Several National Service volunteers in Israel were trying to dull the drums of war beating throughout the region over the chemical weapons attack in Syria last week with a prayer for peace.
According to the haredi portal Kikar Hashabat, the group of volunteers, who are serving in Petach Tikva's Bnei Akiva branch, asked influential Rabbi Yuval Cherlow to pen a prayer for the Syrian people, whose country has been engulfed in civil war for the past two and a half years.
"We propose that the Dan [regional] division of the Bnei Akiva movement pray for an end to the massacre in Syria," the volunteers wrote.
Cherlow, moved by the initiative, told the volunteers that they should read Psalms 37 and 120, and offered to write a prayer for the people of Syria that they could append to the psalms.
Bnei Akiva Director Danny Hirschberg approved the idea and called on members of the movement to add a special prayer for the Syrian people this Saturday, according to the report.
The report published Cherlow's prayer:
"Master of the universe, Who makes peace on high,
"Although we are not authorized to canonize new prayers, we can no longer look upon the atrocity done in Your world and not pray about it. Although we know that both sides in the war have savagely shed blood, we cannot remain silent while so many noncombatants have become casualties.
"We turn to You in prayer that You may awaken the simple humanity and quality of mercy in the murderers, and the recognition that we were all created in God's image, and that even cruelty has limits. What is written in the Torah should be revealed in the world: 'Whoever sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God He made man.'
"Send us the wisdom to know how to act at this difficult time, when the dark side of man's evil inclination again appears, and we don't know what we must do facing this bitter reality. Send us the ability to prevent bloodshed in the world, and especially in this great Holy Land, about which You wrote in your Torah: 'Do not pollute the land where you are. Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it.'
"May God who makes peace on high, make peace upon us and upon all Israel, and let us say amen."