הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | The Prayer for the Safety of Kings, Princes and Commonwealths, presented by Menasseh ben Israel to Oliver Cromwell (1655)

Hebrew (reconstructed from the nusaḥ and translation) English (source)

An evident sign of the proper and naturall resolution of this Nation, and their constant obedience to their Princes.

The same affection is confirmed by the inviolable custom of all the Iews wheresoever they live: for on every Sabbath or festival day, they every where are used to pray for the safety of all Kings, Princes and Common-wealths, under whose jurisdiction they live, of what protection-soever: unto which duty they are bound by the Prophets and the Talmudists; from the Law as by Ieremie chap. 29 vers. 7 “seek the peace of the City unto which I have made you wander: and pray for her unto the Lord, for in her Peace you shall enjoy peace.”[1]Jeremiah 29:7 He speaks of Babylon, where the Iews at that time were captives. From the Talmud ord. 4. tract. 4 Abodazara pereq 1. “Pray for the peace of the Kingdom, for unless there were feare of the Kingdome, men would swallow one the other alive, &c.”[2]Avodah Zarah 3b 66-70. Cf. Pirkei Avot 3:2. Sefer Abudraham, end of Laws for the Torah Reading.

From the continuall and never broken Custome of the Jews wheresoever they are, on the Sabbath-Day, or other solemn Feasts; at which time all the Iews from all places come together to the Synagogue, after the benediction of the Holy Law, before the Minister of the Synagogue blesseth the people of the Iews; with a loud voice he blesseth the Prince of the Country under whom they live, that all the Iews may hear it, and say, Amen.

The words he useth are these, as in the printed book of the Iews may be seen:[3]The Hebrew liturgy shown here was reconstructed from the liturgy of Hanoten Teshua found in the two siddurim immediately antecedent that are known to contain this prayer: Venice, 1622 and Ottoman Empire, 1565-66. We are grateful to Barry Schwartz for his article, “Hanoten Teshua: The Origin of the Traditional Jewish Prayer for the Government,” Hebrew Union College Annual, Vol. 57 (1986), pp. 113-120 — which provided these two references — and to Sefaria’s Lev Eliezer Israel for his help accessing page images from the National Library of Israel’s collection. (There are some minor variations between this earlier version and that found in the nusaḥ of the Spanish-Portuguese community in Amsterdam (Cf. “Prayer for the Dutch royal family and the city council of Amsterdam,” 1950.)

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה לַמְּלָכִים
וּמֶמְשָּׂלָה לֲנְּסִיכִים
הַפּוֹצֶה אֶת דָּוִד עַבְדּוֹ
מֵחֶרֶב רָעָה
הַנּוֹתֵן בַּיַם דֶרֶךְ
וּבְמַיִם עַזִּים נְתִיבָה
הוּא יְבָרֵךְ וְיִשְׁמוֺר
וְיִנְצוֺר וְיַעֲזוֺר
וִירוֺמֵם וִיגַדֵּל
וִינַשֵּׂא לְמַֽעְלָה לְמַֽעְלָה לַאֲדוֺנֵנוּ
He that giveth salvation unto Kings,
and dominion unto Lords,[4]Menasseh ben Israel does not include the phrase, “וּמַלְכוּתוֺ מַלְכוּת כָּל עוֺלָמִים” (whose kingdom and dominion is everlasting). Cf. Jacob Jehuda Leao’s Prayer for Charles II. 
He that delivered his servant David
from the sword of the Enemy,
He that made a way in the Sea,
and a path in the stronge waters,
blesse and keep,
preserve and rescue,
exalt and magnify,
and lift up higher and higher, our Lord:

[And then he names, the Pope, the Emperour, King, Duke, or any other Prince under whom the Iews live, and add’s :]

הַמֶּלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְלָכִים בְּרַחֲמָיו יִשְׁמְרֶהוּ
וִיחַיֵיהוּ
וּמִכָּל צָרָה וָנֶזֶק יַצִילֵהוּ׃
The King of kings defend him in his mercy,
making him joyfull,
& free him from all dangers and distresse.

מֶֽלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְלָכִים בְּרַחֲמָיו
יָרִוּם וְיַגְבִּיהַ כּוֺכַב מַעֲרַכְתָּוֺ
וְיַאֲרִיךְ יָמִים עַל מַמְלָכְתּוֺ׃
The King of kings, for his goodness sake,
raise up and exalt his planetary star,
& multiply his dayes over his Kingdome.

מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְלָכִים בְּרַחֲמָיו
יִתֵּן בְּלבּוֺ
וּבְּלֵב כָּל יוֺעֲצַיו וְשָׂרָיו
רַחֲמָנוּת לַעֲשׂוֺת טוֺבָה עִמָּנוּ
וְעִם כָּל יִשְּׂרָאֵל אַחֵינוּ
The King of kings for his mercies sake,
put into his heart,
and into the heart of his Counsellers, & those that attend and administer to him,
that he may shew mercy unto us,
& unto all the people of Israel.

בְּיָמָיו וּבְיָמֵינוּ
תִּוָּשַּׁע יְהוּדָה
וְיִשְׂרָאֵל יִשְׁכּוֺן לָבֶטַח.
In his dayes and in our dayes,
let Iudah be safe,
and Israel dwell securely,

וּבָא לְצִיּוֺן גּוֺאֵל
וְכֵן יְהִי רָצוֺן
וָנֺאמַר אָמֵן:
and let the Redeemer come to Israel,
and so may it please God.
Amen.

These are the very formalities set down word for word, which the Iewes, by the command of God, received from the Talmud, do use in their prayers for Princes, under whose government they reside. And therefore wise Princes are wont to banish from their Courts false reports. And most wise R. Simon Ben-Iochai, in his excellent book labeled Zoar in Sarasa Pecudi,[5]”Sarasa” — probably a corruption of “sedera,” i.e. parsha. Thanks to Baruch Jean Thaler for suggesting this. relates, that “it is a Tradition received from Heaven, that the Kings of the Nations of the world, Princes, Governours, that protect the Iews in this world, or do them any good, that the same shall enjoy certain degrees of glory, or eternal reward; as on the other side, they that do to the Nation of the Iews any harm, that they shall be punished with some particular eternal punishment,”[6]The source of Menasseh ben Israel’s paraphrasing is from a section of heikhalot writings in Zohar Pekudei, Zohar II 267b:8-10., As appeareth also out of Esa. the last chapter.[7]Isaiah 66:1-24

From “How Faithful The Nation of the Iewes are.” in To His Highnesse The Lord Protector Of The Common-Wealth Of England, Scotland, And Ireland, The Humble Addresses Of Menasseh Ben Israel (1655), p.11-13 (p.91-93 in L. Wolf’s edition).

Menasseh ben Israel begins his explanation for the prayer Hanoten Teshua with a reference to Jeremiah 29:7 and to the Talmud Bavli, tractate Avodah Zara 3b. In doing so, he’s relating the explanation provided by Abu Dirham in his sefer Abudraham, (translation slightly adapted from that made by Barry Freundel):

Hebrew (source) English (translation)

ונהגו לברך את המלך ולהתפלל לשם שיעזרהו ויאמצהו על אויביו שכן כתוב ודרשו את שלום העיר אשר הגליתי אתכם שמה והתפללו בעדה אל ה’ כי בשלומה יהיה לכם שלום. ושלום העיר הוא שיתפלל לשם שינצח את אויביו. ואמרינן בפרק קמא דעבודה זרה (עבודה זרה ג ב): אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל מאי דכתיב (חבקוק א, ד): “ותעשה אדם כדגי הים כרומש לא מושל בו” מה דגים שבים כל הגדול מחבירו בולע את חבירו אף בני אדם אלמלא מוראה של מלכות איש את רעהו חיים בלעו והיינו דתנן רבי חנניא סגן הכהנים אומר הוי מתפלל בשלומה של מלכות וכו’. ואחר כך מברך הקהל, כמו שנאמר: ויברך את כל קהל ישראל” (מלכים א׳ חי)
And they were accustomed to blessing the king and to praying to God that He should aid him and strengthen him over his enemies, as it says: “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace shall you have peace.”[8]Jeremiah 29:7 And the peace of the city is that he shall pray to God that the king shall defeat his enemies. And we say in the first chapter of Tractate Avoda Zara: Rav Yehudah says in the name of Shmuel: Why is it written: “And You make humanity as the fishes of the sea, and as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them?”[9]Habakuk 1:14 Why is humanity here compared to the fishes of the sea? — Just as among fish of the sea the greater swallow up the smaller ones, so with humanity, were it not for fear of the government, human beings would swallow each other alive.[10]Avodah Zarah 3b 66-70 This is just what we learnt: Rebbi Ḥanina, the Deputy High Priest, said, “Pray for the welfare of the government, for were it not for the fear thereof, human beings would swallow each other alive.”[11]Pirkei Avot 3:2 And after this he blesses the community, as it says: [And the king turned his face around] and blessed all the congregation of Israel.”[12]I Kings 8:14

