A Kaddish after Gun Violence, for When Humanity Fails Itself

October 2, 2017Rabbi Paul Kipnes

Yitgadal v'yitkadash sh'may rabba...
Exalted and Holy be Your great name...

Yet little feels holy today.

Another mass shooting
An incomprehensible horror
Too many dead and too many wounded
And we are left
to mourn
the dead
to heal
the wounded
to wonder

...b’alma di v'ra chirutei…
…in the world which You God created, according to plan…

But is this part of Your plan?
That death and destruction emerges from the free will You entrusted to us
That automatic gunfire rains down unceasingly
That people kill people, using weapons we designed and created with the minds You accorded us

...v'yamlich malchutei, b'chayeichon uv'yomeichon…
...may Your majestic love be revealed, in the days of our lifetime…

In your Torah we are taught,
When Moses and the Israelites stood praying at the shores of the Red Sea while the Egyptians army was bearing down on them, You called out to us "Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the Israelites to move on." (Ex 14:15).

So help us move on
Not by forgetting this horror
Not by explaining it away
Not by blaming the easy targets

But by having courage to
Mourn the dead
Heal the victims
Bless the first responders

Lead with love
Change the laws
And save lives

…y'hei sh'lama raba min sh'maya, v'chayim aleinu…
…may there (soon) be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us…

Peace that comes
because we did not
become inured to the continual violence in our our houses of worship and our concert venues, our schools, our malls, and our neighborhoods

and we did not
allow the calls for prayers to turn us away from the actions we must take to end mass shootings
But because we did
Have the courage to stand up, speak up, act out

…oseh shalom bimromav, Hu yaaseh shalom aleinu,
...may the One who creates harmony on high, bring peace to us,

v'al kol Yisrael, v’al kol yoshvei teivel,
to all Israel, and all the world,

So one day Your world, free from this violence,
will finally reflect Your exaltedness and holiness.

…and we say:


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