Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Nation in Prayer

[This is a video that features pictures, students speaking, and the Presidents words.]

Yesterday's massacre at Virginia Tech was one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

Thirty two people - students and professors - died at the hands of a raging young Asian student. The whole country is in a state of shock. The news reports and pictures are heart wrenching, the questions and surmounting, the pain tangible.

Enter President Bush.

In the midst of it all, he addresses the nation with one goal - to comfort the families, to comfort the students, to comfort America.

In such fragile times, our sincerity and efforts are challenged. Our words are chosen carefully. But, President Bush knew what to say. With conviction and sincerity, he addressed the students and families of the victims. He said the following words that reverberated through America and served as the heart of his short appearance:

“Laura and I and many across the nation are praying for the victims, and their families and all the members of the university community that have been devastated by this terrible tragedy." The President closed by saying, "We hold the victims in our hearts, we lift them up in prayer, and we ask a loving G-d to comfort those who are suffering today."

The President's words touched everyone, regardless of religion or political bent. It is what everyone needed to hear - "You are in our prayers."

When we go through hard times and need some extra support, almost nothing anyone says strikes a chord and sounds meaningful. People talk more than they need to. They try to answer questions. They helplessly offer their help.

In the barrage of attempts at comfort, there are those that offer those few words that are the arrow in the bull’s-eye, the words that always seem necessary, helpful, and comforting.

Those words are the following: I'll be praying for you.

Upon hearing them, our heart is a little lighter, even just one small step away from falling apart.

But why? Why does prayer seem so powerful? Especially when the effect of peoples' prayers isn't always so clear to us, why do we find solace in knowing that someone is praying with us in mind? What about these words is so comforting?

The conversations we have with G-d are our most intimate, honest, and real. The idea that someone else prays for you is the most meaningful sentiment because it means that deep in the hearts of the people around you, you exist in their most sacred conversation. It means that you appear in an encounter that is often highlighted by a person’s own personal dilemmas and pain.

When you are on the lips of people praying, dancing on the air that goes straight to G-d, you know that you don't have to tighten your shoulders and muster up the strength all by yourself. The world knows your falling, and they're asking G-d to help lift you up.

When it was time to address the students of Virginia Tech directly, the Presidents words were more eloquent. President Bush informed the students, saying, "People of every faith have lifted you up in prayer. People who have never met you are praying for you. They're praying for your friends who have fallen and are injured. There is a power in these prayers, a real power.”

In addition to his own words, the president read a letter from a V-Tech student, beseeching of his fellow students and neighbors to “ache on behalf of those people that had lost a loved one.”

When we're in pain, we don't always want the whole world to be aching, too. But sometimes, when they ache for us, the pain is a little less sharp. And when we direct that cry upwards, we are all lifted, and the future looks a little less daunting.

Knowing that we exist in someone else personal conversation with their Maker reminds us that we're all connected and look towards the same thing to replenish our strength, and there is nothing more healing than that.


[ Click here and scroll down to see a profile of one of the victims, Liviu Librescu, a Holocaust survivor who was a professor at V-Tech. On Holocaust Remembrance day, he died protecting his students ]


Rochel said...

What a beautiful, moving article!
MAy our prayers for redemption be answered now,and tragedies lke this never heard of!

Shloim said...

Amen Rochel. Yes, this was a true tragedy. More than the sadness that comes from hearing of such things is the sadness of not feeling sad enough. Take a minute and actually try and tap into the feelings of this event.

Do you feel it? Mim, your post definitely made me think more about it.

With heartfelt prayers for the immediate redemption.

Israel Krasnianski said...

So many emotions to express, yet no words come forth.

Yesterday morning a Muslim man stepped into my office as i was watching coverage online of the tragedy. We both watched for a few minutes. Then he suggested we both take a moment and pray silently for the victims and for peace in the world.

I turned the volume off and we both lowered our heads. When he raised it there was a tear in his eye.

We live in a scary world. It has gotten dark enough, its time to demand light! Please G-d, answer our prayers!

Mimi said...

Wow, Sruli, that's quite a moment you experienced (and I have to say, quite "blog-worthy").

Amen to all the blessings. May we only hear good news, and start "demanding light" in a real way.

Chana said...

Mimi, you have this incredible way of saying exactly the right thing in the most beautiful way. Thanks.

If anyone's interested in reading a really moving story about one man's encounter with the President, involving prayer, go to http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_bruce_vincent.htm#note

I received this story in an email forward a while ago and found it here online. I know the site says "urban legends" but if you look, the status says that the story is authentic. Either way, even if for some reason the story is not 100% true, I definitely believe it could have been.

chang said...

Dearest Mini,
Liviu Librescu's picture made me cry.
what an adorable yiddishe punim.
moshiach now now now now now!!!

litzo said...

a message for mashiach: WHERE ARE YOU?

unthinkable. unimaginable. shattering.

may Liviu Librescu have an aliyat neshama and may we be reunited with him NOW, with the coming of mashiach.

the sabra said...

amen litzo

Anonymous said...

