Dear Friends,

So heinous is the crime of murder that our sages declared that “to take but one life is to destroy an entire world.” That statement comes to mind as I think about the atrocity that was committed this week at a Florida high school. So heinous is the crime of murder that our sages declared that “to take but one life is to destroy an entire world.” That statement comes to mind as I think about the atrocity that was committed this week at a Florida high school. 

Some argue that the evil is not guns, but the people who abuse guns. That may or may not be true. But what is true is that far too many sick people have access to guns which they use to perpetrate the unthinkable. Teenagers went to school on Valentine’s Day, a day dedicated to love. Those who returned home have been so deeply emotionally scarred, while those who lost children to this senseless violence have had their lives shattered with a depth of pain that we can only begin to imagine. 

There are those who maintain that our Second Amendment guarantees the right of an individual to “bear arms.” Surely that amendment was written at another time when the nature of those “arms” was far different than those that fall into the wrong hands today. And we ask: Are they so callous as to ignore the violent reality that we have experienced too many times of late in this country? 

Yes, I do believe in a person’s right to defend himself and his loved ones. But access to military-type weapons? Access to automatic assault rifles? No that is not the kind of society in which we wish to live. Yes, some are responsible, but all are guilty of permitting such violence to permeate our country. Politics have prevailed and resulted in too many mass shootings. It’s an abhorrent reality and the time has come to defeat the powerful N.R.A. and its great and perverse influence upon our society. 

What pain those parents must be feeling! What anguish empathic teenagers are feeling as their classmates lay dead before them! Yes, we owe all parents and children and grandchildren something better than the current reality. 

I wish you a Sabbath of peace as we all long for a better and safer time for our society.

         Rabbi David Greenberg