God is Counting on Us to Make Their Memories a Blessing

June 20, 2016Rabbi Rick Jacobs

What is the proper religious response to acts of barbarism like the massacre we saw perpetrated against members of the LGBT community in Orlando?

Although I am not sure what it is, I know there must be one.

As I have been reading reactions to the massacre insistently, I keep tripping over the phrase “may their memories be a blessing.”

What does “may” mean? How does “may” happen? To me, it suggests some type of abstract notion or process, but what can we do - what can you do - to ensure this outcome?

Just as it is not enough to pray to be fast, to be healthy, or to be wise, neither can we merely pray for the lives of those massacred to be a blessing. If we aspire to speed, we must train. If we aspire to wellness, we must take care of ourselves. If we aspire to intelligence, we must study. And, if we aspire that the memory of those massacred in Orlando to be blessings, we must make it so.

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