בסיעתא דשמיא

אל שמר המלכה | God Save the Queen (Hebrew translation, ca. 1892)

“God Save the Queen” is an adaptation of “God Save the King,” a work by an unknown author, first circulated by periodicals in mid-18th century England. The author of the Hebrew translation is also unknown and was published in a pamphlet circulated by New Road (Whitechapel) Synagogue in 1892. We are grateful to the Jewish East End of Londonwebsite for providing the source image for the transcription of this work in the Public Domain. . . .

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | The Prayer for the Safety of Kings, Princes and Commonwealths, as presented in English translation by Menasseh ben Israel to Oliver Cromwell (1655)

From “How Faithful The Nation of the Iewes are.” in To His Highnesse The Lord Protector Of The Common-Wealth Of England, Scotland, And Ireland, The Humble Addresses Of Menasseh Ben Israel (1655), p.11-13 (p.91-93 in L. Wolf’s edition). The Hebrew liturgy shown was transcribed from the “Prayer for the Dutch royal family and the city council of Amsterdam” (1950) and has been edited to fit this earlier version of the text. What is clear in comparing this version with the version that became prominent in England and elsewhere, is the removal of the angelo-astrological phrase on the rise of the planetary star corresponding to the particular Sar in heaven and lord on earth. What changed between 1655 and the 18th century? Increased anxiety over exoteric references in the kabbalah following the messianic movement of Shabbetai Tsvi, and also, the Enlightenment. We’ll be keen to find other examples of Hanoten Teshua from before and after 1655, that might add additional light on how this prayer may have changed. Related to the liturgical phrase on the rise of the planetary star, Menasseh ben Israel includes a reference in his argument to Cromwell for the proper regard that should be granted the Jews by the other nations. The reference is to Zohar Pekudei (Zohar II 267b:8-10) and we believe this may be the first time anyone has ever located the actual text being referred to here. . . .

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | A Prayer for the Prosperitie of his Royal Majestie (King Charles II) delivered by Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon (1675)

Rabbi Jacob Judah Leon’s Prayer for King Charles II, from his 1675 booklet, was the first Jewish prayer in English for an English king (Mocatta Library, University College London). . . .

תפילה לשלום המלכות | Prayer for the Welfare of George Washington, George Clinton, and the 13 States of America by Hendla Jochanan van Oettingen (1784)

Prayers recited on special occasions and thus not part of the fixed liturgy offered America’s foremost Jewish congregation far greater latitude for originality in prayer. At such services, particularly when the prayers were delivered in English and written with the knowledge that non-Jews would hear them, leaders of Shearith Israel often dispensed with the traditional prayer for the government and substituted revealing new compositions appropriate to the concerns of the day. A prayer composed in 1784 (in this case in Hebrew) by the otherwise unknown Rabbi (Cantor?) Hendla Jochanan van Oettingen, for example, thanked God who “in His goodness prospered our warfare.” Mentioning by name both Governor George Clinton and General George Washington, the rabbi prayed for peace and offered a restorationist Jewish twist on the popular idea of America as “redeemer nation”: “As Thou hast granted to these thirteen states of America everlasting freedom,” he declared, “so mayst Thou bring us forth once again from bondage into freedom and mayst Thou sound the great horn for our freedom.” . . .

Prayer for the Government in honor of George Washington, First President of the United States of America by K.K. Beit Shalome (1789)

The following prayer for the government was composed by Congregation Beth Shalome in Richmond, Virginia in 1789. Please note the acrostic portion of the prayer in which the initial letters of the succeeding lines form the name: Washington. . . .

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | A Prayer for the royal family of King George III (1810)

May he that dispenseth salvation unto kings, and dominion unto princes; whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; who delivered his servant David from the destructive sword; who maketh a way in the sea, and a path through the mighty waters, bless, preserve, guard, and assist our most gracious sovereign Lord, King GEORGE the third, our most gracious Queen CHARLOTTE, their royal highness GEORGE Prince of Wales, the Princess DOWAGER of Wales, and all the ROYAL FAMILY; may the supreme king of kings through his infinite mercy preserve them, and grant them life and deliver them from all manner of danger; may the supreme king of kings aggrandize and highly exalt our sovereign Lord the king, and grant him long and prosperously to reign; may the supreme king of kings inspire him and his council and the state of the kingdom with benevolence towards us, and all Israel our brethren; in his days and in our days, may Jehudah be saved, and Israel dwell in safety, and may the redeemer come unto Zion, which God of his infinite mercies grant; and let us say, Amen. . . .

