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תְּפִלַּת מַשְׁבִּית מִלְחָמוֹת וְהַדֶּבֶר מִן הַבְּהֵמוֹת | Prayer for the cessation of war and pestilence afflicting domesticated animals (ca. 1800)

https://opensiddur.org/?p=46145 תְּפִלַּת מַשְׁבִּית מִלְחָמוֹת וְהַדֶּבֶר מִן הַבְּהֵמוֹת | Prayer for the cessation of war and pestilence afflicting domesticated animals (ca. 1800) 2022-08-14 08:32:14 This is a prayer for the welfare of domesticated animals (behemot), specifically cattle. "Tefilat mashbit milḥamot v'ha-dever min ha-behemot" (<a href="https://mss.huc.edu/portfolio/ms-465/">HUC MS 465</a>) was composed by an unknown author, sometime in the late 18th or early 19th century, and possibly in a Jewish community in Italy. The text contains the following clues: 1) a prayer for a local Duke (instead of the Emperor Napoleon), 2) mention of warfare, and 3) mention of some variety of epizootic contagious disease among cattle. <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rinderpest">Rinderpest</a>, known since ancient times, is the most likely candidate for the latter, especially in Italy in the 18th century (where it was first described by early veterinary science) but it was also in Europe following the defeat of Napoleon. While typhus and hoof-and-mouth disease are also possible, Dr. Susan Einbinder, who brought our attention to this prayer via a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-lB-mDqnxc">lecture on epidemic prayers</a> for the HUC Klau Library, notes that the biblical reference to the "bellowing of the cattle" evokes the actual tortuous lived experience of the afflicted animals, and the suffering of their human minders, helpless to relieve them. The tragedy of rinderpest only ended in the 20th century after a concerted multi-national effort to eradicate the disease -- one of the earliest modern multinational initiatives to improve the world. (A related disease, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ovine_rinderpest">Ovine Rinderpest</a>, first described in the 20th century, has not yet been eradicated and affects goats and sheep as well as cattle.) Text the Open Siddur Project Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Aharon N. Varady (translation) Unknown Author(s) https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Aharon N. Varady (transcription) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ Rosh haShanah la-Behemah Epidemics &amp; Pandemics War domesticated animals Italian Jewry epizootic contagion 19th century C.E. animal protection 56th century A.M.
Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)
תְּפִלַּת מַשְׁבִּית מִלְחָמוֹת
וְהַדֶּבֶר מִן הַבְּהֵמוֹת
Prayer for the cessation of war
and of dever (pestilence) afflicting behemot (domesticated animals).
נכנסין לבית הכנסת
ויאמרו מזמור
א׳ ב׳ ג׳ ד׳ ה׳ י״ז י״ח כ׳ כ״ז ל״א ל״ה
נ״ה נ״ו ס׳ ע׳ ק״ח ק״כ ק״כא ק״כד ק״כה
ואח״כ יתפללו מנחה ברבים
ואחר העמידה
בקול יאמרו מן מזמור סימן ו׳ פ׳ צ׳
ב(קול יאמרו) אמן
ואח״כ אומר:
Enter the synagogue
and say the [following] Psalms:
№1, №2, №3, №4, №5, №17, №18, №20, №27, №31, №35,
№55, №56, №60, №70, №108, №120, №121, №124, №125
And afterwards davven minḥah with the community
And after the Amidah,
say aloud Psalms №6, №80, №90
and (everyone says aloud) Amen
And afterwards say:
רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם
לֹא בְּצִדְקוֹתֵינוּ
וּבְיֹשֶׁר לְבָבֵנוּ
אֲנַחְנוּ מַפִּילִים תַּחֲנוּנֵינוּ לְפָנֶיךָ,
כִּי עַל־רַחֲמֶיךָ הָרַבִּים.
אֱלֹהֵינוּ!
בּוֹשְׁנוּ וְנִכְלַמְנוּ
לֶהָרִים אֱלֹהֵינוּ פָּנֵינוּ אֵלֶיךָ.
אֵין לָנוּ פֶּה לְהָשִׁיב
וְלֹא מֵצַח לְהָרִים רֹאשׁ,
כִּי עֲוֹנֹתֵינוּ רָבוּ לְמַעְלָה רֹּאשׁ
וְאַשְׁמָתֵנוּ גָדְלָה עַד לַשָּׁמָיִם.
לְךָ יְיָ הַצְדָּקָה
וְלָנוּ בְּשֵׁת הַפָּנִים.
