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Prayer of the Confederate States Soldiers, by Rabbi Max Michelbacher (ca. 1861)

https://opensiddur.org/?p=45561 Prayer of the Confederate States Soldiers, by Rabbi Max Michelbacher (ca. 1861) 2022-07-10 23:07:57 This "Prayer for of the C.S. Soldiers" was written by Max Michelbacher of Congregation Beth Ahabah, Richmond, Virginia, and distributed to Jewish soldiers in the Confederate armed forces during the Slaveholders' Rebellion (1861-1865). While this prayer is undated, we have tentatively given the date ca. 1861 given the proximity of Richmond, Virginia to the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Battle_of_Bull_Run">First Battle of Bull Run</a>. Text the Open Siddur Project Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Maximilian Joseph Michelbacher https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Aharon N. Varady (transcription) https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ War United States of America Military Personnel &amp; Veterans 19th century C.E. 57th century A.M. English vernacular prayer Problematic prayers Slaveholders' Rebellion (1861-1865) Confederate States of America
Prayers for the welfare of Jewish soldiers and their victory in battle can be found as soon as emancipation led to Jews serving in the armed forces of nations, often against Jews serving other nations. Thus, it is no great surprise to find one offered by a rabbi in the State of Virginia in the capitol of the Confederate States of America. But given that unrepentant revanchist and racist white supremacists continue to celebrate the Confederacy in our own day, often under the guise of “honoring southern pride,” we share the text of this prayer only for its historical import and as a cautious lesson. Patriotism born of genuine appreciation for freedom, liberty, and sanctuary granted to some can blind those privileged to the lives and labor stolen from others. Recognizing such depravity where and when it occurs should ground us in every place we dwell. As Emma Lazarus later argued in “An Epistle to the Hebrews” (1883): “Until we are all free, we are none of us free,” or as Proverbs 4:14 teaches, “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and walk not in the way of evil men.” —Aharon Varady

Contribute a translation Source (English)
Shemang Yisroel,
Adonay Elohainoo,
Adonoy Achod!
[1]  A romanization of Deuteronomy 6:4, including the voiced velar nasal (ng) in transliterating the sound of the ע. 
Oh God of the Universe!
Although unworthy through my manifest old transgressions,
I approach the seat of thy mercy,
to crave thy favor,
and to seek thy protection.
I supplicate thy forgiveness,
O most merciful Father,
for the many transgressions
and the oft repeated disobedience,
which cause Thee to command destruction over me.
Behold me now, O my Father,
supplicating Thy protection!
Thou who art near
when all other aid faileth!
O spare me,
guard me from the evil that is impending!
This once happy country is inflamed by the fury of war;
a menacing enemy is arrayed against the rights,
liberties and freedom of this, our Confederacy;
the ambition of this enemy has dissolved fraternal love,
and the hand of fraternity has been broken asunder
by the hands of those,
who sit now in council
and meditate our chastisement,
with the chastisement of scorpions.
Our firesides are threatened;
the foe is before us,
with the declared intention
to desecrate our soil,
to murder our people,
and to deprive us of the glorious inheritance
which was left to us
by the immortal fathers of this once great Republic.
Here I stand now
with many thousands
of the sons
of the sunny South,
to face the foe,
to drive him back,
and to defend our natural rights.
O Lord, God of Israel,
be with me in the hot season of the contending strife;
protect and bless me with health and courage
to bear cheerfully the hardships of war.
O Lord, Ruler of Nations,
destroy the power of our enemies!
“Grant not the longings of the wicked;
suffer not his wicked device to succeed,
lest the exalt themselves. Selah.
As for the heads of those that encompass me about,
let the mischief of their own lips cover them.
Let burning coals be cast upon them;
let them be thrown into the fire, into deep pits,
that they rise not up again.” (Psalms 140:9-11).
Be unto the Army of this confederacy,
as thou were of old, unto us, thy chosen people—
Inspire them with patriotism!
Give them
when marching to meet, or, overtake the enemy,
the wings of the eagle—
in the camp
be Thou their watch and ward—
and in the battle,
strike for them.
O Almighty God of Israel,
as thou didst strike for thy people on the plains of Canaan—
guide them O Lord of Battles, into the paths of victory,
guard them from the shaft and missile of the enemy.
Grant that they may ever advance to wage battle,
and battle in thy name to win!
Grant that not a standard be ever lowered among them!
O Lord, God, Father, be thou with us!
Give unto the officers of the Army and of the Navy of the Confederate States,
enterprise,
fortitude
and undaunted courage;
teach them the ways of war
and the winning of victory.
Guard and preserve, O Lord,
the President of the Confederate States and all officers,
who have the welfare of the country truly at heart.
Bless all my fellow-citizens,
and guard them against sickness and famine!
May they prosper and increase!
Hear me further, O Lord,
when I pray to Thee for those on earth, dearest to my heart.
O bless my father, mother,
brothers and sisters,
(if married: my wife and children).
O bless them all with earthly and heavenly good!
May they always look up to Thee,
and may they find in Thee their trust and strength.
O Lord,
be with me always.
Show me the way I have to go,
to be prepared to meet Thee here
and hereafter.
My hope,
my faith,
my strength are in Thee, O Lord, my God, forever—
in Thee is my trust.
“For thy salvation do I hope, O Lord! (Genesis 49:18)
I hope for Thy salvation, O Lord!
O Lord, for Thy salvation do I hope!”[2]  An apotropaic formula based on Genesis 49:18 in the Bedtime Shema.  Amen! Amen!
Shemang Yisroel,
Adonay Elohainoo,
Adonoy Achod!

This “Prayer for of the C.S. Soldiers” was written by Max Michelbacher of Congregation Beth Ahabah, Richmond, Virginia, and distributed to Jewish soldiers in the Confederate armed forces during the Slaveholders’ Rebellion (1861-1865). While this prayer is undated, we have tentatively given the date ca. 1861 given the proximity of Richmond, Virginia to the First Battle of Bull Run. (On 29 May 1861, with the arrival in Richmond, Virginia of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, the Confederate States capital had been moved from Montgomery to Richmond, making it an initial target for what was hoped to be a quick conclusion to the war.) Another prayer was offered by Rabbi Michelbacher for the Confederacy on 27 March 1863.

Source(s)

prayer of the C.S. Soldiers (Max Michelbacher ca. 1861)

 

Notes

Notes
1 A romanization of Deuteronomy 6:4, including the voiced velar nasal (ng) in transliterating the sound of the ע.
2 An apotropaic formula based on Genesis 49:18 in the Bedtime Shema.
 

 

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