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Suffer our entreaty to ascend Thy throne,
and hearken unto it,
as Thou didst hearken unto that of King Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet.
Our merits cannot, like theirs, intercede for us,
but Thy mercy is not measured by human virtues,
for, alas! we should then have long since been driven from Thy presence.
Behold our confusion by reason of him that reproacheth and derideth.
Uplift us from the dust into which our sins have cast us.
Raise the horn of our salvation.
Encircle Pennsylvania with Thy mighty shield,
protect the lives of her inhabitants.
Let her adversaries be foiled in their devices;
let the fowler’s snare be broken,
and the souls of Thy suppliants be delivered.
Cause the din of war to cease from this our beloved State.
But let the sound of Thy praises be heard in her borders,
at the tidings of her success.
Oh! return unto us! O God of our salvation,
remove from Thy servants Thy fierce anger.
Then this day
which has brought us trouble, rebuke, and derision,
will henceforth be celebrated with a joyful heart,
with glory and national happiness.
God, in Thee alone we trust, O Most High!
and through Thy divine aid we shall again walk in enlargement.
So may it speedily be,
and say ye, Amen.
This prayer by Rabbi Sabato Morais was offered on US Independence Day (4 July 1863) at the conclusion of a sermon reguested by the “Philadelphia Union League” and delivered before Congregation Mikveh Israel, that was published in The Jewish Messenger on 10 July 1863. July 4th, 1863, was the day following the Battle of Gettysburg, and hand’t yet been recognized as the crucial turning point in the defeat of the Confederacy during the Slaveholder’s Revolt. It was preserved by Rabbi Morais in his ledger (page 22, clipping 023), an archive of newsclippings recording material he contributed to the press, among other announcements. (Many thanks to the Library of the University of Pennsylvania for helping to make this resource accessible.)
“Prayer for the Protection of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania after the Battle of Gettysburg by Rabbi Sabato Morais (4 July 1863)” is shared through the Open Siddur Project with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.
Works of related interest:
Prayer for the United States on a Civic Fast Day during the Civil War, by Rabbi Sabato Morais (30 April 1863)
Prayer for the United States on Thanksgiving Day on the First Day of Ḥanukkah during the Civil War, by Rabbi Sabato Morais (28 November 1861)
Prayer for the United States on a Civic Fast Day to avert Civil War, by Rabbi Sabato Morais (26 September 1861)
Prayer for the United States on Thanksgiving Day during the Civil War, by Rabbi Sabato Morais (24 November 1864)