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

Hebrew (source) English (translation)

אָנוּ לְיָהּ
וּלְיָהּ עֵינֵנוּ
We (turn) towards Yah
and towards Yah we look.

בָּרוּךְ ה״ אֲשֶׁר טוֺב גִמָלָנוּ,
בְּרַחֲמָיו וּבְרוֺב חֲסָדָיו הִגְדִיל לָנוּ,
וּבְרוּחַ פִּיו בָּרָא שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ
תֵּבֵל וְיוֺשִיַהָ.
וְהוּא הַמֵאִיר לָאָרֶץ וְלַדָרִים עָלֶיהָ
הוּא בָּרָא כָּל הַנִבְרָאִים,
וְהוֺצִיא יֶשׁ מֶאַיִן כָּל הַנִמְצָאִים,
מֶלֶךְ עוֺלָמִים לוֺ הַמְּלוּכָה וּמַמְּלִיךְ מְלָכִים,
הוּא אֲשֶׁר נָטַע שָׁלוֺם בְּלֵב מְלָכִים וְשָׂרִים
וּלְהָשִׁיב חֶרֶב אֵל נְדָנָהּ,
אָמַר ה״ שָׁלוֺם לָרָחוֺק וְלַקָרוֺב
נוֺדֶה לַה״ בְּמַקְהֵלוֺת עַל חֲסָדָיו
אֲשֶׁר הֵיטַב עִמָנוּ,
צָעַקְנוּ אֶל ה״ בַּצַר לָנוּ
וּמִמְּצוּקוֺתֵנוּ הוֺצִיאָנוּ,
וְאֶת הָעָם הַרָפֶּה יוֺשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ
הִצְלִיחַ בְּטוּבוֺ מִלְחַמְתֵּינוּ,
וּמִידֵי זָרִים וְנָכְרִים לָנוּ הָשַׁכְתָּ נַחֲלָתֵינוּ,
וְהֶחֱזַרְתָּנוּ מָשׂוֺשׂ לִבֵּנוּ׃
Blessed be Hashem who has dealt kindly with us,
in His mercy and great kindness He has dealt magnanimously with us.
By the breath of His mouth He has created heaven and earth,
the Earth and those who dwell thereon.
He gives light to the land and its inhabitants.
He has created all created things,
and every existing thing He has produced, what exists created from the non-existent.
King eternal, to Him is Kingship, and He causes monarchs to reign.
He it is who implanted peace in the heart of kings and princes
so that they may return the sword to its sheath.
Hashem has said peace to those afar and to those near.
We will praise Hashem in congregation for His kindnesses
which He has benevolently bestowed upon us.
We cried unto Hashem from our straits
and from our troubles He brought us forth.
And for us, a weak people, inhabiting the land,
He in His goodness prospered our warfare.
You have restored us our inheritance from the hands of aliens and strangers
and given us back the joy of our heart.

וְעַתָּה בָּאנוּ מֶלֶךְ רָם עַל רָמִים,
לִשְׁפּוֺךְ נַפְשֵׁנוּ לְפָנֶיךָ,
שְׁמַע אֶל תְּפִלַת בִּנְךָ בְּכוֺרֶךָ,
עַם סְגֻלָתֶךָ,
הַפּוֺטְחִים עַל שְׁלֹשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה מִדוֺתֶךָ,
שֶׁאֵינָם חוֺזְרִים רֵיקָם מִלְפָנֶיךּ,
אֶמוּנִים בְּנִי מַאֲמִינִים בִּשְׁלֹשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה עִיקָרֵי דָתֶיךָ׃
And now, King, exalted beyond all height,
we have come to pour out our soul before you.
Hear the prayer of your first-born son,
your chosen people,
who trust in your thirteen attributes of mercy,
that they return not empty from before you,
faithful sons of faithful believers in the thirteen principles of your Law.