Compared with later versions, this variation of Hanoten Teshua included an angelo-astrological phrase on the rise of the planetary star corresponding to the particular Sar in heaven and lord on earth. What changed between 1655 and the 18th century? Increased anxiety over exoteric references in the kabbalah following the messianic movement of Shabbetai Tsvi, and also, the Enlightenment. However, associations between this prayer and the work of angels (and their associated stars) can be found in works published prior to the Zohar. Moshe Freedman notes the following, “the Gemara reports that after Rav Safra finished praying Shmoneh Esrei (the silent prayer) he would pray ‘for peace in the court above and in the court below’[13]Berachot 16b 74 to Berachot 17a 1. Rashi (d. 1105) explains on Berakhot 17a,
בפמליא של מעלה – בחבורת שרי האומות שכשהשרים של מעלה יש תגר ביניהם תיכף יש קטטה בין האומות כדכתיב ועתה אשוב להלחם עם שר פרס (דניאל י): ובפמליא של מטה – בחבורת החכמים:‏
— that the court above refers to the angels (sarim, singular sar) assigned to each of the non-Jewish nations. When there is discord among the sarim, it generates discord among the nations and vice versa, implying that we should pray for peace between all nations.”

Related to the liturgical phrase on the rise of the planetary star, I think, Menasseh ben Israel includes a reference in his argument for the proper regard that should be granted the Jews by the other nations. The reference is to Zohar Pekudei (Zohar II 267b:8-10) and we believe this may be the first time anyone has ever located the actual text being referred to here. Below is the text from the Zohar II 267b:8-10 side by side with an English translation (thanks to Michael Berg, ed., Kabbalah Centre, for providing this translation):

Hebrew (source) English (translation)

בְּהֵיכָלָא דָּא, קַיְּימָאן אַרְבָּעָה פִּתְחִין, דְּמִתְפָּרְשָׁן לְאַרְבַּע סִטְרִין לְבַר. וְאִלֵּין אַחֲדִין וְלָא אַחֲדִין בְּסִטְרָא דִּקְדוּשָּׁה. לָא אִתְאֲחָד, אֶלָּא דְּאִתְחָזֵי בְּאִינּוּן פִּתְחִין נְהוֹרָא דְּנָהִיר, וְאִיהוּ אֲתָר דְּמִתְתְּקָן בְּכָל פִּתְחָא וּפִתְחָא, לְאִינּוּן חֲסִידֵי דִּשְׁאַר עַמִּין, אִינּוּן דְּלָא אַבְאִישׁוּ לוֹן לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאִשְׁתָּדָּלוּ עִמְּהוֹן בִּקְשׁוֹט. אִלֵּין קַיְימֵי בְּאִלֵּין פִּתְחִין, וְנַיְיחֵי תַּמָּן. (נ”א מהאי סטרא ונייחי מהאי סטרא).
There are four openings in this chamber, divided into four sides facing outside. They are united and not united on the side of holiness. They are not REALLY united, but through these openings a light is seen, shining FROM THE SIDE OF HOLINESS. There is a place prepared in every opening to the righteous of the nations, who did not oppress Yisrael, and strove to do them right. They stand in these openings and rest there.

