Re’eh: Cutting, A Prayer to End Self-Mutilation

self harm princess cuttingSelf-mutilation is as old as the Bible. That grief came to mind reading this week’s Torah portion, Re’eh. “Ye are the children of Adonai your G-d; you shall not cut yourselves…” (Deut. 14:1) In ancient days, the practice was to gash oneself as a sign of mourning. Today, some people cut to manifest grief on their bodies, others say it creates a sense of calm in the face of depression, typically hiding the injuries in shame. This is a prayer on behalf of those who self-mutilate, including an option in [brackets] to name a specific person. It’s built on a prayer titled “My Child’s Self-Inflicted Wounds,” a prayer for parents of children who self-harm with drugs, alcohol, sex or violence against themselves.

Cutting: A Prayer to End Self-Mutilation
Child of G-d,
Please do not cut yourself.
You are holy, a gift,
Unique in this world.

What grief has taken root in your heart?
What sorrow has consumed your joy?
How deep is your pain that you take a blade
To your own flesh?

G-d of Old,
We call out to You
From the depths of confusion and fear.
What balm will ease this distress?
What consolation will end this torment?
What blessing will guide them back to wholeness,
Back to self-respect,
Back to love?

G-d of renewal,
Bless those who harm themselves with a blade.
Grant them comfort and well-being,
Healing of mind,
Healing of body
And healing of spirit.
Teach them to see the world through Your eyes,
As a place of joy and adventure.
[And look with care on __________________________ (name),
Who also suffers at her/his own hand.]
Grant them all the ability to be gentle and forgiving on themselves.
Lead them to new ways of expression on the path to happiness and peace.

For those of you who cannot find relief,
We pray that that time will soon come.
You are a gift of G-d in the eyes of heaven,
In our eyes, too,
And in our hearts,
Which bleed with your skin,
And our love will not end.

Child of G-d,
Please do not cut yourself.
You are holy, a gift,
Unique in this world.

© 2015 Alden Solovy and All rights reserved.

Postscript: The majority of the illustrations I found online for this prayer are remarkably disturbing. See also: “My Child’s Self-Inflicted Wounds” and other prayers for mental health, including “My Depression” and “Mental Illness.” They appear in my book, Jewish Prayers of Hope and Healing.

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Photo Source: Self Harm Daily

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