The biggest tragedy is that at the end of it all the shooter and Livrescu get the same reward - they rot in earth till they decompose and then they are part of the soil. Sure, Livrescu may live on for a few more weeks in people's memories but then the next tragedy will come and he too will be forgotten, and the same holds true for the shooter.

There is no rule and no ruler in this random world and all is relative. If there is any sort of deity, he was laughing at all the preparations made for Livrescu's funeral, because he could care less what Livrescu did or that someone went berserk because of a biological illness and killed 32 people. There is no rhyme or reason to this random world. Mankind made god to try to find an explanation for some sort of cosmological acciednet. All that is certain is that no living being is immortal.

Get down from your hilltop and see the light. God is dead if he ever existed, Schneerson is dead and he was just a fleeting blip on the cosmic screen, and you and i will also be dead one day. And it wont matter whether we go down at an old age, or as heroes, or as murderers. Because no one and nothing matters in this world.

Anonymous said...

I see you erased the truth namely that prayer is a waste of time and will do nothing for the dead or the living. erase it as many times as you want but the truth will always survive and one day it will put a hole in your schneerson cult as well.

Mimi said...

I didn't erase it because it's true or not true. I think you know why it was erased. I have a personal request. Maybe you can e-mail me (anonymously, if needed)?

Anonymous said...

No I will not email you. my purpose is to expose your deluded beliefs for what they are. In Public.

and the word i used is a scientific or medical term not obscene. only those who are deluded by the faleshoods you call torah would call that word a problem.

Mimi said...

I hope you're kidding. The word you used was not mentioned in a remotely scientific or medical way.

My request is simply that you refrain from saying things that are completely inappropriate. I don't mind you attacking my views or the views of Lubavitch (you're not all that special in doing so, I hope you know.)

Feel free to share you opinion like you have been. The inappropriate comments though, will, no doubt, be deleted. However, especially if you're looking for some sort of real dialogue, I hope not to see them.

Anonymous said...

I don't mind you attacking my views or the views of Lubavitch (you're not all that special in doing so, I hope you know.)
Thats right. Everyone is waking up these days and chabad and all orthodoxy will die out in 2 generations.

However, especially if you're looking for some sort of real dialogue, I hope not to see them.
I never expect rational dialog
from cult members and i only comment once in a blue moon. but if my words penetrate the skull of even one person who reads your tripe i will have done a great service.

Mimi said...

Yup, and everyone's been attacking Judaism for...how long? Your "logic" is handicapped. Indeed, rational dialogue won't be on the agenda.

Why don't you just start your own blog? It's so much cooler than being one of those people who just barrage other peoples' blogs with half-insane comments. I mean, come on.


- A Proud Cult Member
(Hey, at least my cult seems to be happier than yours!)

Anonymous said...

I believe in reason. rationality. your happiness is as phoney as that of the drunk or drug addict. they medicate with substances and you with beliefs.

maybe once every 3-6 weeks I have time for this which is not enough for a blog. besides i have better ways to fight religion.

Mimi said...

Sounds to me like you're just starting your own religion!

You stated what you believe in, and you're prepared to fight. Good luck with that.

Mimi said...

Thanks for the edit, my Brooklyn neighbor!

the sabra said...

woah woah woah

Timothy said...

Anon: Do you take yourself seriously? I mean, f'real. It would suck if you expended all that energy for no one at all!

the sabra said...

anonymous, please tell me-
1. what does true happiness mean (acc to you)
2. what's important to you in life
3. didja ever consider that u may not be the ultimate in knowledge?

answer honestly please, thanks.

Anonymous said...


hello there anonymous, having a bad day?
lets see if i can use some of ur language
and beake it down for you.
you know Truman Show? that's u. Jim Carry
u dont dont whats flying kid.
2 words for u- Olam Haba
u wanna attack religion. go ahead. it will be
an attack against urself, for Judaism isnt a
religion. if u live according to what makes sense
to you, you will never be sure of anything.
then something else will happen, and you will
come on that board and bark this way and that
way,using definition, trying to prove something.
which is?
which makes me ask-when is the last time you went Yah*oo?
Judaism is not an ism.
Torah is not merely a book.
Chesed is not just kindness
Ljubavitch is not merely a town

in 1940, there was a man that hunted every
Jew out of hate, in 1950, there was man that
hunted every Jew out of Love. he still does.
the rebbe does. love is very infectious, try it

shabbat shalom to all the good souls here
may our good deeds and tfilla storm shamayim, mamash and bring moshaich.

batya shalhevet

Anonymous said...

I see the self proclaimed quueen of the hilltop is blocking all my responses. i guess you cannot deal with someone piercing through your delusions.

Anonymous said...

1950, there was man that
hunted every Jew out of Love. he still does.
the rebbe does. love is very infectious, try it
last time i checked he died in 1994. there is nothing left of him now. i dont need his love. i need and have freedom from everything he stood for.

Mimi said...

Anonymous, a person in constant rebellion of something is never free, for in his defiance he has the strongest connection to that which he supposedly hates. Look at you...you can't even get out of this blog!

[ The freedom button is a red X conveniently located at the top right of this window. Feel FREE to use it at any time. ]

Mimi said...

Someone I may know,

Please e-mail me. Trying to figure this out. Thanks.