הַרֵינִי מְכָוֵון בְּהַצְבָּעָתִי ׀ בִּתְּפִילָתִי (הַיוֹם)
לִדְרֹש שָׁלוֹם בְּעַד הַמְדִינָה הַזֹאת כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב:
”וְדִרְשׁוּ אֶת שְׁלוֹם הָעִיר אֲשֶׁר הִגְלֵיתִי אֶתְכֶם שָׁמָּה
וְהִתְפַּלְלוּ בַעֲדָהּ אֶל ה׳
כִּי בִשְׁלוֹמָהּ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם שָׁלוֹם.“ (ירמיה כט:ז)
Here I stand, intending through my vote | my prayer (today)
to seek peace for this country, as it is written (Jeremiah 29:7):
“Seek the peace of the city where I cause you to roam
and pray for her to YHVH (Adonai/God),
for in her peace you all will have peace.” Jeremiah 29:7
יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְפָנֶיךָ ה׳ שֶׁהָהַצְבָּעוֹת יִמְנוּ נֶאֱמָנוֹת
וְתִמְנֶה הַצְבָּעָתִי כְּאִלוּ קִיָּמְתִי הַכָּתוּב הַזֶה בְּכׇל עָצְמָתִי.
May it be Your will, YHVH, that votes be counted faithfully,
and may You count my vote as if I had fulfilled this verse with all my power.
תִּתֵן לֵב שׁוֹמֵעַ לְמִי שֶׁאָנוּ בּוֹחֲרִים (הַיוֹם)
וְטוֹב יְהְיֶה בְּעֵינֶיךָ שֶׁתִּשָׂא עַלֵינוּ מֶמְשָׁלָה טוֹבָה
שֶׁתָּבִיא רְפוּאָה וּמִשְׁפָּט וְשָׁלוֹם לְכׇל יוֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ הַזֹאת
וּלְכׇל יוֹשְׁבֵי תֵבֵל וְעַל יִרוּשַׁלָיִם
מֶמְשָלָה שֶׁתְּכַבֵּד הַצֶלֶם בְּכׇל אָדָם וּבִּבְרִיאָה
כִּי הַמַּלְכוּת שֶׁלְּךָ הִיא.
May You give a listening heart to whomever we elect (today)
and may it be good in Your eyes to raise for us a good government
that will bring healing, justice and peace to all living in this land
and to all the world, and upon Jerusalem
a government that will honor the image of God in all humanity and in Creation,
for rulership is Yours.
כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהִשְׁתַּתָפְתִי | אֶשְׁתַּתֵּף בַּבְּחִירוּת (הַיוֹם)
כֵּן זַכֵּנִי לַעֲשׂוֹת מַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים וּלְתַקֵּן עוֹלָם בְּכָל פֹּעַלִי
וּבַפְּעוּלָה שֶׁל (…) שֶׁאֲנִי מִתְנַדֵּב | מִתְנַדֶּבֶת לְקַיֵם
בְּעַד כׇּל הַבְּרִיאוֹת,
בְּזִכְרוֹן בְּרִית מֵי נֹחַ
לְהַגֵּן וּלְבָל תַשְׁחִית אָרֶץ וּמְלוֹאָהּ.
Just as I (have participated / will participate) in the election (today),
so may I merit to do good works and to repair the world through all my efforts,
and through the act of…[add your pledge]…which I pledge to do
on behalf of all living creatures,
in remembrance of the covenant of Noaḥ’s waters
to protect and to not destroy the earth and her plenitude.
[תְעַקֵּר טִירוּנִיָה וָעָרִיצוּת
וּתְמַגֵּר עֹשְׁקֵי נִדְכָּאִים.
תַעֲבִיר מֶמְשֶׁלֶת זָדוֹן מִן הָאָרֶץ
וּתְּסַכֵּל פּוֹגְעֵי בְּדֵמוֹקרָטִיָה וְתָּפֵר תַחְבּוּלוֹתָם.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה׳
[Optional for 2020: Tear out tyranny and despotism,
ruin those who cheat and deceive,
and overthrow those who oppress the vulnerable.
Make the reign of the arrogant disappear from the land,
and pulverize the plans of those who attack democracy.
bring on their downfall,
and humiliate them,
soon, in our days.
Blessed be You, YHVH
who breaks the enemy
and humiliates the arrogant.]
תֵּן לְכׇל אֻמּוֹת הָאָרֶץ הַזֹאת הָכֹּחַ וְהַרָצוֹן
לִרְדֹף צֶדֶק וּלְבַקֵּשׁ שָׁלוֹם כְּאַגֻדָה אַחַת
לֲעַקֹר גִזְעָנוּת וְחָמָס וּלְהַצְמִיחַ רְפוּאָה
וְחַיִים טוֹבִים וְשָׁלוֹם, פֹּה וּבְּכׇל הָעוֹלָם
וְקַיֵּם לָנוּ הַכָּתוּב:
”וִיהִי נֹעַם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ עָלֵינוּ
וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ
וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנֵהוּ.“ (תהלים צ:יז)
May You give to all the peoples of this country the strength and the will
to pursue righteousness and to seek peace as a unified force
to uproot racism and violence and to make healing,
good life and peace flourish here and throughout the world
and fulfill for us the verse (Psalms 90:17):
“May the pleasure of Adonai our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands for us;
make the work of our hands endure.” Psalms 90:17
Rabbi Seidenberg’s Prayer for Voting was initially composed for the United States presidential election in 2008 and publisting at neohasid.org, here.