צַדִּיק אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ
עַל כׇּל־הַבָּא עָלֵינוּ,
כִּי חַסְדֶּךָ גָּדוֹל עָלֵינוּ
וּמֵעוֹלָם וְעַד עוֹלָם
גְּמַלְתָּנוּ הַטּוֹבוֹת,
וַאֲנַחְנוּ הֵרַעְנוּ מַעֲשֵׂינוּ
וְקִפַּחְנוּ פַּרְנָסָתֵנוּ
וּמִיָּדֵנוּ בָּאוּ אֵלֵינוּ כׇּל צָרוֹתֵינוּ.
Master of the World,
not on (the basis of) our righteousness
or the sincerity of our conscience
do we cast our supplications before you,
but (with faith in) your abundant compassion[1]  Daniel 9:18, Cf. the prayer, Ribon ha-Olamim.  Our elo’ah!
we are too ashamed and disgraced
to lift our faces to you, our elo’ah.[2]  Seliḥot, Third Day, Ashkenaz Lita.  We have no lips for which to respond
and no brow to raise (out of shame),
because our sins have multiplied on high
and our blemishes have been magnified up to Heaven.[3]  Ezra 9:6.  For you, Hashem, are righteous
and we are mortified.
You are righteous, Hashem, our elo’ah,
on everything that befalls us,[4]  Cf. Nehemiah 9:33.  for your lovingkindness is enormous for us
and from this world until the next
you have bestowed upon us goodness.
And our actions have harmed us
and we lost our livelihoods
and through our own hands that all our suffering came upon us.
הַבִּיטָה בְעָנְיֵנוּ
וּרְאֵה אֶת־חֶרְפָּתֵנוּ,
וְשׁוֹר בְּשִׁפְלוֹתֵינוּ וְדַלּוֹתֵינוּ.
מַהֵר יְקַדְּמוּנוּ רַחֲמֶיךָ
כִּי דַלּוֹנוּ מְאֹד,
מִפְּנֵי מִדַּת דִּינֶךָ הַמְּתוּחָה בָּעוֹלָם,
מִפְּנֵי חֶרֶב נְטוּשָׁה וּמַכָּה מְהַלֶּכֶת,
וּמִפְּנֵי קֶשֶׁת דְּרוּכָה,
וּמִפְּנֵי כֹּבֶד מִלְחָמָה אֲרֻכָּה הַקָּשָׁה וְהַחֲזָקָה.
וְקִוִּינוּ לְשָׁלוֹם, וְאֵין טוֹב לְעֵת מַרְפֵּה,
וְהִנֵּה בְעָתָה!
Look upon our impoverished state
and see our shame[5]  Cf. Lamentations 5:1.  and behold our humiliation and poverty.
let your compassion come swiftly toward us,
for we have sunk very low[6]  Psalms 79:8.  due to the attribute of your stern judgment in the world
due to the whetted sword and the spreading calamities
and due to the bow that is drawn
and due to the stress of the prolonged, fierce, hard war[7]  Cf. Isaiah 21:15.  and [while] we hoped for peace, no goodness came for a period of relief –
instead there is terror![8]  Jeremiah 8:15. 
הִנֵּה יַד־יְיָ הוֹיָה בְּמִקְנֵה הַבַּקָּר
בְּדֶּבֶר כָּבֵד מְאֹד –
בֶּעָרִים אֲשֶׁר סְבִיבוֹתֵינוּ הַקְּרוֹבוֹת וְהָרְחוֹקוֹת.
מַה־נֶּאֶנְחָה בְהֵמָה
נָבֹכוּ עֶדְרֵי בָקָר,
עַד כִּי־אָזְלַת יָד וְעוֹבְדֵי אֲדָמָה
אֵין לְאֵל יָדָם לְעָבְדָהּ וּלְשָׁמְרָהּ
כָּרָאוּי לְהוֹצִיא מִמֶּנָּה
זֶרַע לַזֹּרֵעַ וְלֶחֶם לָאֹכֵל,
כִּי רָב־תְּבוּאוֹת בְּכֹחַ שׁוֹר.
Behold, the hand of Hashem is upon your cattle herds
an exceedingly heavy pestilence[9]  Cf. Exodus 9:3.  in surrounding cities near and far.
How the domesticated animals groan!
