|Source (Hebrew)||Translation (English)|
אַדִּיר בַּמָּרוֹם שׁוֹכֵן בִּגְבוּרָה,
מֶלֶךְ שֶׁהַשָּׁלוֹם שֶׁלּוֹ,
הַשְׁקִיפָה מִמְּעוֹן קָדְשְׁךָ
וּבָרֵךְ אֶת חַיָּלֵי צְבָא אֲרְצוֹת הַבְּרִית, אַמִּיצֵי־כֹּחַ,
לְהַבְטִיחַ אֶת בִּטְחוֹן הַמְּדִינָה שֶׁלָּנוּ the original text reads, “לַהֲגָנַת שְׁלוֹם כׇּל בְּרִיוֹתֶיךָ.”
Almighty God on High, [who dwells in power,
King for whom peace is His], Cf. Berakhot.55b.11 on the prayer to say in order to remedy the danger suggested by a disturbing dream.
look down from your Sanctified Abode
and bless the valiant soldiers of the United States Armed Forces
who risk their lives
to [ensure our nation’s security]. The language of the prayer as found in the images circulated by the OU/RCA reads, “to protect the welfare of all your creation.” But does the US Armed Forces “protect the welfare of all creation”? The US Department of Defense defines their mission as follows: “to provide the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation’s security.” Each branch of the military has their own mission statement, codified in law. In order to avoid this falsehood, we have amended the text of this prayer. –Aharon Varady
הֱיֵה נָא לָהֶם מַחֲסֶה
וּמִשְׂגַּב וְאַל תִּתֵּן לַמּוֹט רַגְלָם.
יְהִי שָׁלוֹם בְּחֵילָם,
מַלֵּא לִבָּם אוֹמֶץ וֶאֱמוּנָה
לְסַכֵּל עֲצַת אוֹיְבִים
וּלְהַשְׁבִּית כׇּל מֶמְשֶׁלֶת זְדוֹנִים.
הָגֵן עֲלֵיהֶם בַּיַּבָּשָׁה, בָּאֲוִיר וּבַיָּם
וְאֶת קַרְנֵי אוֹיְבֵיהֶם תְּגַדֵעַ.
וּלְחֵיק מִשְׁפְּחוֹתֵיהֶם חַיִּים וּשְׁלֵמִים בִּמְהֵרָה תְּשִׁיבֵם,
כַּכָּתוּב: ”ה׳ יִשְׁמָרְךָ מִכׇּל רָע,
יִשְׁמֹר אֶת נַפְשֶׁךָ.
ה׳ יִשְׁמָר צֵאתְךָ וּבוֹאֶךָ
מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם.“ (תהלים קכא:ז-ח)
Please, Benevolent One,
be their shelter and fortress,
and do not allow them to falter.
May harmony dwell in their ranks,
victory in their battalions.
Fill their hearts with faith and courage
to thwart the evil schemes of our enemies
and to abolish every rule of evil.
Protect them on land, in the air and in the sea,
and destroy their adversaries.
Guide them in peace,
lead them toward peace,
and return them speedily to their families alive and unharmed,
as it is written: “God will shield you from all evil;
He will guard your soul.
God will safeguard your departure and arrival,
from now and forevermore.” (Psalms 121:7-8)
הַנְחִילֵנו שְׁלוֹם אֱמֶת לְקַיֵּם מַה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:
”לֹא יִשָּׂא גּוֹי אֶל גּוֹי חֶרֶב
וְלֹא יִלְמְדוּ עוֹד מִלְחָמָה.“ (ישעיה ב:ד חלק)
לְמַעַן יֵדְעוּ כׇּל יוֹשְׁבֵי תֵּבֶל
כִּי לְךָ ה׳ מְלוּכָה יָאָתָה,
עַל כׇּל מַה שֶׁבָּרָאתָ.
וְכֵן יְהִי רָצוֹן,
Grant us true peace in fulfillment of the prophecy:
“Nation shall not lift up sword against another nation,
nor shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2:4 part)
Let all the inhabitants of the world know
that Majesty is Yours,
and Your Name inspires awe
upon all that You have created.
May this be Your will,
and let us say, Amen.
This “Prayer for the Safety of the American Military Forces” by an unknown author was first shared on the website of the Orthodox Union on 5 February 2014 with the note, “The RCA and the OU have circulated a special prayer to be said in synagogues during Shabbat services in support of our armed services courageously waging the battle against the scourge of global terrorism.” If you know more about the authorship of these prayers, please leave a comment or contact us.
In 2014, the chief rabbi of the United Synagogues in the UK also amended their prayer for the royal family to include a short prayer for the well-being of her majesty’s armed forces. It is intriguing to me that the OU/RCA and the United Synagogue, each representing Modern Orthodoxy on either side of the Atlantic, should circulate prayers with similar rhetoric in 2014. The withdrawal of forces from Iraq mostly ended by 2011. In 2014, US forces that had largely withdrawn from Iraq by 2011 were redeployed against ISIL (ISIS). These prayers may have been circulated in response to those redeployments.
In the English translation I have replaced the ambiguous term, “American Military Forces” with “United States Armed Forces” and made other small improvements (e.g., replacing “Dominion” for “Majesty” in the translation of melukhah) and filling in gaps in the translation. –Aharon Varady
|1||the original text reads, “לַהֲגָנַת שְׁלוֹם כׇּל בְּרִיוֹתֶיךָ.”|
|2||Cf. Berakhot.55b.11 on the prayer to say in order to remedy the danger suggested by a disturbing dream.|
|3||The language of the prayer as found in the images circulated by the OU/RCA reads, “to protect the welfare of all your creation.” But does the US Armed Forces “protect the welfare of all creation”? The US Department of Defense defines their mission as follows: “to provide the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation’s security.” Each branch of the military has their own mission statement, codified in law. In order to avoid this falsehood, we have amended the text of this prayer. –Aharon Varady|
“תְּפִלָּה לְחֵיְילוֹת אַרְצוֹת הַבְּרִית | Prayer for the Safety of the United States Armed Forces (2014)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.
Works of related interest:
מי שברך לחיילי צה״ל | Mi sheBerakh for the Welfare of Israel Defense Forces Soldiers, by Rabbi Shlomo Goren (1956); amended by Dr. Alex Sinclair (2012)
תפילת לשלום החיילים | Prayer on Behalf of the Jewish Soldier Going into Battle by Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo (2014)
Prayer at the Presidential Signing Ceremony for the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act, by Rabbi Arnold Resnicoff on 22 December 2010
Kavvanah before eating or drinking on Yom Kippur for military personnel on active service (IDF 2017)
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