Rabbi Seidenberg’s prayers are deeply ecologically conscious. According to the Jewish calendar’s reading of biblical chronology, the rains of the Great Deluge ended during the rainy season in the northern hemisphere, a time often corresponding to just before the November elections in the United States. Rabbi Seidenberg explains the significance:
This prayer is broadly speaking a prayer that we learn to work together to create a better future, and it incorporates a pledge to do one thing for healing the world, for tikkun olam, that will make this future a reality. It’s not a prayer about winning or getting other people to see things our way, like some of the others I’ve seen. Whomever we support (I am supporting Obama), we need to pray for strength for the next president, and for the whole country, to face what will be challenging times.
The 2010 election comes right before the end date of Noah’s flood. This common synchronicity inspired me in 2006 to focus the voting prayer on the covenant after the flood, which was a covenant with all creation.
Each person has their own way of expressing the essence of tikkun olam, so please change those lines according to your own vision of a perfected world. What is important is that we need both to vote and to take action to make our prayers a reality. What can you personally commit to doing? Pick something you can fulfill before the spring, and incorporate it into your prayer.
Rabbi Seidenberg asks that if you distribute a modified version of the following prayer, please keep it non-partisan. Rabbi Seidenberg adds:
If you can’t pray in a voting booth, where can you pray? And where would you need more to pray? This prayer is not about casting a winning vote or supporting a particular party. It’s a prayer that peace may come through whomever is elected, on behalf of the whole planet. It’s also more than that: you, the pray-er, are invited to add your own pledge to do a good deed that embodies the ideals you are praying for and voting for, to live your prayer. The pledge is based on the Jewish custom of pledging to give tsedakah, charity, when going up to the Torah. What is your pledge on the occasion of “going up” to the voting booth? The two lines following this pledge express the intention to act in the highest interests of all living beings. Only acts taken in this spirit can become truly “established.” Please modify these lines to express in your own words why you act.
For 2020, this prayer adds mention of uniting to end racism. And it includes an extra paragraph specifically for this election responding to the atmosphere of extraordinary divisiveness and calumny coming so much from the leadership of the government, but displaying its ills everywhere. The additional paragraph contains notarikon.
The Open Siddur Project is honored to be sharing new liturgies and translations by Rabbi David Seidenberg of neohasid.org. If you appreciate Rabbi Seidenberg’s work, please encourage him with a contribution and/or by joining his mailing list.
“תפילה להצבעה | A Prayer for Voting with a Pledge to Help Repair the World, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org 2008/2020)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.
Works of related interest:
Prayer for Every Voice to be Heard and All Votes to be Counted, by Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann (2020)
Although by posting this prayer on November the 14th we will have missed the elections in the United States, we are hopeful that this kavanah will be available just in time for future election cycles in the United States and anywhere else in the world democratic elections take place.
Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein wrote in to contribute his adaptation of Rabbi Seidenberg’s kavvanah:
Over on Facebook in 2020, he adapted this adding a translation:
May it be Your will, Hashem my God and God of my ancestors,
Just as I participated in elections today, so, too, let me merit to do good works and to repair Your world in all my works. Open us and all inhabitants of this land to pursue justice and to seek peace as one collective, to fulfill Scripture, “Lovingkindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss. Truth shall sprout from the earth, and justice shall gaze from heaven” (Psalms 85:11-12). And grant wise minds to those we elect today, and raise up this government to goodness and to blessing, to good life and to peace, for us and for all inhabitants of this land. “And may the pleasantness of the Lord our God be upon us. And may the work of our hands be sustenance to us. And may the work of our hands sustain God” (Psalms 90:17).
יהי רצון ה’ אלקי ואלקי אבותי,
כשם שהשתתפתי בבחירות היום, כן זכני לעשות מעשים טובים ולתקן עולמך בכל מעשי. פתח לנו ולכל יושבי הארץ הזאת לרדוף צדק ולבקש שלום כאגודה אחת, לקיים הכתוב, “חֶסֶד־וֶאֱמֶת נִפְגָּשׁוּ צֶדֶק וְשָׁלוֹם נָשָׁקוּ; אֱמֶת מֵאֶרֶץ תִּצְמָח וְצֶדֶק מִשָּׁמַיִם נִשְׁקָף” (תהלים פה:יא-יב). ותן לבב חכמה למי שאנו בוחרים היום ותשא הממשלה הזאת לטובה ולברכה לחיים טובים ולשלום, עלינו ועל כל יושבי הארץ הזאת. “וִיהִי נֹעַם אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנָה עָלֵינוּ וּמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ כּוֹנְנֵהוּ” (תהלים צ:יז).