The herds of cattle are bewildered,[10]  Joel 1:18.  since exhausted [farm]-hands and plowers[11]  Cf. Deuteronomy 32:36.  are not themselves capable to tend and preserve [the field][12]  Cf. Genesis 2:15.  to properly bring forth from it
seed for sowing and bread for eating[13]  Isaiah 55:10.  for a rich harvest comes through the strength of the ox.[14]  Proverbs 14:4. 
יָדַעְנוּ יְיָ כִּי־צֶדֶק מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ,
אֱמֶת עָשִׂיתָ
וַאֲנַחְנוּ הִרְשָׁעְנוּ,
וַעֲוֺנֹתֵינוּ הִטּוּ־אֵלֶּה
וְחַטֹּאתֵינוּ מָנְעוּ הַטּוֹב מִמֶּנּוּ,
ואין אִתָּנוּ יֹדֵעַ עַד־מָה
לְבַקֵּשׁ רַחֲמִים מִלְּפָנֶיךָ
וְלִמְצֹא חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ
כְּמִקֶּֽדֶם וּכְשָׁנוֹת עוֹלָמִים׃
For we know, Hashem, for the righteousness of your judgement[15]  Psalms 119:75.  is in the integrity of your acts[16]  Cf. the prayer of Yaaqov upon separating his flocks before crossing the river Yaboq, Genesis 32:11.  and we are guilty[17]  Nehemiah 9:33.  and these are our transgressions
and our sins obstructed the good from us[18]  Cf. Jeremiah 5:25.  and we don’t know how much[19]  Cf. Psalms 74:9.  to ask for mercy from you
and to find favor in your sight
as in ancient times and years of the World.[20]  cf. Malachi 3:4. 
אָנָּא יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ
עַמּוּד מִכִּסֵּא דִּין
וְשָׁב עַל כִּסֵּא רַחֲמִים
וְהִמָּלֵא בְּרַחֲמֶיךָ הָרַבִּים עָלֵינוּ
הָאִירָה פָנֶיךָ עַל עַבְדֶךָ
הוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ בְחַסְדֶךָ
כִּי לְךָ לְבַדְּךָ הַיְּשׁוּעָה
וְעַל רַחֲמֶיךָ אָנוּ נִשְׁעָנִים
וּלְךָ עֵינֵינוּ תְּלוּיוֹת
עַד שֶׁתְּחָנֵּֽנוּ
Please, Hashem our elo’ah and elo’ah of our ancestors,
arise from the throne of (strict) judgement
and sit on the throne of mercy
and be filled with great mercy upon us.
Shine your face on your servants.
Rescue us in accord with your compassion
for salvation is yours alone
and on your mercy we depend
and our eyes are fixed upon you
until you pardon us.
וְהִנְנוּ אָתָאנוּ לְךָ
אֵל אֱלֹהֵי הָרוּחֹת לְכׇל־בָּשָׂר
לְחַלּוֹת וּלְחַנֵּן לִפְנֵי כִּסֵּא כְבוֹדֶךָ
שֶׁתַּצִּילֶנּוּ מִכׇּל צָרוֹתֵינוּ
וְאַל יִכָּנְסוּ לְפָנֶיךָ דִּבְרֵי קָטֵגוֹרֵינוּ
אַךְ הוּסַף כֹּחַ וְאֹמֶץ
לְכׇל מֵלִיץ טוֹב בַּעֲדֵנוּ
וּבָטֵל מִמֶּנּוּ כׇּל גְּזֵרָה קָשָׁה וְרָעָה
וְהָסֵר מֵעָלֵינוּ
אוֹיֵב דֶּבֶר וְחֶרֶב
וְרָעָב וּמַשְׁחִית וּמַגֵּפָה
מֵעַל אַחֵינוּ וּמֵעַל טַפֵּינוּ וְעוֹלָלֵֽינוּ
וּמֵעַל כׇּל נֶפֶשׁ אָדָם וְנֶפֶשׁ בְּהֵמָה
בְּכׇל מָקוֹם שֶׁהֵם
כִּי אָדָם־וּבְהֵמָה תוֹשִׁיעַ יְיָ (תהלים לו:ז)
וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁזָכַֽרְתָּ בְּרַחֲמֶיךָ
מִפְּנֵי מֵי הַמַּבּוּל
אֶת־נֹחַ
וְאֵת כׇּל־הַחַיָּה
וְאֶת־כׇּל־הַבְּהֵמָה
כַּכָּתוּב בְּתוֹרָתֶךָ
וַיִּזְכֹּר אֱלֹהִים אֶת־נֹחַ
וְאֵת כׇּל־הַחַיָּה
וְאֶת־כׇּל־הַבְּהֵמָה
אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ בַּתֵּבָה (בראשית ז:ז)
כִּי רַחֲמֶיךָ עַל כׇּל מַעֲשֶׂיךָ
עַל־הָאָדָם וְעַל־הַבְּהֵמָה
וּכְמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר
טוֹב־יְיָ לַכֹּל
וְרַחֲמָיו עַל־כׇּל־מַעֲשָׂיו (תהלים קמה:ט)
כֵּן עַתָּה בַּחֲסָדֶיךָ הַגְּדוֹלִים