כְּשֵׁם שֶׁחָלַקְתָּ מִכְבוֺדֶךָ לְדָוִד בֶּן יִשָי,
וְלִמְנוֺ שְׁלֹמֹה נָתַתָּ חָכְמָה מִכָּל אָדָם,
כֵּן תְּחַלֵק כָּבוֺד שֵׂכֶל בִּינָה וּמַדַע לִשְׁפּוֺט אֶת הַעָם
לַאֲדוֺנֵינוּ שָׂרְי שְׁלֹשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה מְדִינוֹת הָאֵלוּ,
וּבְתוֺכָם שַׂר הַעָכָא
גוורנר קלינטן
עִם יוֺעֲצֵיהֶם וְשָׂרֵיהֶם הַפַרְתֵּמִים הַפָחוֺת
וְהַסְגָנִיט אִישׁ עַל מַחֲנֵהוּ
וְאִישׁ עַל דִגְלוֺ אֲשׁר שַׂמְתָּ הַמִשְׂרָה עָל שׁכְמוֺ,
יִתְנַשֵׂא וְיָרוּם הוֺדוֺ,
וְיִהְיֶה כַּזַיִת רַעֲנָן,
וְיִפְרָה כּשׁוֺשַׁנַת הָעֲמָקִים,
וּכְחַבַצֶלֶת הַשָׁרוֺן,
וְהָיָה כְּעֵץ שָׁתוּל עַל פַּלְגֵי מַיִם
אֲשֶׁר פִרְיוֺ יִתֵּן בְּעִתּוֺ
וְעָלֵהוּ לֹא יִבּוֺל וְכָל אֲשֶׁר יַעֲשֶׂה יַצְלִיחַ,
וְכַאֲשֶׁר בְּחַסְרָם הַגְדוֺלִים מֵטִיבִים עִמָנוּ
וּבְצִילָם אֲנַחְנוּ יוֺשְׁבִים שְׁלֵוִים וּשְקֵטִים,
כֵּן תְּשַׁלֵם לָחֶם כִּגְמוּלָם,
וְתֵּן לָהֶם מִשְׁאֲלוֺת לְבָבָם,
וְיֵיטִבוּ עִמָנוּ עַד אַחֲרִיתָם,
וּתְנַנוּ לְחֵן וּלְחֶסֶד בְּעֵינֵיהֶם,
וּכְחוֺתָם עַל לִבָּם יְשִׂימוּנוּ,
וְכֵן יְהִי רָצוֺן וְנֺאמַר אָמֵן׃
As you gave of your kavod to David ben Yishai
and to Shlomo his son [whom] you gave wisdom greater than that of all men,
so may you grant intelligence, wisdom, and knowledge to our lords,
the rulers of these thirteen states, to judge the people,
yea also to the commanding general,
Governor [George] Clinton,
together with their counselors, advisers,
(officers and deputies) each ruling in his sphere,
each man by his standard, each upon whose shoulder you have set dominion.
May he be upheld and his honor be high.
May he be as the fresh olive tree,
and blossom as the lily of the valley,
as the rose of Sharon,
and may he be as the tree planted by springs of water,
whose fruit comes forth in its due season and its leaf withers not.
And in whatsoever he does may he prosper.
And as in their great kindness they will deal well with us,
and we shall dwell in quietness and peace in their shadow,
so may you reward them according to their desert.
Give to them the desires of their heart,
so that they may deal well with us unceasingly.
Cause us to find favor and grace in their eyes
that they may set us a seal upon their heart.
O that this may be your will and let us say Amen.

