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A Prayer for Voting by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)


הַרֵינִי מְכָוֵון בְּהַצְבָּעָתִי ׀ בּתְּפִילָתִי הַיוֹם
לִדְרֹש שָׁלוֹם בְּעַד הַמְדִינָה הַזֹאת כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב:
“וְדִרְשׁוּ אֶת שְׁלוֹם הָעִיר אֲשֶׁר הִגְלֵיתִי אֶתְכֶם שָׁמָּה
וְהִתְפַּלְלוּ בַעֲדָהּ אֶל ה’ כִּי בִשְׁלוֹמָהּ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם שָׁלוֹם.”
Here I stand, intending through my vote | my prayer today
to seek peace for this country, as it is written (Jer. 29:7):
“Seek the peace of the city where I cause you to roam
and pray for her to YHVH (Adonai/God), for in her peace you all will have peace.”

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְפָנֶיךָ ה’ שֶׁהָהַצְבָּעוֹת נִמְנוּ נֶאֱמָנוֹת
וְתִמְנֶה הַצְבָּעָתִי כְּאִלוּ קִיָּמְתִי הַכָּתוּב הַזֶה בְּכָל עָצְמָתִי.
May it be Your will, YHVH, that votes be counted faithfully,
and may You count my vote as if I had fulfilled this verse with all my power.

תִּתֵן לֵב שׁוֹמֵעַ לְמִי שֶׁאָנוּ בּוֹחֲרִים הַיוֹם
וְטוֹב יְהְיֶה בְּעֵינֶיךָ שֶׁתִּשָׂא עַלֵינוּ מֶמְשָלָה טוֹבה
לְמַעַן הֵבִיא מִשפָּט וְשָׁלוֹם לְכָל יוֹשְבֵי הָאָרֶץ הַזֹאת
וְכָל יוֹשְבֵי תֵבֵל וְעַל יִרוּשַׁלָיִם
וּלְכַבֵּד הַצֶלֶם בּכַל אָדָם וּבִּבְרִיאָה
כִּי הַמַּלְכוּת שֶׁלְּךָ הִיא.‏
May You give a listening heart to whomever we elect today
and may it be good in Your eyes to raise for us a good government
to bring justice and peace to all living in this land
and all the world, and to Jerusalem
and to honor the image of God in all humanity and in Creation,
for rulership is Yours.

כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהִשְׁתַּתָפְתִי בִּבְחִירוּת הַיוֹם
כֵּן זַכֵּנִי לַעֲשׂוֹת מַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים וּלְתַקֵּן עוֹלָם בְּכָל פֹּעַלִי
וּבִּפְעוּלָת … שֶׁאֲנִי מִתְנדֵּב לְקַיֵם הַיוֹם
בּעַד כָּל הַבְּרִיאוֹת, בְּזִכְרוֹן בְּרִית מֵי נֹחַ
לְהַגֵּן וּלְבָל תַשְׁחִית אָרֶץ וּמְלוֹאָהּ.
Just as I participated in elections today,
so may I merit to do good works and to repair the world through all my efforts,
and through the act of…[fill in your pledge]…which I pledge to do today
on behalf of all living creatures, in remembrance of the covenant of
Noah’s waters to protect and to not destroy the earth and her plenitude.

תֵּן לְכָל אֻמּוֹת הָאָרֶץ הַזֹאת הָכֹּחַ וְהַרָצוֹן
לִרְדֹף צֶדֶק וּלְבַקֵּשׁ שָׁלוֹם כְּאַגֻדָה אַחַת
לְהַצְמִיחַ בְּכָל הָעוֹלָם חַיִים טוֹבִים וְשָׁלוֹם,
וְקַיֵּם לָנוּ הַכָּתוּב: “וִיהִי נ֤עַם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ עָלֵינוּ
וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנֵהוּ.”
May You give to all the peoples of this country the strength and the will
to pursue righteousness and to seek peace as a unified force
in order to cause to flourish throughout the world good life and peace,
and fulfill for us the verse (Ps. 90:17): “May the pleasure of Adonai our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands for us; make the work of our hands endure.”

Rabbi Seidenberg’s Prayer for Voting was initially composed for the United States presidential election in 2008 and publisting at neohasid.org, here.

