Our Spirits Shaken by Senseless Violence, We Pray for Peace to Commence

Rabbi Nosanchuk offered this prayer tonight at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple to introduce a prayer for healing and peace, in light of the terror attack which murdered Israeli tourists in Bulgaria this week, and the horrible gun violence which erupted in a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, just before the beginning of Shabbat on Friday, July 20.

In Genesis 41:1, a mighty ruler awakens betrayed by the violent images conveyed to him overnight in a vision. Afraid, shaken, still trembling he searches for someone, somewhere to explain to him a meaning in what he has seen with his own mind’s eye. The Hebrew conveys Nifemet Rucho, His spirit resounds, and the commentators tell us, it resounds in the way of a bell that continues to reverberate long after it is initially struck.

So is our feeling this Shabbat, as our eyes have borne witness to a week of such horror and violence in the world. We pray for a peaceful period to commence with the arrival of Shabbat. With our hearts still shaken from the terror attack on Israeli tourists traveling in Bulgaria, and with our own nation bitterly reminded of the senselessness of weaponry and brutality with today’s ugly gun violence at a movie theatre in Colorado.

Nifemet Ruchenu. Our spirits continue to tremble.

But we can and must do more than shake. We must respond to the injustice, and our faith begs that we build a culture of peace and hope, a culture that remember those who have been first responders to these violent incidents and imitate their swift involvement in the work of healing. And we can send every gift of prayer and presence now to families stricken by this violence near and far.

Let us pray. Let us pray deeply for the caregivers of those who are injured to know resilience, to the physicians in Eretz Yisrael and in Aurora, Colorado, to be guided in wisdom and compassion, and for God’s own shleimut, God’s designs of wholeness and peace, to transcend the heavens and reach our people, and all human citizens. Indeed, may God’s peace touch all who pray peacefully tonight, be they welcoming Shabbat or signaling the beginning of Ramadan or those in every nation, who pray in every language in solidarity with those afflicted by violence and terror.

We pray. we pray that a time of stillness may commence once and for all after this pain. May peace commence through words and meditations accepted by one another and By God, forever, Amen.