כֵּשֵׁם שֶׁנָתַתָּ כֹּחַ לְשַׁמְשׁוֺן בֶּן מָנוֺחַ וְשָמַע כְּפִיר בִּגְבוּרָתוֹ,
כֵּן תְּגַבֵּר וּתְחַזֵק מָגֵן יְשוּעָה לַאֲדוֺנֵינוּ רֹאשׁ וְשַׂר הַצָבָא
דשארדש וואשנגטן
מְשׁוּחַ מִלְחַמָה בַּיַם בַּיַבַּשָׁה
וּבַמְדִינָה עִם כָּל חַיָילוֺתָיו בְּרִכְבּוֺ וּבְפָנָשָׁיו
וּבְּעַת מִצוֺא יַדְבֵּר עַמִים תַּחַת רַגְלָיו,
עַד יִפְנוּ אֵלָיו עוֺרֶף וְלֺא פָּנִים,
יִפְּלוּ וְלֹא יוֺסיפוּ קוּם,
וְהוּא יִרְדוֺף אוֺיְבָיו וְיַשִׂיגֵם
וְלֹא יָשׁוּב עַד כַּלוֺתָם.
אָנָא ה״ הוֺשִׁיעָה נָה, אָנָא ה״ הַצְלִיחָה נָא,
אַךְ טוֺב וּמַה נָעִים
אִם תֶּחֱזַק שָׁלוֺם בְּלֵב מֵלָכִים וְשָׂרִים כַּאֲשֶׁר נָטָעְתָּ,
וְכִתְּתוּ חַרְבוֺתָם לְאִתִּים וַחֲנִיתוֺתֵיהֶם לְמַזְמֵרוֺת
וְלֹא יִשָׂא גוֺי אֶל גוֺי חֶרֶב וְלֺא יִלְמְדוּ עוֺד מִלְכָמָה,
וִיְקַיֵים בָּנוּ מִקְרָא שֶׁכָּתוּב,
וְנָתַתִּי שָׁלוֺם בָּאָרֶץ וּשְׁכַבְתֶּם וְאֵין מַחֲרִיד,
שָׁלוֺם רָב לְאוֺהֲבֵי תוֺרָתֶךָ וְאֵין לָמוֺ מִכְשׁוֺל,
יְהִי שָׁלוֺם בְּחֵילֵך שַׁלְוָה בּאַרְמְנוֺתַיִךְ,
וְתֵן בְּלִבָּם רַחֲמָנוֺת לַעֲשׂוֺת טוֺבוֺת עִמָנוּ וְעִם כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל
בִּזְכוּת אַהֲבַת הַקַדְמוֺנִים כְּדִכְתִיב
וְזָכַרְתִּי אֶת בְּרִיתִי יַעֲקֹב
וְאַף אֶת בְּרִיתִי יִצְחָק
וְאַף אֶת בְּרִיתִי אַבְרָהָם
אֶזְכֹּר וְהָאָרֶץ אֶזְכֹּר,
וְכֵן יְהִי רָצוֺן וְנֺאמַר אָמֵן׃
As you did give strength to Shimshon ben Manoaḥ that he rent a young lion in his might,
so may you strengthen and support the saving shield of our lord and commanding general
George Washington,
the appointed chief of the war on sea and on land
and throughout the country hath all his forces infantry and cavalry.
In your own time you will subdue the people beneath his feet
until they turn their back to him and not their face;
may they fall and rise up no more,
and may he pursue his enemies, and overtaking them,
not return until they are destroyed.
O Hashem save us now! Hashem prosper us now!
O how goodly, how beautiful might it be
would you confirm the peace that you have planted on the hearts of kings and rulers
that they should beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning forks,
that nation should not lift up sword against nation nor should they any more learn war;
that you would establish over us the word that is written:
“And I will set peace in the land and you shall dwell with none to make you afraid.”[1]Leviticus 26:6
“Great is the peace to those who love your teaching, for them is no stumbling block.”[2]Psalms 119:165
“May peace be in your rampart, prosperity in your palaces.”[3]Psalms 122:7
Set mercy in their heart that they may deal kindly with us and with all Israel
through the merit of the love of the Avot, as it is written:
“And I shall remember my covenant with Ya’aqov,
also my covenant with Yitsḥak,
yea also my covenant with Avraham
and the land shall I remember.”[4]Leviticus 26:42
O that this may be your will and let us say Amen.

