I remember the Columbine tragedy so clearly--I was in high school then. It sent a shockwave through all of us. Those kids were our age.
But elementary school children? Kids barely older than my daughter?
How does one speak to this in any sufficient way?
Over and over today, I've hugged my daughter and cried and cried. It hurts so much, the thought of those children, their siblings, their parents.
I don't know how to pray today.
I offer you the words of a rabbi in the absence of my own.
A Prayer in Wake of a School Shooting
in mourning and solidarity with the community of Newtown, Connecticut
Your children and teachers
are dead and wounded.
Our souls are burning with anguish.
Until When, Adonai?! (Ps. 6:3)
How long must we fear?
You have given us the tools of progress,
and we wield them to hurt.
Our plowshares have jagged edges,
and children are dying.
We have sinned.
And we continue to sin.
We have not done what we can.
We could have saved precious lives
by changing our ways
and we have not.
Your children, our children,
dead and wounded.
We ask You, Adonai, for
the strength to face what numbs us,
the strength to hear the screams,
the resolve to not let our vulnerability make us feel powerless.
We are not.For we.
Adonai, we are your images,
and we are being erased.
We are erasing ourselves,
and in so doing we are erasing You.
We have so much accursed power.
It is the curse of this power
and the sin that waits by the door (Gen. 4:7)
that leads us to permit evil,
which is the same as doing it ourselves,
which is the same as erasing the Holy Name.
Dear God, this hurts so much.
Teach us, Guide us,
Make us save each other.
Dear vulnerable images of God,
here and everywhere,
we pray that you,
in God's Name,
and in the name of those souls we have lost,
remember that comforting each other might come first,
but the need will come again if nothing changes.
We can master this evil. (Gen. 4:7)
May this world no no more hatred and violence.
May people live in peace.
Rabbi Menachem Creditor