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Prayer for the Centennial of Ḳ.Ḳ. Miḳveh Israel (Philadelphia), by Rabbi Sabato Morais (30 March 1883)


Contribute a translationSource (English)
Everlasting God!
An altar of earth is acceptable in Thy sight,
when we lay thereupon feelings of gratitude
for Thy unceasing benefits.
Yet, man’s natural impulse
leads him to choose a place,
on entering which
the mind may be impressed
with Divine awe.
Therefore Thou,
who alone hast framed the human heart,
didst bid Thy prophet in the days of yore
to erect a Tabernacle,
in which the liberated tribes might offer
their prayers and oblations.
When by Thy wakeful Providence
the people freed from bondage
became a unit under David’s sceptre,
Thy royal servant, sought to do Thee honor.
Contrasting his gorgeous habitation
with the humble tent wherein Thy holy ark was enshrined,
he longed to rear unto Thee a Temple with splendor.
His son—a man of peace—
performed by Thy direction
what Thou didst not allow
his warlike father to accomplish.
Since that period, Thy chosen witnesses
in the land of promise and in countries of exile,
have set aside buildings dedicated to Thy service.
Agreeably to the time and to the means possessed,
have such structures received at the hands of Thy adorers
adornments of appreciable worth.
Thy suppliants, O Lord! —
the Congregation “Hope of Israel”—
cited by sentiments
akin to those which stirred
within the breast of Thy sweet Psalmist,
had erected whilom
a comely edifice in glory to Thy name.
They beheld with pain the injuries,
which a score and three years[1] 23 years prior = 24 May 1860, near the time of the commencement of the Civil War.  had wrought therein,
and resolved to stay off the threatening decay.
Women went forth to gather gold,
and the faithful gave of their own
to repair the house of God.
With hymns have we come
unto Thy presence,
because of our rejoicings.
For Thine is the house, and its embellishments
are a tribute of our love for Thy worship.
Vouchsafe to accept the humble token
and destine it to be the agent of salvation.
Grant O Lord!
that our communion herein
may purify our hearts
and fit us to be patterns of virtue in our homes,
and in the daily vocations we pursue.
Grant that our convocations
may fill our minds with a knowledge
fostering humility when we prosper,
inspiring fortitude in our troubles,
resignation to Thy will in time of sorrow.
And now we implore Thy blessing, O Father!
Let it rest on our sisters, who labored
to bring this auspicious end to pass,
and on their brothers who aided
in the completion of the task,
and upon all who gave
in response to the demand
and suitably to their capacities.
May the merits thus acquired
be manifested in the gladsome satisfaction
of having done a righteous act,
and in the continued fruition
of life’s pleasures and prosperity.
At this on which recalls
the mental agony of our ancestors,
and their unlooked for liberation
in the far off country of the East,
we turn gratefully unto Thee,
by reason of the tranquility we enjoy
in this beloved land of the West.
Benedictions choice and abundant
may flow down from the highest heaven
upon the people,
that Washington—the man of rectitude—
formed, guided and protected.
May a residue of Israel abide here at ease,
watched over by the laws
which constitute human defence,
and covered beneath the folds
of that banner whose motto will ever be,
civil and religious liberty
to the native and the stranger.
Grant us this petition O Thou
the only God and Saviour of mankind.

This prayer appears in conclusion to “A Summary of the Centenary History of the Mikve Israel Congregation, by Rev. S. Morais” published in the The Jewish Record on 30 March 1883, a clipping of which is found on page 200in the Sobato Morais Scrapbook (a/k/a, the Morais Ledger).


Centennial Prayer for Ḳ.Ḳ. Mikve Israel [Jewish Record, 1883-03-30] (Sabato Morais Ledger, p. 200)



123 years prior = 24 May 1860, near the time of the commencement of the Civil War.



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