Sunday, October 28, 2018

From dying suddenly and unprepared, Good Lord, deliver us

Image result for tree of life synagogue pittsburgh

We are overly accustomed these days to news of violent death, not merely in Kabul and Damascus but in Chicago and London, yet when it strikes a community with which one has great familiarity it takes on a peculiar resonance. Yesterday, in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighbourhood, eleven people died in a shooting at Tree of Life synagogue, past which I often walked between 2004 and 2011.

It is sobering how even places of worship can no longer be assured that their sanctuaries are inviolate (something with which Christians - and those of other faiths - in Africa and Asia have long been familiar). "Am I my brother's keeper," demands Cain of his heavenly Father when confronted with the murder of his brother Abel, already knowing the answer. Today we weep with those weep, but we are also called in the weeks and months ahead to strive to redeem that which has fallen so short in our common life. This tragedy further serves to remind us of the fallen and sinful nature of our humanity.

I append the English text of the Mourner's Kaddish, the acknowledgment of the gathering in of souls by the One who first provided them. 

Glorified and sanctified be God's great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.

May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

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