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A Kaddish after Gun Violence: For When Humanity Fails Itself

by Rabbi Paul Kipnes

Yitgadal v’yitkadash sh’may rabba…
Exalted and Holy be Your great name…

Yet little feels holy today.

Another mass shooting
An incomprehensible horror
Too many dead and too many wounded
And we are left
to mourn

the dead

to heal

the wounded

to wonder


…b’alma di v’ra chirutei…
…in the world which You God created, according to plan…

But is this part of Your plan?

That death and destruction emerges from the free will You entrusted to us
That automatic gunfire rains down unceasingly
That people kill people, using weapons we designed and created with the minds You accorded us

…v’yamlich malchutei, b’chayeichon uv’yomeichon…
…may Your majestic love be revealed, in the days of our lifetime…

In your Torah we are taught,

When Moses and the Israelites stood praying at the shores of the Red Sea while the Egyptians army was bearing down on them, You called out to us “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the Israelites to move on.” (Ex 14:15).

So help us move on

Not by forgetting this horror
Not by explaining it away
Not by blaming the easy targets

But by having courage to

Mourn the dead
Heal the victims
Bless the first responders

Lead with love
Change the laws
And save lives

…y’hei sh’lama raba min sh’maya, v’chayim aleinu…
…may there (soon) be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us…

Peace that comes
because we did NOT

become inured to the continual violence in our concert venues, our schools, our malls and neighborhoods

and we did NOT

allow the calls for prayers to turn us away from the actions we must take to end mass shootings

But because we DID

find the courage to stand up, speak up, act out

…oseh shalom bimromav, Hu yaaseh shalom aleinu,
…may the One who creates harmony on high, bring peace to us,

v’al kol Yisrael, v’al kol yoshvei teivel,
to all Israel, and all the world,

So one day Your world, free from this violence,
will finally reflect Your exaltedness and holiness.

…and we say:


In memory of those killed during the mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017

Ever wonder where God is during these horrors? Read my:
That Time I Had it Out with God
Why the Good Die Young


  1. JENIFER NECH says:

    Can we fix this? Is this it? Why the attraction to guns. Not just a single weapon for self defense but to own many and alter them to work in a more destructive way.

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