How Empty Are Our Prayers?

Our tradition exhorts us to ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

This love should lead us to be a comforting presence to our fellow human beings in times of senseless tragedy. And so, we offer prayers of healing and wholeness yet again. Maybe these prayers can offer some small comfort. Our love for our fellow human beings, created in the image of God, calls us, and our society, to something more, however.

Our country has a sickness. There is no one “cure-all” for this plague of mass shootings; Non-sensical gun laws, political corruption, complacency in the face of a mental health crisis, glorification of violence; All are contributing factors to this sickness.

I share with you some words of my colleague, Rabbi Noah Chertkoff:

The Hebrew prophets spoke with a moral voice. They were not merely foretellers, predicting outcomes; they were forth tellers, calling on our society to move beyond the often intractable and seemingly insurmountable challenges of their day. Ezekiel spoke with a moral voice when called upon by God to tell us “Repent, and turn back from your fetishes and turn your minds away from all your abominations.”

We have a choice to confront this abomination or be passive victims of it. As my colleague continued, “a gun, an object that can kill is not a guarantor of freedom.”

And I add to his words that We are the guarantors of freedom; a prophetic voice for justice is the guarantor of freedom. A voice for greater mental health resources is a guarantor of freedom and shared goodness. And we could add to the list so many more blessings we should make manifest in our world.

May the time speedily come when prayers for those cut down in yet another mass shooting are not necessary because we as a society choose to do something....anything....

God of love and shelter, grant a perfect rest under Your sukkah of peace to the precious and dear souls in Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. May their souls be bound up in the bonds of everlasting life and may they rest in peace.

Grant them Your protection, Your wholeness and healing. Heavenly Guide, put an end to anger, hatred and fear and lead us to a time when no one will suffer at the hand of another speedily and in our day.

May we strengthen one another and our elected leaders so we may bring healing and blessing to our country and world.

Please know I am here for you as your rabbi should you ever need a listening ear. Our sanctuary is also available for private prayers if you feel the need.…/kaddish-after-gun-violence-when…

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