I haven’t prayed much since my cancer diagnosis. Not that I ever prayed much. God was fiction, a comfort for creatures addicted to reason. It’s funny how humans use religion to comfort the ill and justify their illness, perhaps the peril of leaving a human creation in human custody. Yet I yearned for prayer. What else can you do but pray when villainous mutations silently stalk your body from within. As I opened my siddur, the phone rang — my doctor with biopsy results. “Rabbi, it seems your immune system killed the cancer. It’s honestly a miracle, an act of God.”
This piece was published by NuRoots in collaboration with Jewish Book Council as part of NuRoots’ Awe in a Flash project for In Awe — seven weeks of virtual gatherings and D.I.Y. experiences that explore a season of expansiveness, reflection, and astonishment. See the other pieces here and here.
Alex is a Los Angeles rabbi that loves hip hop, coffee, and justice. Check out his Hip Hop High Holiday project RAP-ENTANCE at alexkress.com.