Following the tragic events that we have experienced this past week — as Jews reeling from the terrorist attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria and as Americans unable to comprehend the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado — I offer these words of prayer:
Oseh Shalom bimromav, Hu ya’aseh Shalom, aleinu, v’al kol yisrael, v’al kol yoshvei tevel.
Adonai, May You bring peace quickly, for surely we need it. We are lost. Please help us find the way. Bring the way of peace back to us. May all beings, made in Your Divine image, experience Your peace. We dream of a world in which we stop fighting and start breathing. Lost on a path of hatred and ignorance, help us to find a path towards embracing the other. Give us the strength and desire to open our clenched fists, and hold the hand of our fellow.
Our tears of mourning will become tears of joy, as our children learn about love instead of violence, coexistence instead of hate. Let us beat our swords into plowshares and plant flowers of peace in our gun barrels. Our markets will sell berries, rather than bullets, and our leaders will preach acceptance of all, rather than rejection of the other. We know that You do not want us to hate or to destroy. We strive to honor You and walk in Your ways, by teaching only love.
We understand how precious life is, how fragile life can be. Return us to Your path of life, to a path that recognizes, accepts, and appreciates kol haBriyot, all of Your creatures and creations. May we walk side-by-side on a path in which we cast our fears aside and can call the other our friend instead of our enemy. May we fulfill the words of the Psalmist, Hine ma tov u’manayim, shevet achim gam yachad, how wonderful it will surely be when we see all the world as our brothers and sisters, and we can dwell together in harmony. And let us say: Amen.
– Rabbi Jesse M. Olitzky