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O Lord, Our God,
we thank Thee for Thy countless mercies.
For the incomparable gift of love
that comes to us from family and friends
and from these Thy children
to whose service we dedicate our lives.
We need Thy help, O God,
for without Thee the burden is heavy,
and the tablets of Thy commandments
weigh us down.
But when Thy writing is clear
and Thy spirit upon it,
the burden is lifted,
the tablets take on wings
and the commandments carry us on high.
Help us, O God,
to follow in the way
which we have been taught,
which our parents gave us
as their greatest gift.
Teach us, O Lord,
to follow the path of Joseph, our forefather,
always to say like him:
“I seek my brethren.” (Genesis 37:16)
We need Thy help
to tread the way before us
with surety and confidence,
the way hewn out by great leaders
who stood here
and who served Thy people.
Help us to be a true Rabbi —
a teacher to old and young,
to be a friend and counsellor
to this Thy holy congregation.
Help us to speak
where silence is cheap;
help us to be ever sensitive
to the heartbeat of our fellow man;
Help us to preserve our balance
in the swirl of human enterprise;
help us to teach Thy Torah,
thereby to magnify Thee day and night,
until the end of our days.
“Installation Prayer” by Rabbi Wolf Gunther Plaut was first published in Rabbi Morrison David Bial’s anthology, An Offering of Prayer (1962), p. 51, from where this prayer was transcribed. Rabbi Plaut held pulpits at Washington Boulevard Temple in Chicago, Illinois (1939-49), Mount Zion Temple in St. Paul, Minnesota (1948–1961), and Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, Ontario (beginning in 1961). This prayer may have served for his installation at any one of these, although with the date of publication of Bial’s collection we suspect this prayer was offered by Rabbi Plaut at Holy Blossom Temple. If you know which for certain, please leave a comment, or contact us.
“Prayer of a Congregational Rabbi upon their Installation, by Rabbi Wolf Gunther Plaut (1961)” is shared through the Open Siddur Project with a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 1.0 Universal license.
Works of related interest:
Prayer for American Enterprise [at the opening of a Kresge’s department store], by Rabbi Avraham Samuel Soltes (1956)
Opening prayer for the 12th U.A.W.–C.I.O. Labor Convention in Milwaukee, by Rabbi Joseph Baron (1949)
Prayer on the Anniversary of Brighton & Hove Liberal Synagogue, by Lilian Helen Montagu (27 May 1956)