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תפילה לישראל | A Prayer for Israel, by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman (2013)

Translation (Hebrew) Source (English)

אָנוּ אוֹהֲבִים אֶת מְדִינָת יִשְׂרָאֵל
מִתְפַּלְּלִים אָנוּ לְאֹמֶץ לֵב
לָרִיב אִתָּהּ,
כְּשֶׁרָבוּ נְבִיאֵי קֶדֶם,
וּכְשֶׁרָבִים כׇּל יִשְׁרֵי לֵב
O God,
we love this country,
and because we love it,
we pray for the courage
to quarrel with it,
as did the prophets of old,
and as do the people of conscience

טַע בְּלִבֵּנוּ אֹמֶץ
לְהַצְלִיחַ נֶגֶד עוֹבְדֵי פֶסֶל הָאוֹמְרִים
”מְדִינָתִי כַּצַדֶקֶת כָּרְשָׁעָה,“
וְלֹא אוֹמְרִים,
”מְדִינָתִי כְּשֶׁהִיא צֹדֶקֶת, מְדִינָתִי —
לְתַקְנָה כְּשֶׁהִיא רְשָׁעָה.“
Give us the courage
to quarrel with the idolaters who say:
“My country, right or wrong,”
instead of saying:
“My country, when it is right. My country—
to be made right whenever it is wrong.”

וּבְכֵן [יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְפָנֶיךָ] 
שֶׁנַּצְמִיח בָּעוֹלָם
עוֹד קְצַת אֱמֶת
עוֹד קְצַת צֶדֶק
וְעוֹד קְצַת אַהֲבָה
מִמַּה שֶּׁהָיֹה יִהְיֶה
לוּלֵא אָהַבְנוּ אֶת הָעוֹלָם
מַסְפִּיק לָרִיב אִתּוֹ
מִתּוֹךְ חָזוֹן שֶׁל־עוֹלָם מְתוּקָּן.
May [it be your will] 
that we bring into this world
a bit more truth
a bit more justice
and a bit more love
than there would have been
if we had not loved the world
enough to quarrel with it—
out of a vision of what it ought to be.

יִהְיוּ לְרָצוֹן אִמְרֵי פִינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂי יָדֵינוּ לְפָנֶיךָ,
אֲשֶׁר רִיב־הָאוֹהֲבִים שֶׁלְךָ עִם הָעוֹלָם
הוּא סֵפֶר תּוֹלְדוֹת הָאָדָם
כִּי אַתָּה מְּחַיֶּה אֶת צִיּוֹן וְאֶת כׇּל יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּשְׁכִינַתְכֶם׃
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה׳
הַמַּחֲזִיר שְׁכִינָתוֹ לְצִיוֹן.
May our prayers and our deeds be pleasing to you,
O God,
whose lover’s quarrel with the world
is the history of humanity.[1] cf. Genesis 5:1.  
[For] Your presence gives life to Zion and all Israel.
Blessed are you, God,
[who restores Their Shekhinah to Tsiyyon.][2] from the blessing “Retsei” in the Amidah. 

This Prayer for Israel was composed in English by Rabbi Lawrence A. Hoffman. Hebrew translation offered by Rabbi David Nelson and shared together for a Human Rights Shabbat by T’ruah in 2013. Many thanks to Baruch Sienna and the Open Siddur Project community for their help in correcting the niqqud in Rabbi Nelson’s Hebrew translation. We also worked to improve his Hebrew translation which ultimately led to several additions to the English source [in brackets], especially in the ḥatimah. –Aharon Varady






1 cf. Genesis 5:1.
2 from the blessing “Retsei” in the Amidah.

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