תְּרַחֵם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל טַפֵּינוּ
וְעַל עוֹלָלֵנוּ
וְעַל כׇּל אֲשֶׁר לָנוּ
וְעַל בֶהֱמַת הַשָּׂדֶה
וְלוֹא נַכְרִית מֵהַבְּהֵמָה
And here we have come relying upon you,
El, elo’ah of the spirits of all mortal flesh,[21]  Numbers 16:22.  to beg and plea before your throne of kavod
that you save us from all our suffering
And do not permit the testimony of the Accuser to come before you
but add strength and courage
to all who advocate in our favor
and nullify from us every harsh and evil decree
and remove from us
adversary, plague, and sword
famine, destruction, and pestilence
from upon our fellows, our tiny ones, and our livelihoods
and from upon the soul of every human being (adam) and domesticated animal (behemah)
wherever they are
for “Human being and domesticated animal you, Hashem, rescue” (Psalms 36:7)
just as you remembered in your mercy
in the face of the waters of the flood[22]  Genesis 7:7. 
Noaḥ
and all the wild creatures
and all the domesticated animals
as it is written in your Torah:
“Elohim remembered Noaḥ
and all the wild creatures
and all the domesticated animals
that were with him in the tevah (ark)” (Genesis 8:1)
for his compassion is on all his works
on the human being and on the domesticated animal[23]  Exodus 9:9, Hagai 1:11, Jeremiah 7:20.  and likewise it is written:
“Hashem is good to all
and their mercy is upon all their works.” (Psalms 145:9)
therefore now, in your great compassion,
take pity on us and our little ones
and for our livelihoods
and for everything we have
and for the domesticated animals in the field
so that we are not left without domesticated animals.[24]  I Kings 18:5. 
עֲנֵנוּ יְיָ עֲנֵנוּ
שִׂים שָׁלוֹם טוֹבָה וּבְרָכָה
בְּעוֹלָמֶךָ
כַּכָּתוּב וְנָתַתִּי שָׁלוֹם בָּאָרֶץ
וּשְׁכַבְתֶּם וְאֵין מַחֲרִיד
וְהִשְׁבַּתִּי חַיָּה רָעָה מִן־הָאָרֶץ
וְחֶרֶב לֹא־תַעֲבֹר בְּאַרְצְכֶם (ויקרא כו:ו)
וְיִתְקַיְּימוּ בָּנוּ גַּם כֵּן מִקְרָאֵי דִכְתִיבִין
אֲשֶׁר בָּנֵינוּ כִּנְטִעִים
מְגֻדָּלִים בִּנְעוּרֵיהֶם
בְּנוֹתֵינוּ כְזָוִיֹּת
מְחֻטָּבוֹת תַּבְנִית הֵיכָל
מְזָוֵינוּ מְלֵאִים מְפִיקִים
מִזַּן אֶל־זַן צֹאונֵנוּ מַאֲלִיפוֹת
מְרֻבָּבוֹת בְּחוּצוֹתֵינוּ
אַלּוּפֵינוּ מְסֻבָּלִים
אֵין־פֶּרֶץ וְאֵין יוֹצֵאת
וְאֵין צְוָחָה בִּרְחֹבֹתֵינוּ, (תהלים קמד:יב-טו)
אַשְׁרֵי הָעָם שֶׁכָּכָה לּוֹ
אַשְׁרֵי הָעָם שֶׁיְיָ אֱלֹהָיו (תהלים קמה:טו)
רְאֵה
כִּי שָׁחָה לֶעָפָר נַפְשֵׁנוּ
דָּבְקָה לָאָרֶץ בִּטְנֵנוּ
קוּמָה עֶזְרָתָה לָּנוּ
וּפְדֵנוּ לְמַעַן חַסְדֶּךָ (תהלים מד:כו-כז)
וְאִם אֵין בָּנוּ מַעֲשִׂים
עֲשֵׂה לְמַעַן שְׁמֶךָ
הַגָּדֹל הַגִּבֹּר וְהַנּוֹרָא
וְרַחֵם עָלֵינוּ וְהוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ׃
Answer us, Hashem, answer us
Grant peace, beneficence, and blessing[25]  Cf. the Amidah, blessing for peace.  to your world
as it is written, “I will grant peace in the land,
and you shall lie down untroubled by anyone;
I will give the land respite from vicious creatures,
and no sword shall cross your land.” (Leviticus 26:6)
And so may it also be for us as it is written:
“For our sons are like saplings,
well-tended in their youth;
our daughters are like cornerstones
trimmed to give shape to a palace.
