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Prayer for the United States on Thanksgiving Day, by Rabbi Sabato Morais (27 November 1868)


Contribute a translationSource (English)
Everlasting and Omnipotent God,
what return can the creatures of the earth make
for Thy celestial benefits?
Lebanon might be divested of its majestic cedars
to burn therewith incense on Thy altar;
the beasts of the forest might be gathered
to offer a holocaust unto Thee,
but neither act could suffice to do Thee homage.
For thine is the universe with the fulness thereof;
and the brightest angels encircling the heavenly throne
cannot adequately extol Thy name.
But Thou hast taught us to believe
that “the prayer of the upright is Thy delight,” (Proverbs 15:8 part)
therefore have we this day approached Thee, O Lord,
with sincere lips and grateful hearts.
Deign to look down benignantly
upon the people Thy hands have formed and sustained,
and to grant their request.
They crave for Thy divine presence,
that it may dwell within them,
and deliver their souls
from the heinous sin engendered by prosperity:
from pride, the downfall of nations.
For verily Thou didst feed them
with the abundance of Thy goodness,
and Thy shield warded them
from impending dangers.
Because Thou lovest America
with a mighty love,
Thou didst open for her children treasures
in distant climes,
and cause people they knew not
to seek their alliance.
Therefore is Thy praise now rehearsed,
in various forms but in unity of sentiments,
by the millions whom Thy paternal care hath preserved,
and magnified;
therefore doth the broad sea on the west
echo the hallelujahs wafted over
the expansive ocean on the east.
Grant, O beneficent God!
that this yearly gathering
may keep alive in our minds
a sense of our dependence upon Thy Providence,
and may it inspire us with humility.
For unto Thee alone belongs the power,
and the kingdom, and the exaltation,
and at Thy bidding will the inhabitants of the world
be lowered down or raised up.
May we be ever deserving of the continuance of Thy favors
by sharing them with the hapless and the oppressed.
And grant, O God!
who makest joy and peace, Thy pavilion,
that to preserve peace through our Union
and enhance our national joys,
the wisdom and labors of our leaders
may constantly be directed.
Hosanna! O Sovereign of the world!
Thou before whom there was no God,
and besides whom there is none.

This Thanksgiving Day Prayer for 27 November 1868 was reprinted in The Philadelphia Inquirer on 27 November 1868. It was preserved by Rabbi Morais in his ledger (page 36, clipping 044), 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.)





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