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Prayer for the United States on Thanksgiving Day, by Rabbi Sabato Morais (24 November 1853)


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Praise and thanksgiving belong to Thee, O God, our benefactor!
Accept, therefore, the feeble acknowledgments of Thy servants,
who lowly bow their heads before Thee.
We thank Thee, O, Father!
for having created us with an intelligent mind,
capable of appreciating Thy goodness.
We thank Thee
for having fostered us with tenderness,
nourished us with care,
supported us with benignity.
We thank Thee,
because when pestilence raged,
Thy hand was stretched forth
to shield us from death;
when sore diseases fell upon us,
a cure was sent to heal our pains.
We thank Thee,
because without our knowledge
thou didst avert many evils from us.
Thou didst remove our feet from falling
into chasms hidden from our eyes;
Thou did’st blunt the sword
that was ready to strike us,
and before adversity reached us,
Thou did’st steel our hearts
to endure it resignedly.
We thank Thee,
because Thy unlimited bounty
has been particularly manifested
in this city and in this land.
Exceedingly grateful we are to Thee, O, Ruler of the Universe!
for that freedom which enables every man
to give full scope to the noble attributes of his soul.
We are grateful to Thee,
because thou did’st imbue the fathers of this nation
with a spirit of justice and magnanimity,
to allow, without restraint,
the exercise of the various religious tenets of each citizen;
and because one sole law exists here,
both for the native and for the stranger that dwells among us.
Grant, O, beneficent Lord!
that these enactments,
which are the safeguard of individual liberty,
be ever preserved unaltered.
Suffer not, O, Lord,
the glory of America to be tarnished
by the ruthless hand of intolerance,
but grant that a spirit of union
may ever animate her children
to watch over the preservation
of this noble heirloom
of their ancestors.
Bless, O, Almighty Sovereign!
the supreme magistrate of this republic,
and may his latter end be as lustrous as his beginning.
Bless our legislators and our senators,
and may their labor redound
to the well-being of their country.
Bless them who sit in judgment,
to justify the righteous and condemn the wicked;
may rectitude stand at their right hand,
mildness and compassion at their left.
Bless all our brethren of the Union,
their wives and their mothers,
their infants and their sucklings;
may they all be worthy of Thy further benevolence.
Bless the human race,
and may all the nations of the earth
soon be linked in one single bond of brotherhood,
under the dominion of liberty and equality,
which are the birthright of thy intelligent creatures.

This Thanksgiving Day prayer by Rabbi Sabato Morais was offered at the conclusion of a “Thanksgiving Discourse. An Address. Delivered by a member of the order on the 24th of November, it being the Thanksgiving Day appointed by the Governor of the State of Pennsylvania.” and recorded in The Masonic Mirror and Keystone on 7 December 1853. It was preserved by Rabbi Morais in his ledger (page 3b-c, clipping 002), 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.)


Thanksgiving Day [1853] (Sabato Morais Ledger, p. 3, clipping 002) – a

Thanksgiving Day [1853] (Sabato Morais Ledger, p. 3, clipping 002) – b

Thanksgiving Day [1853] (Sabato Morais Ledger, p. 3, clipping 002) – c




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