By Rabbi Erin Boxt
Shabbat shalom — well, it isn’t really. We are, all of us, in deep sorrow and mourning over the loss of so many children.
People ask me, “When is it enough?” One death — that is more than enough.
I have read many blog posts, articles and editorials comparing Friday’s tragedy with Aurora, Columbine and other mass killings. I believe, for the sake of the integrity of those who have died and for the sake of their families, it is important NOT to compare any of these. One death equals one death, regardless of who it is that dies.
Want to argue about gun control? Go for it — but you know what? Arguing over the government’s role in gun control will do nothing but lead to more arguing. What we need to do instead is sit down and really discuss so many things.
Because you know what? Gun control is not the problem. Mental health is not the problem. The root of the problem is our inability as human beings to “V’ahavtah lereiacha kamocha”: Love your neighbor as yourself.
We are ALL created equal. This is absolutely true. However, what we are not able to recognize, realize and understand is that while we are all created equal, we are not all the same. Each of us has strengths and weaknesses. Each of us has things we need to work on. Our realization of this will eventually lead us to developing the abilities to work with all humans equally.
That is it: We are not all the same; however, we all have the right to live in equality — justice for all!
I am not saying that these horrible events will be eradicated from our world. However, if we learn to love each other and treat each other with respect, we could, just maybe, get to a place where these catastrophes end.
Finally, let me end with a prayer for all of those who have lost loved ones in any of the tragedies that have occurred here in the United States, in the rest of the world, and/or in any act that was a result of the abuse of power of some:
Adonai, our God, please help us to understand the pain of others.
Enable us to share in the burden of all of those who are in pain.
Help us to learn to live the lives you would have us to live.
Teach us to be “God-like” in our relations with our neighbors.
Adonai, our God, lead us to peace for all people.
Enable us to join together as one people.
Help us to see beyond race, color and creed.
Teach us what we need to know — even when we are unaware.
Adonai, Elohim, El Shaddai, Jesus, Allah, Earth — help us live together.
Rabbi Erin Boxt is one of the spiritual leaders of Temple Kol Emeth in East Cobb, Atlanta's home for Jewish faith, family and education. Visit Temple Kol Emeth online, and join us for Shabbat services on Friday nights and Saturday mornings.