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Inauguration Day Prayer for President Richard M. Nixon by Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin (1969)


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In the beginning,
God created the heavens and the earth,
and the darkness was upon the face of the deep.
God said, “Let there be light,”
and there was light.[1] Cf. Genesis 1:1-3.  
This was not the light of the sun nor the moon,
nor a billion blazing worlds.
It was the Shekhinah,
the Logos, the Word,
the Divine Presence,
that was to reflect itself
upon the human mind and soul.

This is the light
that brought man out of the cave,
and endowed him with intelligence,
the yearning for freedom,
that inspired the prophets and sages of old
and through all ages.

This is the American ideal,
born at the time of creation itself,
cherished by the Founding Fathers,
who were practical idealists.
They knew history well.
They warned against the dangers of ignorance,
and dissension within our borders
and between nations.
They knew full well that patience,
good will,
and cooperation
were preferable to hysteria
and emotionalism,
and that age-old problems
and complex problems
cannot be solved with instant answers
and simple answers.
They knew
that there is no substitute in the world
for commonsense.

The night is long,
and it is still dark
as far as civilization goes.
We will never be perfect,
for man is not perfect;
but we are on the way.
Our country is still great,
and it will be greater,
with hope in our hearts,
and work and rededication.
There are a few faint streaks of pink in the sky.
We await the dawn.

Almighty God,
bless our country
and him who will be our leader
and our guide
in the coming years.

Our fathers’ God,
to Thee Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright
With Freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God, our King.

This prayer by Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1969.



1Cf. Genesis 1:1-3.



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