our times of crisis. We are so thankful O Lord for your kindness and generosity toward us. By your all sufficient grace we will preserved and finally made one in You.

And of course you can end with “In Jesus Holy Name….” or however you end prayers. I personally don’t use Amen any more because “Amen” is too much like (and might come from the name of) an ancient god Ammon. So I have taught myself to break the old habit and thank God instead.

Day Seventeen

Today is the seventeenth day, which is two weeks and three days of the quarantine. Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Creator of Eternity and our lives. You are the One who answers us in our times of crisis. We praise your Holy Name and seek your face and your voice. Remember your promises, hear our prayers, forgive and receive us forever and forever and thank you Lord for all things

 

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