כֵּשֵׁם שֶׁנָתַתָּ שְׁלֹשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה מְדִינוֺת אמעריקא הָאֵלוּ לְחֵירוּת עוֺלָם,
כֵּן תּוֺצִיאֵנוּ שֵׁנִית מֵעַבְדוּת לְחֵירוּת,
וְתִּתְקַע בְּשׁוֺפָר גָדוֺל לְחֵירוּתֵינוּ, כְּמָה שֶׁנֶאֱמַר
וְהָיָה בַּיוֺם הַהוּא יִתָּקַע בּשׁוֺפָר גָדוֺל
וּבָאוּ הָאוֺבְדִים בְּאֶרֶץ אַשׁוּר
וְהַנִדָחִים בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם
וְהִשְׁתַחֲווּ לַה״ בְּהַר הַקֹדֶשׁ בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם,
וְיִתְנַעֲרוּ מֵעָפָר לְשַׁבֵּחַ לָאֵל,
לְיוֺם נָקָם מַהֵר פִּדְיוֺנֵינוּ כִּי אַתָּה הַגוֺאֵל,
וְאָז נָשִׁיר שִׁיר חָדָשׁ לַה״ אֱלֹקֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל,
וְשָׁם נַעֲבְדֵהוּ בְּיִרְאָה כִּימֵי עוֺלָם וּכְשָׁנִים קַדְמוֺנִיוֺת,
וְיַרְאֵינוּ נִפְלָאוֺת כִּימֵי קֶדֶם,
וְיָשׁוּב הַקָדוֺשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שְׁכִינָתוֺ לִצִיוֺן
וְסֵדֶר הָעֲבוֹדָה לִירוּשָׁלָיִם,
וְנִזכֶּה לַחֲזוֺת בְּנוֺעַם ה״ וּלְבַקֵר בְּהֵכָלוֺ,
וְיִשְׁלַח לָנוּ כֹּהֵן צֶדֶק וְהוּא יוֺלִיכֵנוּ קוֺמְמִיוֺת לְאַרְצֵנוּ,
וִיהִי נוֺעַם ה״ עָלֵינוּ,
וּבָא לְצִיוֺן גוֺאֵל בִּמְהֵרָה בְּיָמֵינוּ,
וְכֵן יְהִי רָצוֺן וְנֺאמַר אָמֵן׃
As you have granted to these thirteen states of America everlasting freedom,
so may you bring us forth once again from bondage into freedom,
and may you sound the great shofar for our freedom as it is said:
“And it shall be on that day, the great shofar shall be blown
and the wanderers in the land of Assyria
and the dispersed in the land of Egypt
shall come and bow down to Hashem on the holy mount in Jerusalem.”[5]Isaiah 27:13
May they be awakened from the dust to praise El:
Hasten our deliverance at the day of retribution for you are our Redeemer.
Then shall we sing a new song to Hashem Elohei Yisrael,
and there we shall serve Him with reverence as in the days of old.
May He show us wonders as in days of old,
and may the blessed Holy one restore the Shekhina to Tsiyon
and the order of service to Yerushalayim.
And may we be granted to gaze on the beauty of Hashem and to behold His sanctuary.
May He send us the Priest of Righteousness who will lead us upright to our land.
May the beauty of Hashem be upon us,
and may the Redeemer come speedily to Tsiyon in our days.
O that this may be your will and let us say Amen.

The prayer was composed by Rabbi Hendla-Iehochanan Van OEttingen and [read by] Jacob Cohen acting in place of the Ḥazan of the Congeregation Shearith Israel in 1784. Found in the Jacques Judah Lyons papers; P-15; 1; 64. An English translation was published by the American Jewish Historical Society, in The Lyons Papers, “Items Relating to New York Congregation: Prayer in Hebrew,” 1913. p. 34-37. The English translation is adapted with minor changes from that made available in that publication. Many thanks to Fred MacDowell for introducing me to this historic prayer in an article at his terrific blog, On the Main Line.

I have transcribed this prayer myself and any imperfections are my own. Shgiyot mi yavin u’nistarot nakeni — please correct me if you see a mistake in my transcription.

Concerning this prayer, Dr. Jonathan Sarna has written:[6]Moral Problems In American Life: New Perspectives On Cultural History, ed. Lewis Perry, Karen Halttunen. “CHAPTER NINE Jewish Prayers for the U.S. Government: A Study in the Liturgy of Politics and the Politics of Liturgy,” Cornell University Press, 1998. Also see, Hendla Jochanan van Oettingen, ‘Philadelphia Jews Appeal for Civil Rights — 1783’ and ‘”Sound the great horn for our freedom”: A Shearith Israel Prayer — 1784’ in Jonathan D. Sarna, Benny Kraut and Samuel Joseph (eds.), Jews and the Founding of the Republic (New York: Markus Wiener, 1985) pp. 95. 127.

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 De Witt 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.”

Source

Notes   [ + ]

  1. Leviticus 26:6
  2. Psalms 119:165
  3. Psalms 122:7
  4. Leviticus 26:42
  5. Isaiah 27:13
  6. Moral Problems In American Life: New Perspectives On Cultural History, ed. Lewis Perry, Karen Halttunen. “CHAPTER NINE Jewish Prayers for the U.S. Government: A Study in the Liturgy of Politics and the Politics of Liturgy,” Cornell University Press, 1998. Also see, Hendla Jochanan van Oettingen, ‘Philadelphia Jews Appeal for Civil Rights — 1783’ and ‘”Sound the great horn for our freedom”: A Shearith Israel Prayer — 1784’ in Jonathan D. Sarna, Benny Kraut and Samuel Joseph (eds.), Jews and the Founding of the Republic (New York: Markus Wiener, 1985) pp. 95. 127.

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