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who didst bless this land with Thy favors,
restore her, we beseech thee to unity.
Cancel her iniquities,
and let her be distinguished anew
for the virginal purity of her pristine years.
Grant that charity and truth
may weave the garland
that shall adorn her children,
for, then will righteousness and peace
be met in her midst
clasped in each others embrace.
the steps which are now wending
toward the conquest of right,
that they may not overreach the bounds prescribed.
Let the mind which a misguided judgment has darkned,
become penetrated with the light of truth,
and it will amend its errors.
Grant O God!
that the nation thou triest in the crucible of affliction,
may issue forth purified from the drop that has sullied it.
Oh, Eternal Being,
who didst rekindle feelings of love
in the bosom of the fierce son of Isaac,
breathe into us words of brotherly, reconciliation,
and let the hand that wields the sword
be fraternally seized with a mutual grasp.
At this hour,
when the heart of a whole nation is upheaved to thee,
calm O Omnipotent! its inward perturbation.
Regard the prayer,
which in various strains,
but in consonance of thoughts,
is addressed to thee.
Let the Angel of Mercy present it
to the Throne of Grace,
and bring down thy Fatherly blessing
upon thy suppliants,
even, honor, union and peace
This prayer by Rabbi Sabato Morais was offered on Shemini Atseret, the day decreed by President Abraham Lincoln for “public humiliation, prayer and fasting” (26 September 1861) as recorded in an “Address. Delivered by the Rev. S. Morais, Minister of the Congregation Mikveh Israel, Philadelphia, on the National ‘Fast Day.'” published in The Jewish Messenger on 4 October 1861. It was preserved by Rabbi Morais in his ledger (page 21, clipping 022), an archive of newsclippings recording material he contributed to the press, among other announcements. The annotation accompanying the clipping reads, “at the breaking out of the unfortunate Civil War.” (Many thanks to the Library of the University of Pennsylvania for helping to make this resource accessible.)
“Prayer for the United States on a Civic Fast Day to avert Civil War, by Rabbi Sabato Morais (26 September 1861)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.
Works of related interest:
Prayer for the Protection of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania after the Battle of Gettysburg by Rabbi Sabato Morais (4 July 1863)
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 during the Civil War, by Rabbi Sabato Morais (24 November 1864)
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)
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