בסיעתא דשמיא

A Prayer for Our Earth, an ecumenical prayer by Pope Francis (trans. Rabbi David Seidenberg, neohasid.org)

neohasid.org PDF link


תְּפִילָת הָאָרֶץ
A prayer for our earth

אֵל עֶליוֹן, הָאֵל הַגָּדוֹל וְהַגִּבּוֹר
אַתָּה מְלֹא כָּל הָאָרֶץ, וּכְבוֹדְךָ מָלֵא עוֹלָם
וְכָּל הַבְּרִיוֹת עַד הַקָּטָן שֶׁבַּהֶן
אַתָּה מַחֲזִיק וּמַחֲסֶה
כָּל הַנִמְצָאִים בְּחֶמְלָה
All-powerful God, great and mighty
you are present in the whole universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace
with your tenderness all that exists.

שְׁפוֹךְ עָלֵינוּ כֹּחַ אַהֲבָתֶךָ
לְמַעַן נִשְׁמֹר עָל הָחֲיִים וְנוֹעָם תִּפְאָרְתוֹ
מִלֵאנוּ בְּשַׁלְוָה, וְשִׂים שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ
שֶׁנֵשֵׁב כְּאַחִים וְאֳחָיוֹת יָחַד
שֶׁלֹא יֵרַע אַף אֶחָד
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and its beauty.
Fill us with peace, and settle peace upon us
that we may live as brothers and sisters together,
harming no one.

אֱלֹהֵי הַדַּלִּים וְהַיָּתוֹם וְהָאֲלְמָנָה
תֵּן כֹּחַ בְּיָדֵינוֹ לְהַצִּיל
הָעֲזוּבִים וְהַפְּלִיטִים בְּאֶרֶץ תֵּבֵל
שֶׁהֵם אֲהוּבִים בְּעֵינֶיךָ
O God of the poor, orphan, and widow,
help us to rescue
the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.

שְׁלַח רְפוּאָה לְנַפְשֵׁנוּ בַּחַיִּים
וְאַז נָגֵן הָעוֹלָם
וְלֹא נִדְלַק בַּעוֹלָם
וְאַז נִזְרָע תִּפְאֶרֶת הָחֲיִים
וְלֹא הַשְׁחָתָה וְהַשְׁמָדָה
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world
and not prey on it,
that we may sow life’s beauty,
not pollution and destruction.

פְּתַח לֵבָב כָּל בּוֹצֵעַ
לַחֲטוֹף הָעֲנִי וְהָאָדָמָה
לָמַּדֵנוּ לְגַלּוֹת
מַעֲלַת הַבּורֵא בְּכָל הַנִּבְרָאִים
לִהְיוֹת מָלֵא יִרְאָה וְהִתְבּוֺנְנוּת
לְהַכִּיר שֶׁנֵעֲשׂוּ אֲגֻדָּה אַחַת
עִם כָּל הַבְּרִיוֹת, בְּדָרְכֵנוּ
לְהַגִּיעַ אֶל אוֹר הָאֵין סוֹף
Touch the hearts of those who look for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover
the divine worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature, as we journey
towards your infinite light.

נוֹדֶה לְךָ הַשׁוֹכֵן בְּתוֹכֵנוּ
שֶׁאַתָּה עִמָּנוּ תָּמִיד בְּכָל יוֹם
אַנָא תּוֹמְכֵנוּ
לַעֲשׂוֹת רְצוֹנְךָ בְּלֵבָב שָׁלֵם
לִרדוֹף צֶדֶק בְּרִיבֵנוּ
לְהָבִיא מִשְׁפָּט אַהָבָה וְשָׁלוֹם
We thank you who dwells within us
for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray,
to do Your will with a whole heart
to pursue righteousness in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.

An ecumenical prayer by Pope Francis from his encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home from May 24th, 2015.

Here’s my Hebrew translation of Pope Francis’ prayer for our earth. It turns out no one had translated it yet. The translation includes sparks from the High Holiday liturgy. I thought we should have it available for Rosh Hashanah 5776. A PDF of the prayer can be also be downloaded from neohasid.org (PDF link).

Please emend to your satisfaction, but please do mention neohasid.org if you benefit from this offering. One caveat I will make is that I use traditional (read: masculine) language for God so that the prayer can be used comfortably in most shuls, but I very much support emendations that introduce feminine God language.

I noticed that many of his themes translated quite directly into liturgical or Biblical Hebrew, but two things did not: the Pope’s emphasis on beauty, which I think is just not a central theme in Biblical or rabbinic thought, and the way justice is approached (even though both traditions put a huge emphasis on justice). In order to compensate for this inequalities I’ve added some words here and there in the English to show where I’ve added to the Hebrew. Above, these words are italicized so you can pick them out.

"Saint Francis with the Animals" by Lambert de Hondt the Elder and Willem van Herp the Elder (17th century).

Saint Francis with the Animals” by Lambert de Hondt the Elder and Willem van Herp the Elder (17th century).

3 comments to A Prayer for Our Earth, an ecumenical prayer by Pope Francis (trans. Rabbi David Seidenberg, neohasid.org)

  • Basia

    Thank you Rabbi David for this translation. It occurred to me that the Pope may have written this prayer in Spanish. Hopefully some of the chèvre who hare fluent in Spanish will compare the Spanish text to the Hebrew. Blessings Blessings, Basia

    • Pope Francis’ original prayer from his encyclical:

      Oración por nuestra tierra

      Dios omnipotente,
      que estás presente en todo el universo
      y en la más pequeña de tus criaturas,
      Tú, que rodeas con tu ternura todo lo que existe,
      derrama en nosotros la fuerza de tu amor
      para que cuidemos la vida y la belleza.
      Inúndanos de paz, para que vivamos como hermanos y hermanas
      sin dañar a nadie.
      Dios de los pobres,
      ayúdanos a rescatar
      a los abandonados y olvidados de esta tierra
      que tanto valen a tus ojos.
      Sana nuestras vidas,
      para que seamos protectores del mundo
      y no depredadores,
      para que sembremos hermosura
      y no contaminación y destrucción.
      Toca los corazones
      de los que buscan sólo beneficios
      a costa de los pobres y de la tierra.
      Enséñanos a descubrir el valor de cada cosa,
      a contemplar admirados,
      a reconocer que estamos profundamente unidos
      con todas las criaturas
      en nuestro camino hacia tu luz infinita.
      Gracias porque estás con nosotros todos los días.
      Aliéntanos, por favor, en nuestra lucha
      por la justicia, el amor y la paz.

      A prayer for our earth

      All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe
      and in the smallest of your creatures.
      You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
      Pour out upon us the power of your love,
      that we may protect life and beauty.
      Fill us with peace, that we may live
      as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
      O God of the poor,
      help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
      so precious in your eyes.
      Bring healing to our lives,
      that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
      that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction.
      Touch the hearts
      of those who look only for gain
      at the expense of the poor and the earth.
      Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
      to be filled with awe and contemplation,
      to recognize that we are profoundly united
      with every creature
      as we journey towards your infinite light.
      We thank you for being with us each day.
      Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
      for justice, love and peace.

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