Rabbi Gellman: A Prayer for Va. Tech

Almighty God,

We ask your blessings of comfort descend like the dew of Heaven for the families of those whose children shed their blood into the concrete and spring grass of a place they had come to for learning and not for death. 

We pray also for those who are injured that they might be healed speedily and in our time.  We pray for those who believe in You and we pray for those who do not believe in You.  May they all find their way through this avalanche of grief and woe by their own lights and by the strength of their friends and families.  Comfort them all and heal them all from the wounds of this terrible day.

We also pray for those students and their friends and families who, though not wounded physically, have been traumatized by this senseless act of carnage on their campus and in their lives.  Help them to overcome their fear.  Strengthen them to face the Springtime of their lives with a wounded but still intact hope.

Heal O Lord, we also pray, all the parents and protectors of all the children who are sent off to all the schools in all the mornings of our lives.  Help them to let their children go to school with a smile and a kiss and not a tug and a tear.  We know that the chances of such a bloodbath engulfing them are remote, but like lightning or a sudden storm, we know that the chances for complete safety are an illusion in our wounded world.  We truly and sorrowfully know that some storms cannot be weathered.  So it is with the storm of murderous evil on this day.  We know that we must let them go, but today we do not want to let them go.  Today we only want to hold them close.  Help us all to live with the terrifying challenge of freedom and fate.

In Exodus 19:4 we read that You took us out of Egypt on eagle's wings.  The symbolism of this is lost to many of us who do not know the way of eagles.  Those who watch eagles know that they teach their young to fly by pushing them out of their nests built upon high cliffs and then flying close to them as their chicks fall and flap their untested young wings.  When their young fall too far, the eagle parents swoop down, catch their young on their pinion feathers, and flip them upward into the sky to save them from the rocks below and to give them another chance to reach the sky.  Eagle parents do catch most of their eagle fledglings.  We know this because there are still eagles in the sky.  Still, we know that they do not—they cannot—catch them all.  Nor can we.

Oh dear God, heal us from our grief at the sight of our fallen eagles.  Help us, but mostly help them to find a way to believe Springtime and the blue sky still beckons.

Join the Discussion