our garners are full, affording all manner of store:
our sheep bring forth thousands
and ten thousands in our streets:
our oxen are heavy laden:
without breach-birth nor miscarriage:
and there is no loud wailing in our streets.” (Psalms 144:12-15)
“Blessed (ashrei) are the people who have it so,
blessed are the people for whom Hashem is their elo’ah.” (Psalms 145:15)
Behold!
“For our soul is bowed down to the dust:
our belly cleaves to the earth.
Arise for our help,
and redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love.” (Psalms 44:26-27)
and if we have no accomplishments
do it for your own name’s sake[26]  Jeremiah 14:7 part.  great, mighty, and awesome[27]  Deuteronomy 10:17 part.  have mercy on us, and rescue us!
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ חָטָאנוּ לְפָנֶיךָ׃
Our parent our king, we have sinned before you.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ עֲשֵׂה עִמָּנוּ לְמַעַן שְׁמֶךָ׃
Our parent our king, attend to us for your name’s sake.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ בָּרֵךְ אֶת לַחְמֵנוּ וְאֶת מֵימֵינוּ׃
Our parent our king, bless our bread and water.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ דְּרַשְׁנוּךָ הִמָּצֵא לָנוּ׃
Our parent our king, find for us what we seek.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ וְנִקְרָא וְאַתָּה תַעֲנֵנוּ׃
Our parent our king, answer us when we call.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ חֲמוֹל עָלֵֽינוּ וְעַל טַפֵּֽנוּ וְעַל עוֹלָלֵֽינוּ׃
Our parent our king, be compassionate to us, our tiny ones, and our livelihoods.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ יֶהֱמוּ נָא רַחֲמֶיךָ עָלֵינוּ׃
Our parent our king, please show us your mercy.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ לְמַעַנְךָ עֲשֵׂה אִם לֹא לְמַעֲנֵֽנוּ׃
Our parent our king, for your sake, do it, if not for ours.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ נַחֲמֵנוּ מְרוֹגְזוֹנֵינוּ וּמֵעִצְּבוֹנֵנוּ׃
Our parent our king, comfort us from our anger and irritation.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ עֲנֵנוּ בְּיוֹם קָרְאֵנוּ׃
Our parent our king, answer us on the day we call.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ צַוֵּה בִּרְכוֹתֶיךָ עָלֵינוּ׃
Our parent our king, direct your blessings upon us.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ רִיבָה רִיבֵנוּ וּגְאָלֵנוּ׃
Our parent our king, fight our battles and redeem us.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ תֵּן חַיִּים וְשָׁלוֹם
לְמַעֲלַת רוֹמְמוֹת הַדּוֹכוּס אֲדוֹנֵינוּ׃
Our parent our king, bring life and peace
to the highly acclaimed Duke, our lord.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ אֵין לָנוּ מֶלֶךְ אֶלָּא אַתָּה׃
Our parent our king, we have no king besides you.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ אַל תְּבִישֵׁנוּ מִסִּבְרֵנוּ׃
Our parent our king, do not shame us for our intentions.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ גַּלֵּה כְּבוֹד מַלְכוּתְךָ עָלֵינוּ מְהֵרָה׃
Our parent our king, reveal the kavod of your kingdom upon us, soon.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ הֶעֱתַר לָנוּ בִּתְפִלָּתֵנוּ׃
Our parent our king, accede to our petitions.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ זָכוּר לָנוּ בְּרִית אֲבוֹתֵינוּ׃
Our parent our king, remember for us the covenants of our ancestors.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ טַהֲרֵנוּ מֵחַטֹּאתֵינוּ וְכוֹעוֹנוֹתֵינוּ׃
Our parent our king, purify us from our sins and transgressions.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ כִּלָּה דֶּבֶר וְחֶרֶב וְרָעָב
וּשְׁבִי וּמַשְׁחִית וּמַגֵּפָה מֵעָלֵינוּ׃
Our parent our king, annul the decree of sword and famine,
