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Prayer for the United States on Thanksgiving Day, by Rabbi Sabato Morais (27 November 1873)


Contribute a translationSource (English)
Ruler of the Universe! Beneficent Lord!
Thou hast satisfied us with the abundance of Thy house.
Thou gavest for our heritage a country rich and extensive.
The sea encircles it as a girdle of strength;
mountains crown it with majesty.
And to make it happy as it is powerful,
and glorious as it is far-reaching,
Thou didst set a throne in the midst thereof,
for Heaven born freedom.
His countenance,
ever radiant with Thy celestial goodness,
should smile upon the work of industry,
and fire rare genius.
And now, Omnipotent Being!
this people Thou hast so signally blessed,
prepare to show the family of nations
Thy wonders,
that with exalted spirits
all may turn to their Creator
and obtain salvation and support.
Let our hearts, we beseech Thee,
be cleansed from the dross of pride,
and from the stain of vain glory.
May the years preceding the determined festival
find us engaged in deeds of self purification.
Thus, when the season
to which we joyfully look forward arrives,
we will be declared by Thee
worthy of securing millennial periods of greatness
for America.
We thank thee, O watchful Shepherd!
for the sense of right
that dictated improvements
in the organic laws of this Commonwealth,
and wholesome reforms in our courts of justice.
Uphold the hands
which grapple with bold wickedness,
and let them not grow weary
until virtue wins the victory.—
Deign to accept our united acknowledgment
of the Divine favors Thou didst bestow
during the twelve months
since we last nationally met.
We own as Thy gifts
the food which has sustained our bodies,
the domestic pleasures which has sustained our souls,
and the peace
which unfolded and increased
the resources of our cherished land.
We recognize as a token of Thy paternal love,
the temporary commercial stringency experienced,
rebuking extravagance and teaching moderation.[1] A reference to the economic depression resulting from the Panic of 1873
We are grateful unto Thee, also,
for that all-elevating charity
of which Thou hast made us capable,
and which effectually assuaged the sorrows
of our brethren in the far South.
Grant that never again we may apply it
to a purpose so grievous and distressing.
May the ills that scourged Memphis and Shreveport
be now and always a tale of the past.
But let the feelings
which our fraternal compassion engendered
endure everlastingly,
and bind in a silvery chain of affection
the forty millions who jubilantly offer Thee thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving Day prayer was offered by Rabbi Sabato Morais at the end of his sermon at Mikve Israel in Philadelphia on 27 November 1873, and reprinted in The Jewish Messenger on 5 December 1873. It was preserved by Rabbi Morais in his ledger (page 61), an archive of newsclippings recording material he contributed to the press, among other announcements. (Many thanks to the Library of the University of Pennsylvania for helping to make this resource accessible.)


Thanksgiving Day Prayer [1873-11-27] (Sabato Morais Ledger, p. 61)



1A reference to the economic depression resulting from the Panic of 1873.



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