From the Rabbi: Prayer of Responsibility

The following prayer was offered during Etz Hayim’s Special Prayer and Meditation Service Against Gun Violence on Saturday, February 24, 2018.

Prayer of Responsibility:

Parkland, Florida; Stoneman Douglas High School. A disturbed young man took up an assault rifle and took away 17 lives and injured 14 others.

He did it because he was angry: about a girlfriend, about other people who did not support him, about the ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend…

He destroyed the lives, the dreams, the hopes of friends and families.
I wonder why it is the girlfriend’s, or anyone else’s responsibility that he felt the way he felt.

I wonder why, in the world we live in, in our country, we feel entitled to place the responsibility for our feelings and emotions on other people. I wonder when the idea that “my reactions to other people’s actions are not my responsibility” took hold.

Everyone must be responsible for their own feelings.

Everyone must be responsible for their personal reactions.

God, help us never lose the perspective that every life is important. God, make us conscious that no persons’ feelings are more important than someone else’s life.

God, help us be responsible for our feelings. Eternal, Source of Wisdom,
guide us to find the pathways to end gun violence in our country.

May people of all races and creeds find a way to live together,
in peace and harmony, responsible for their feelings and actions,
holding up other people’s lives with the same regard they have for their own.

Help us demand from our authorities that we are safe and that people with a history of mental illness have no access to weapons. May no interest or political position be more important than anyone’s life.

In God’s name we demand that in our country, it is clear that more than any other right, we have the right to be alive.