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Prayer for the United States on Thanksgiving Day, by Rabbi Sabato Morais (24 November 1870)


Contribute a translationSource (English)
Lord of all flesh!
infuse within us
sentiments of commiseration
for suffering humanity:
for, verily,
the practice of beneficence
is the highest worship
the creatures can offer their Creator.
By it
our nature becomes spiritualized
even while we tread the earth,
for that genial virtue
is the reflection of Thy Divine self
in the soul of man.
It does behoove the people
Thou hast bountifully cared for
to sing Thy praises in unison of hearts
and show forth Thy loving kindness.
It is meet that the children of the land
Thou hast enlarged and strengthened,
and enriched and exalted,
should acknowledge that from Thy hand
all this hath come.
It is proper that they should recognize
as Thy highest favor
the rising of deliverers in the time of their danger,
and the great salvation their eyes beheld;
that they should glory
in the wisdom Thou didst impart to their ancestors;
in the might wherewith Thou didst gird their defenders;
in the exhaustless treasures Thou didst place within their reach
for the weal of generations yet unborn.
But Thy inspired servant of old hath taught
that he who glorieth
should glory mainly in this:
That he understandeth and knoweth that Thou art the Lord,
doing mercy, justice and charity upon earth,
and that in those things Thou delighteth. (Jeremiah 9:23)
We therefore beseech thee, oh! Source of all good,
to purify our lives
that we may copy Thy heavenly attributes,
and spread broadcast the seeds of happiness.
Let nations rejoice
that righteousness hath a sanctuary in America,
and at its shrine
her children bend.
Grant, O Most High God,
that from this country of our inheritance,
peace go forth,
shadowing beneath its pavilion
all the inhabitants of the globe.
For, then will Thy kingdom be established,
and the Messianic era we long to hail gloriously dawn.
So may it be.

This Thanksgiving Day Prayer for 24 November 1870 was reprinted in The Philadelphia Inquirer on the following day 25 November 1870. It was preserved by Rabbi Morais in his ledger (page 44, clipping 057), 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.) Unfortunately, due to the fragility of the paper, a bit of the newsclipping providing the beginning of the prayer was lost. Thankfully, the missing text was recovered from a scan of the newspaper page made by the Fulton History project.


Thanksgiving Day Prayer [1870-11-24]




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