Rabbi Jonah Dev Pesner: Writing a Shared Story

Adapted from the Invocation by Rabbi Pesner at the Inauguration of Governor Deval Patrick, January 2007.

LEADER:

In the Talmud, the ancient rabbis teach that whenever we encounter a large gathering of people, it is appropriate to offer the following blessing:

ALL:

Blessed is the Wise One

Who understands secrets

For the mind of each

Is different from the other

Just as the face of each

Is different from the other

LEADER:

Look around! See the beauty of the faces,

Each one unique

Reflecting the very image

Of the Divine

Each one from a common source

A single, sacred family.

ALL:

Yet behind every face

Hide so many secrets.

Private, painful secrets of suffering.

LEADER:

Revealing all the secrets,

The pained suffering

Of parents who watch helpless

As their children are plagued

By guns, drugs, and gangs

ALL:

The private pain

Of children struggling to care for their parents

As they age and grow frail,

LEADER:

The secret suffering of immigrants

Who like us came to this place

To seek a better life

ALL:

Of our gay brothers and lesbian sisters

Who daily confront blatant discrimination,

Inequality and humiliation

LEADER:

Of those who sleep in the streets,

Those who are overworked and underpaid,

Those who are abused in their own homes

Those who are left behind

By their disabilities.

So many secrets,

Private sufferings.

ALL:

Yet we have hope.

Yes we have faith.

Because we have each other.

LEADER:

Let our secrets of suffering

Give way to stories of

Rebuilding

Repair

And Redemption

ALL:

God, grant us your wisdom

To write one shared story:

LEADER:

The story of a commonwealth

That acts like a commonwealth

Where secrets of private suffering

Where tales of lonely languish

Are joined

Through the power of the people

Rising up

Together

Encountering one another

Face to face

And writing a new story

One story