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🆕 Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the New York State Senate: Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise on 24 June 1851


Contribute a translationSource (English)
Lord of hosts! Rock of salvation
whose unlimited power, wisdom, and love,
is revealed in the innumerable millions of creatures
that populate[1] Original, “populize”  the Universe,
whose providence,
especial care
and benignity is re-echoed
on every page of the history of nations!
Hear our supplications,
listen graciously to our petitions
that we offer up unto Thee
on behalf of our beloved country
and her faithful legislators,
who have assembled again
to give us laws and regulations
to the promotion of liberty, prosperity,
justice, and humanity.
O Lord!
Thou hast inspired and assisted our ancestors,
when they rose lion-like against their opressors,
and bought, for the warm blood of their hearts
the liberty and independence of these United States.
Inspire, Our Father!
O inspire our legislators
with the same spirit of truth and justice,
with the same love of liberty and independence,
with the same desire to promote happiness and prosperity
among their fellow-citizens;
remove prejudices, partiality and factional endeavors
from every mind;
give unto them the same spirit
as the venerable fathers of this republic manifested;
let them be firmly united
in the discharge of their sacred duty to their country,
that she may bloom and prosper before Thee;
that she may bean example of liberty, equity, and humanity;
that she may be imitated by those nations, that still
suffer and sigh under the iron rod of despotism,
that her citizens be united before Thee,
to do Thy sacred will,
to proclaim Thine holy name!
Blessed be the name of the Lord
from sunrise to sunset,
from now to evermore,

This is the opening prayer offered by Rabbi Dr. Isaac Mayer Wise, in his role as guest chaplain before the 74th New York State Senate on 24 June 1851, and published under the header, “Albany” in The Asmonean (11 July 1851), on page 5. The prayer is one of the earliest offered by a rabbi before a state legislature in the United States. From the article’s lede:

The Rev. Dr. I. Wise, of this city, was appointed by the committee of the Ministers of the Gospel, to officate as Chaplain in the legislative bodies of the State of New York, for the last week of June, 1851. — The Rabbi performing his duties according to this appointment, was very much cheered by several members of the legislature and especially by the honorable Senator for the city of New York, who remarked that the Rabbi’s excellent prayers reflected honor upon the Jewish ministry and the Jewish community at large.


Albany (The Asmonean, 11 July 1851), p. 5



1Original, “populize”



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