Dearest G‑d,

Mi Keamcha Yisroel, “Who is like your People, the Nation of Israel!”

She stands under the wedding canopy. Your treasured bride. Mount Sinai towers above, Your clouds of Glory envelop her, as she vows to remain forever faithful and loyal to You. And so, with the love of a new bride for her groom, the Jewish Nation follows You from her wedding into the barren wilderness of the desert. Wandering from place to place. A life without a home to call her own. Without the assurance of a well-stocked fridge or pantry. Without a source of income to rely upon. She clings faithfully to her beloved G‑d, believing that each day will bring a fresh supply of manna, that He will protect and sustain her, and ultimately bring her to the long-awaited Promised Land.

She stares evil in the eye every day as she waits on line for her daily ration of bread. The darkness engulfs her. Torn from her family and childhood home, she knows not when and if she will ever return. But on that Passover night, she gathers her fellow inmates and there in the center of their Auschwitz barracks, they hold hands and sing a tune. Their tears flow as they sway to the heartrending song of Ani Ma’amin: “I believe” in the coming of Moshiach. It is the song of a people, battered and broken, yet clinging with unwavering faith to their G‑d; they are absolutely certain that He is there in Auschwitz with them, and will one day soon bring them home to their long-awaited Promised Land.

I stand among the jubilant crowd; their joy is infectious. The stars twinkling in the night sky above seem to echo the song and dance of the people below. The community winds its way through the streets leading to the synagogue, where the newly written Torah scroll will be welcomed into its new home. I cannot hold back my tears as I look to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law at the center of the crowd. They recently lost their precious 13-year-old son. They want nothing more than to clutch their dear child in their arms again, to sing and dance with him to the synagogue. But with inner strength and faith that I cannot fathom, they have channeled their intense grief into the writing of a Torah scroll; a Torah that will uplift, inspire and guide their community. They will hold that Torah close to their hearts, drinking from the wellsprings of faith and G‑dly connection that flow from its holy words. Because they know with absolute faith that one day very soon, they will once again hug their son in their loving embrace as G‑d returns His People to all their loved ones in our long-awaited Promised Land.

Indeed, Mi Keamcha Yisroel, “Who is like Your People, the Nation of Israel!”

Dear G‑d, we are in the midst of the Three Weeks of mourning for the loss of our Holy Temple. We are no longer the starry-eyed couple that stood under the chuppah all those years ago with a fragile and innocent love. We are the longtime couple of a marriage many decades ago, whose connection is bound by a force so deep and unbreakable; a love born of weathering “real life” together. We have experienced the most sublime and miraculous of times; and the most painful and challenging as well. We have shared and reveled in life’s abundant blessings; we have cried through intense sorrow and grief. And though we may have strayed and faltered at times, we have always returned in love and faith to You.

And now, dear G‑d, the time has come to bring us home. More than just physical estrangement from our Holy Land, exile has inhibited our ability to fully experience our essential spiritual connection with You. How we have yearned to see and feel Your presence, Your love and the Divinity that pulsates at the core of all of Creation. We ask You to reveal yourself to us now in the most awesome of revelations, to celebrate the Three Weeks this year with the coming of Moshiach.

The time has come to return us to You and to our long-awaited Promised Land.