בְּפִתְחָא דְּהַאי הֵיכָלָא בְּאֶמְצָעִיתָא, לְבַר, שִׁית פִּתְחִין דְּמִתְאַחֲדֵי בְּהַאי הֵיכָלָא, וְכֻלְּהוּ אַחֲדִין בֵּיהּ. הָכָא אִית כַּוִּין פְּתִיחָן, לְסִטְרָא דִּנְהוֹרָא קַדִישָׁא, וְאִינּוּן דּוּכְתִין מִתְתָּקְנִי לְמַלְכֵי שְׁאַר עַמִּין, אִינּוּן דְּלָא עָאקוּ לוֹן לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאַגִינוּ עָלַיְיהוּ תָּדִיר. אִלֵּין אִית לוֹן יְקָר בְּגִינֵיהוֹן דְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאִתְהֲנוּ בְּהַהוּא אֲפֵלָה דְּאִינּוּן יַתְבִין, מִגּוֹ נְהוֹרָא דְּנָהִיר מִסִּטְרָא דִּקְדוּשָּׁה. כְּמָה דְּאַתְּ אָמֵר, (ישעיה יד) כָּל מַלְכֵי גוֹיִם כֻּלָּם שָׁכְבוּ בְכָבוֹד.
In the opening in the middle of the chamber, on the outer side, there are six openings connected with the chamber. They all hold on to it. Here there are windows open on the side of the holy light. These places are made for the kings of the other nations, who did not oppress Yisrael and always protected them. They are honored because of Yisrael, and enjoy, in the darkness where they sit, the light shining from the side of holiness, as it is written, “All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory.”[14]Isaiah 14:18

וְאִי עָבְדוּ עָאקוּ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, אוֹ דְּחִיקוּ לוֹן. כַּמָה אִינּוּן דְּאַחְדִּין בְּהוּ, וְדַיְינִין לְהוּ לְתַתָּא תְּלַת זִמְנִין בְּיוֹמָא, מִכַּמָּה דִּינִין מְשַׁנְיָין אִלֵּין מֵאִלֵּין, לְאִינּוּן מַלְכִין דְּעָאקוּ לְהוּ, דְּאִתְדָּנוּ בְּהַהוּא עָלְמָא בְּכַמָּה דִּינִין. וְכָל יוֹמָא וְיוֹמָא סָהֲדִין סַהֲדוּתָא עָלַיְיהוּ דְּיִשְׂרָאֵל, וְעַל מְהֵימְנוּתָא דִּלְהוֹן, וְנַחְתֵּי לְתַתָּא וְאִתְדָּנוּ תַּמָּן. זַכָּאִין אִינּוּן יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּעָלְמָא דֵּין, וּבְעָלְמָא דְּאָתֵי.
If they did wicked things to Yisrael or oppressed them, they are seized and sentenced below three times a day, by several different punishments for the oppressing kings. They are sentenced in that world to several punishments, and every day they have to give testimony about Yisrael, and their Faith, then they descend to be judged below. Happy are Yisrael in this world and in the World to Come.

Sources

Notes   [ + ]

  1, 8. Jeremiah 29:7
  2. Avodah Zarah 3b 66-70. Cf. Pirkei Avot 3:2. Sefer Abudraham, end of Laws for the Torah Reading.
  3. The Hebrew liturgy shown here was reconstructed from the liturgy of Hanoten Teshua found in the two siddurim immediately antecedent that are known to contain this prayer: Venice, 1622 and Ottoman Empire, 1565-66. We are grateful to Barry Schwartz for his article, “Hanoten Teshua: The Origin of the Traditional Jewish Prayer for the Government,” Hebrew Union College Annual, Vol. 57 (1986), pp. 113-120 — which provided these two references — and to Sefaria’s Lev Eliezer Israel for his help accessing page images from the National Library of Israel’s collection. (There are some minor variations between this earlier version and that found in the nusaḥ of the Spanish-Portuguese community in Amsterdam (Cf. “Prayer for the Dutch royal family and the city council of Amsterdam,” 1950.)
  4. Menasseh ben Israel does not include the phrase, “וּמַלְכוּתוֺ מַלְכוּת כָּל עוֺלָמִים” (whose kingdom and dominion is everlasting). Cf. Jacob Jehuda Leao’s Prayer for Charles II.
  5. ”Sarasa” — probably a corruption of “sedera,” i.e. parsha. Thanks to Baruch Jean Thaler for suggesting this.
  6. The source of Menasseh ben Israel’s paraphrasing is from a section of heikhalot writings in Zohar Pekudei, Zohar II 267b:8-10.
  7. Isaiah 66:1-24
  9. Habakuk 1:14
  10. Avodah Zarah 3b 66-70
  11. Pirkei Avot 3:2
  12. I Kings 8:14
  13. Berachot 16b 74 to Berachot 17a 1
  14. Isaiah 14:18

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