Thoughts And Prayers – Fooey!


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By Rabbi Robert L. Kravitz, D.D. –

How often do we have to offer our “thoughts and prayers” (T&P) to those who are recipients of the traumas of the world?

Doesn’t it become meaningless to constantly be repeating this phrase, when we too are traumatized, by events in our country and overseas?

If all we can do is offer “thoughts and prayers” are we not becoming culpable of insensitivity, or even worse of being insignificant? Or are we just frozen and incapable of dealing with situations, so we politely offer our “thoughts and prayers” as a means of appearing to do something valuable?

Words have meaning and value. Overused words become meaningless and void of worth.

What thoughts are we having that will assist the grieving? What prayers can we deliver that will soften the pain of their loss?

At some point in the revolutions of the earth we need to come to grips with the values we are supporting with our “thoughts and prayers.” We must address the issues, not slide by them by hoping that our T&P will resolve the problems and absolve us of any personal responsibility.

YES, T&P may offer a temporary boost to the injured and to the survivors. Real assistance needs to come from our understanding of why the events happened and what could have been done, by us, to preclude such terrible results.

T&P are the easy way out. T&P give us a quick opportunity to appear to care, then to escape to our safe places. Prayer has a place in our human experience. Forced prayers, or prayers without depth or meaning, are an empty pretending to heal.

Were that our “thoughts & prayers” were sent to others less often, and that we resolved to address the critical issues before T&P were needed. We all know the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words.” So may it be.

Rabbi Robert L. Kravitz, D.D. is known Valley-wide for his decades of support for civil and human rights, and the positive efforts of law enforcement. A volunteer police chaplain, he regularly lectures on related subjects, while working part-time as Hospital Chaplaincy Coordinator for Jewish Family & Children’s Service. Contact him at


Photo by aftab. on / CC BY-NC

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