Rabbi Seidenberg’s prayers are deeply ecologically conscious. According to the Jewish calendar’s reading of biblical chronology, the rains of the Great Deluge ended during the rainy season in the northern hemisphere, a time often corresponding to just before the November elections in the United States. Rabbi Seidenberg explains the significance:

This prayer is broadly speaking a prayer that we learn to work together to create a better future, and it incorporates a pledge to do one thing for healing the world, for tikkun olam, that will make this future a reality. It’s not a prayer about winning or getting other people to see things our way, like some of the others I’ve seen. Whomever we support (I am supporting Obama), we need to pray for strength for the next president, and for the whole country, to face what will be challenging times.

The 2010 election comes right before the end date of Noah’s flood. This common synchronicity inspired me in 2006 to focus the voting prayer on the covenant after the flood, which was a covenant with all creation.

Each person has their own way of expressing the essence of tikkun olam, so please change those lines according to your own vision of a perfected world. What is important is that we need both to vote and to take action to make our prayers a reality. What can you personally commit to doing? Pick something you can fulfill before the spring, and incorporate it into your prayer.

Rabbi Seidenberg asks that if you distribute a modified version of the following prayer, please keep it non-partisan. Rabbi Seidenberg adds:

If you can’t pray in a voting booth, where can you pray? And where would you need more to pray? This prayer is not about casting a winning vote or supporting a particular party. It’s a prayer that peace may come through whomever is elected, on behalf of the whole planet. It’s also more than that: you, the pray-er, are invited to add your own pledge to do a good deed that embodies the ideals you are praying for and voting for, to live your prayer. The pledge is based on the Jewish custom of pledging to give tsedakah, charity, when going up to the Torah. What is your pledge on the occasion of “going up” to the voting booth? The two lines following this pledge express the intention to act in the highest interests of all living beings. Only acts taken in this spirit can become truly “established.” Please modify these lines to express in your own words why you act.

The Open Siddur Project is honored to be sharing new liturgies and translations by Rabbi David Seidenberg of neohasid.org. If you appreciate Rabbi Seidenberg’s work, please encourage him with a contribution and/or by joining his mailing list. All of his liturgies and translations are being thoughtfully shared with a CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported license.

Source

Download Prayer-for-Voting-David-Seidenberg-Neohasid-2016-CC-BY-SA.pdf (PDF, 28KB)

Jeremiah 29:7
Psalms 90:17

2 comments to A Prayer for Voting by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

  • Although by posting this prayer on November the 14th we will have missed the elections in the United States, we are hopeful that this kavanah will be available just in time for future election cycles in the United States and anywhere else in the world democratic elections take place.

  • Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein wrote in to contribute his adaptation of Rabbi Seidenberg’s kavvanah:

    הריני מוכן בהצבעתי לדרוש שלום בעד המדינה הזאת, כמו שכתוב, “שַׁאֲלוּ שְׁלוֹם יְרוּשָׁלִָם יִשְׁלָיוּ אֹהֲבָיִךְ: יְהִי שָׁלוֹם בְּחֵילֵךְ שַׁלְוָה בְּאַרְמְנוֹתָיִךְ: לְמַעַן אַחַי וְרֵעָי אֲדַבְּרָה נָּא שָׁלוֹם בָּךְ:לְמַעַן בֵּית יְהוָה אֱלֹהינוּ אֲבַקְשָׁה טוֹב לָךְ: (תהלים קכב:ו-ט).‏
    יהי רצון מלפניך, יהוה אלהי ואלהי אבותי,‏
    כשם שהשתתפתי בבחירות היום, כן זכני לעשות מעשים טובים ולתקן עולמך בכל מעשי;‏
    פתח לנו ולכל יושבי הארץ הזאת לרדוף צדק ולבקש שלום כאגודה אחת לקיים הכתוב, “חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת נִפְגָּשׁוּ צֶדֶק וְשָׁלוֹם נָשָׁקוּ: אֱמֶת מֵאֶרֶץ תִּצְמָח וְצֶדֶק מִשָּׁמַיִם נִשְׁקָף: (תהלים פרק פ:יא-יב.‏
    ותן לבב חכמה למי שאנו בוחרים היום ותשא הממשלה הזאת לטובה ולברכה, לחיים טובים, ולשלום עלינו ועל כל ישראל ועל כל יושבי הארץ הזאת.‏
    וִיהִי נֹעַם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהינוּ עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנֵהוּ: (תהלים צ:יז) ‏

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