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | A Prayer for the royal family of Queen Victoria (1860)

May he that dispenses salvation unto kings, and dominion unto princes; whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; who delivered his servant David from the destructive sword; who maketh a way in the sea, and a path through the mighty waters, bless, preserve, guard, and assist Our Sovereign Lady QUEEN VICTORIA, ALBERT EDWARD, Prince of Wales, the PRINCESS of WALES, and all the ROYAL FAMILY. may the supreme king of kings through his infinite mercy preserve them, and grant them life and deliver them from all manner of danger; may the supreme king of kings aggrandize and highly exalt our sovereign Lady the queen, and grant her long and prosperously to reign; may the supreme king of kings inspire her and her council and the state of the kingdom with benevolence towards us, and all Israel our brethren; in her days and in our days, may Jehudah be saved, and Israel dwell in safety, and may the redeemer come unto Tsiyon, which God of his infinite mercies grant; and let us say, Amen. . . .

Prayer for Alexandru Ioan I Cuza, Domnitor of Romania by Rabbi Meir Leibush (1862)

The life of Rabbi Meir Leibush ben Yeḥiel Michel (MALBIM, 1809-1879) as a wandering rabbi and brilliant intellect reflects the changing expectations of Jews and Jewish religious authorities during the period of emancipation in 19th century Eastern Europe. In his capacity as the chief rabbi of Bucharest, Romania, MALBIM composed a prayer for Prince Alexander Ioan I Cuza (1820-1873), Domnitor. The prince had united the Danube principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1862 to form the Kingdom of Romania. During his reign, he managed to bring about a series of important land reforms benefiting the peasantry of Romania, and he did try to improve the situation for Jews under his rule. The emancipation of the Jews of Romania, announced with the Proclamation of Islaz during the Wallachian Revolution of 1848, had never actually gone into effect. In 1865, the prince announced a project which would lead to the “gradual emancipation of the people of Mosaic faith” but this effort was never realized due to Alexandru Ioan’s forced abdication and replacement by a Prussian King in 1866. . . .

תפלה בעד שלום המדינה | Prayer for the Welfare of the State by Avraham Hyman Charlap (1916)

Please, God Adonai, Who creates the skies and drapes them over the earth, Who spreads out the earth and its descendants, Who grants life to its nations, and vigor to those who walk upon it, You positioned borders on earth and sustained sovereigns and states. These United States, too, Your hands arranged. They began in distress, but through Your great and abundant kindness, have grown like a cedar in Lebanon, adding vitality, strength, and success with each generation. America’s wings stretch from sea to shining sea, and over far islands. Like the sun at its zenith, it lights the world and its inhabitants with laws and ordinances good and upright, righteous and fair. . . .

תפלה בעד הממשׁלה | A Prayer for the Government by Louis Ginzberg (1927)

Our God and God of our ancestors: Accept with mercy our prayer for our land and its government. Pour out your blessing on this land, on its President, judges, officers and officials, who work faithfully for the public good. Teach them from the laws of Your Torah, enlighten them with the rules of Your justice, so that peace, tranquility, happiness and freedom will never depart from our land. God of all that lives, please bestow Your spirit on all the inhabitants of our land, and plant love, fellowship, peace and friendship between the different communities and faiths that dwell here. Uproot from their hearts all hate, animosity, jealousy and strife, in order to fulfill the longings of its people, who aspire for its dignity, and desire to see it as a light for all nations. . . .

Benediction at the Democratic National Convention by Rabbi Julie Schonfeld (2016)

The full text of Rabbi Julie Schonfeld’s benediction offered at the end of the first day of the Democratic National Convention, July 25th, 2016. . . .

תפילה למצביעי המדינה | Prayer for the Electorate by David Zvi Kalman (2016)

A prayer for the electorate to be recited together with the Prayer for Government on the Shabbat before an election (federal, state, or local). David Zvi Kalman’s “Prayer for the Electorate” was initially published on Ritualwell here and linked from an explanation of the prayer posted here. Vocalization of the unpointed text by Josh Soref. (Thank you!) . . .

Prayer for the United States Government by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz (2017)

Because of my commitment to the integrity of prayer, starting this week, I can no longer recite or say amen to the Shabbat prayer for the success of the U.S. President.

So I have drafted a new prayer that I will plan to recite each Shabbat morning. If you also feel it’s important to pray . . .

Prayer for the State of Israel by Rabbi Arik Ascherman

Sovereign of the Universe, accept in lovingkindness and with favor our prayers for the State of Israel, her government and all who dwell within her boundries and under her authority. Reopen our eyes and our hearts to the wonder of Israel and strengthen our faith in Your power to work redemption in every human soul. Grant us also the fortitude to keep ever before us those ideals to which Israel dedicated herself in her Declaration of Independence, so that we may be true partners with the people of Israel in working toward her as yet not fully fulfilled vision. . . .

Prayer for the State of Israel by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen

My heart, my heart goes out to you Zion Tears, jubilation, celebration, grieving Did we not dream a dream that came to be? And here it is—both song and lament. . . .


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