This week we’ve witnessed another murderous truck attack and a political assassination. We’re surrounded by violence. Orlando. Nice. Tel Aviv. Innocents dead at the hand of terror, at the hand of complacency and silence.
In Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, France, this summer, a priest was murdered in his church. His name was Fr. Jacques Hamel. He was 84-years-old. His death made world news in an instant. It faded from the news just as fast. There were so many other terror attacks. Larger attacks. More than one dead.
The list of terror attacks maintained on Wikipedia is astounding. Hundreds dead each month all over the world. One and one and one. The Talmud says that saving a life is equal to saving the world; taking a life is the equivalent of destroying the world. One is everything.
One is Everything: A Meditation on Numbers and Terror
Orlando, 16 June 2016, 49 souls
Kabul, 23 July 2016, 80 souls
Nice, 14 July 2016, 84 souls
Baghdad, 3 July 2016, 325+ souls
Dallas, 7 July 2016, 5 souls
Tel Aviv, 3 July 2016, 4 souls
Rouen, 26 July 2016, 1 soul
One soul. A priest, in a church.
Just one soul and the world moves on.
We are shocked by the scale of terror.
The 49 and the 84 and the 325
With a plus sign next to it because, well,
It’s just tough to get an accurate count
In so much death.
One is everything.
Each one a human.
Each one a life.
One is enough to cry out to heaven.
When we count the scope of terror,
The range of death,
The injured and the wounded,
The witness and the bystander,
The first responder and the families.
One is 100 witnesses.
One is 1,000 mourners.
One is 10,000 traumas.
One is a soul G-d sent to this earth.
One is everything.
A priest doing holy work.
A boy studying Torah.
A girl sleeping in her bed.
One soul. One heartbeat.
One more, too soon.
G-d of Consolation,
Every soul is Yours,
A world, unique and holy.
Let Your peace reign quickly among us.
Let violence, hatred and terror vanish.
Let Your comfort descend from heaven,
And let the righteous rest in peace.
© 2016 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Postscript: This is a modified version of an essay that first appeared on RitualWell. See also a prayer “To the Terrorist,” which is part of my “Liturgy after Terror Attacks,” originally written for my “Liturgy for 9-11.”
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Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons