Responses are ongoing to the terrible harm that has been inflicted on all of the communities that comprise the human family. I heard from my rebbe, Rabbi Brod of blessed memory, that all humans descend from one human being so that no person can claim that their ancestors are better than another’s. Many rabbinic stories describe the dust used to form the Adam, the human being (Gen. 2:7) as having been gathered in many colors from every corner of the earth and even from the oceans. According to the great sage Simeon ben Azzai, the foundational principle of the Torah is that each person is ….created in the image of YHVH…. (Gen. 1:28) We could have found the Holy Presence within each of the children, within each person who has been murdered, but they are gone and entire worlds that they contained are lost to us forever. (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 37a)
Today, I offer a prayer that was developed by people from many traditions including Muslim, Christian and Jewish. To help us envision peace, I turn to the Prophets Isaiah and Micah who at times prophesied similarly, and to a modern day visionary, John Lennon. May all of us pray for peace and do what we can to bring our actions in line with our prayers. I have to believe that every prayer for peace somehow affects the revealed and hidden worlds as do the acts of violence and terror.
An Inter-faith Prayer:
Merciful One, You made all of the people of the world in Your own image and placed before us pathways to holiness through different Teachers, Preachers, Prophets and Saints. But, the contradictions in their teachings and interpretations of them have resulted in creating divisions, hatreds and bloodshed in the world community. Millions of innocent men, women and children have so far been brutally killed by the militants of several religions who have been committing horrifying crimes against humanity, and millions more would be butchered by them in the future, if You do not help us find ways to reunite peacefully.
IN THE NAME OF THE COMPASSIONATE, THE MERCIFUL ONE, look with compassion on the whole human family. Help us to transform passions of arrogance and hatreds into bridges of understanding and acceptance. Help us to circumcise the hardness of our badly infected hearts. Help us to break down the walls of disrespect that separate us, and to reunite us in bonds of love. Please Holy One, work through our struggle and confusion so that all nations, races and religions may jointly serve You in justice and peace. (Amen)
From Isaiah 2:4)
And he shall judge among the nations, and shall decide for many people; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more.
From Micah 4:3-4:
And he shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide concerning far away strong nations; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor shall they learn war any more.
But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid; for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken it.
From John Lennon in “Imagine:”
Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will live as one.
May each of us be inspired towards justice and peace, for without justice there can be no peace!
Shalom, Salem, Pax