Prayer from the National Summit on Torture, September 11, 2008
By Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster
In Genesis we read, Vayivrah Elohim et ha'adam b'tzalmo, God created the human in God's image, In the image of God, God created him, male and female God created them, Vayivarech otam, And God blessed them.
Why, the rabbis ask, were people created in the image of God, indeed why is this the most important concept in the Torah? So that we know that when we dishonor another person, that person we have dishonored was created in the image of God. In denying that divine spark, we dishonor God. Knowing that each one of us is a mirror for the divine image, we should seek to uphold the values found in the universal declaration of human rights, that the "recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world." This recognition is the source of blessing.
And yet, as a country we have subjected others to treatment that denies that they are created in the image of God. In the name of security, we dishonor them. And in doing so, we have dishonored God. Rather than repair our world, we have taken steps to shatter it.
Yehi ratzon, May it be your will, Source of Life, that every one of your creatures strive to fulfill your vision of a world of built on freedom, justice, and peace. May we live safe within our borders, knowing that those who protect us from harm always see your image before them. We must ask of each other, as did you prophet Malachi, " Halo av echad anachnu? Have we not all one Parent? Halo el echad b'ra'anu? Has not one God created us?"
Baruch Atah Adonai, blessed are you Adonai, Our God Sovereign of the Universe, Shasanu B'tzalmo, Who has made us in your image.