“All that is left to us is our being horrified at the loss of our sense of horror.” Rabbi Abraham Heschel
My heart and prayers are with the victims and families of the mass shooting that took place on Saturday at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. Hearing of such reckless hate that killed mainly elderly members of the congregation, I could not help but think of my precious parents and how it would feel if they had died in such a manner.
Senseless. Horrifying. Because this act of hatred is horrifying.
These last years we Americans have faced multiple mass shootings: 20 children and 6 teachers killed @ Sandy Hook Elementary school in Connecticut; 17 students and teachers @ Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida; 32 college students at Virginia Tech; the killing of 9 African Americans @ Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, SC; 49 members of the LBGTQ community gunned down @ the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL; 58 killed in Las Vegas, 26 killed in Sutherland Springs, TX — and unfortunately the list goes on.
Such deaths may dull our sense of what constitutes horror – is it the number killed, or the manner in which they are killed?
But that’s the point of Rabbi Heschel’s teaching: each and every act of violence should be a wake up call to the horror of hate.
Rabbi Heschel (1907-1972) knew all about hate as one of the few members of his family to survive the Holocaust, yet he did all he could to build bridges of understanding and prayer. As an activist during the Civil Rights era he marched with Martin Luther King, Jr.
“When I marched in Selma, my feet were praying.” Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
My challenge to friends and readers of this blog here and all around the world: do not let acts of senseless violence dull the reality of hate’s horror. Instead, let our feet pray with acts of kindness, courage, and love.
On Friday my sister Shere & I zoomed 9 hours to Ohio for a short visit with our brother Dean and his wife, Lynn. In the aftermath of what happened in Pittsburgh, I took this picture on the return trip in the mountains of Virginia (just over the West Virginia state line.)
May we all plants seeds of love wherever we are so they may grow into trees of peace and understanding – Trees of Life and prayers that unite us.
grace, peace & prayers
“Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living.
Prayer begins where our power ends.” Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel