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Prayer for the United States on Thanksgiving Day, by Rabbi Sabato Morais (28 November 1867)


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God of love. O Lord!
Our hearts swell with gratitude,
and we lay them open before Thy Divine Oracle.
It is the only return which Thy creatures can make.
Deign to accept and render it a blessing.
Grant that this devotional gathering be a means to a great end.
Grant that it may humble the proud in spirit,
soften the obdurate,
and infuse into all a spirit of lasting reconciliation.
For, greatly exercised in mind, we are
because of disputes that widen the breach which we long to repair—
of a rupture that retards our progress
and injures the cause of human freedom.
We pray Thee, O Lord!
to restore all the United States ot America to their former relations,
through a well-combined effort of the legislative and executive authorities.
May it soon proclaimed,
that by Thy Divine aid,
hatred has fled away,
and peace reigns gloriously.
Let it be Thy gracious will, Oh, Our Father!
that the soil productive of earthly treasures,
be truthful also of men replete with wisdom,
who may guide us aright,
and in accordance with the laws of truth.
Then shall it be known among nations,
that Thou hast called us to Thee,
to be the hope of the oppressed,
the beacon-light of the homeless and the exile.
And vouchsafe, O Most High God!
to fulfill in us, as in Israel, the prediction of Thy Seer,
as it is written, “In a little wrath I hid my face from thee a moment;
but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee.”
“Enlarge the space of thy tent,
and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitation,
spare not; lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes.”
“For thou shalt spread forth
on the right hand and on the left,
and thy seed shall inherit (the land of other) people,
and make desolate cities inhabited.”
So may it be, and our eyes behold it.
And let the grace of our Lord rest upon
all the creatures of the earth,
that they may, like ourselves, enjoy existence,
and yearly bring an offering of National Thanksgiving
to the Bestower of all good.

This Thanksgiving Day Prayer was reprinted in The Philadelphia Inquirer on the following day, 29 November 1867. It was preserved by Rabbi Morais in his ledger (page 35, clipping 042), 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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