and captivity, and destruction, and plague from upon us.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ מָלֵא לְטוֹבָה מִשְׁאֲלוֹת לִבֵּינוּ׃
Our parent our king, fill with goodness the desires of our hearts.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ סְמֹךְ אֶת נְפִילָתֵנוּ׃
Our parent our king, support our failures.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ פְּדֵנוּ מִכׇּל צָרוֹתֵֽינוּ׃
Our parent our king, redeem us from all our troubles.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ קְרָב נָא תְּשׁוּעָתֵנוּ׃
Our parent our king, please hasten our deliverance.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ שִׂים שָׁלוֹם בֵּינֵינוּ׃
Our parent our king, grant peace between us.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ תֵּן בְּלִבּוֹ
וּבְלֵב כׇּל הַיּוֹעֲצִים וְהַשָּׂרִים וּמַהְנִּיגִים
רַחְמָנוּת לְהֵיטִיב אֵלֵינוּ׃
Our parent our king, place in his heart
and in the heart of all his planners, princes, and counselors
compassion to be good to us.
אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ תֵּן שָׁלוֹם בִּגְבוּלֵנוּ׃
כַּכָּתוּב
יְהִי־שָׁלוֹם בְּחֵילֵךְ
שַׁלְוָה בְּאַרְמְנוֹתָיִךְ (תהלים קכב:ז)
וּכְתִיב
שָׁלוֹם רָב לְאֹהֲבֵי תוֹרָתֶךָ
וְאֵין־לָמוֹ מִכְשׁוֹל (תהלים קיט:קסה)
וּכְתִיב
יְיָ עֹז לְעַמּוֹ יִתֵּן
יְיָ יְבָרֵךְ אֶת־עַמּוֹ בַשָּׁלוֹם׃ (תהלים כט:יא)
Our parent our king, bring peace to our borders.
As it is written:
“May there peace be within your walls
and prosperity within your palaces” (Psalms 122:7)
and as it is written:
“May those who love your Torah enjoy well-being;
may they encounter no adversity.” (Psalms 119:165)
And as it is written:
“May Hashem grant strength to their people,
may Hashem bless their people with peace.” (Psalms 29:11)
ואומר מזמור סימן מ״ו
אֱלֹהִים לָנוּ מַחֲסֶה וָעֹז וכו׳.
And say Psalms 46,
“Elohim is our refuge and stronghold,” etc.

This is a prayer for the welfare of domesticated animals (behemot), specifically cattle. “Tefilat mashbit milḥamot v’ha-dever min ha-behemot” (HUC MS 465) was composed by an unknown author, sometime in the late 18th or early 19th century, and possibly in a Jewish community in Italy. The text contains the following clues: 1) a prayer for a local Duke (instead of the Emperor Napoleon), 2) mention of warfare, and 3) mention of some variety of epizootic contagious disease among cattle. Rinderpest, known since ancient times, is the most likely candidate for the latter, especially in Italy in the 18th century (where it was first described by early veterinary science) but it was also in Europe following the defeat of Napoleon. While typhus and hoof-and-mouth disease are also possible, Dr. Susan Einbinder, who brought our attention to this prayer via a lecture on epidemic prayers for the HUC Klau Library, notes that the biblical reference to the “bellowing of the cattle” evokes the actual tortuous lived experience of the afflicted animals, and the suffering of their human minders, helpless to relieve them. The tragedy of rinderpest only ended in the 20th century after a concerted multi-national effort to eradicate the disease — one of the earliest modern multinational initiatives to improve the world. (A related disease, Ovine Rinderpest, first described in the 20th century, has not yet been eradicated and affects goats and sheep as well as cattle.)

Many thanks to Yisrael Dubitsky for looking over an early draft transcription of the prayer, and to Baruch Jean Thaler for reviewing a portion of the draft translation. Transcribing and translating this prayer is part of a larger project of mine focused on Jewish concern for and interest in behemot (domesticated animals), those fellow creatures who depend upon us, our choices, and our voices to safeguard their lives and well-being. If you know of any other historic prayers concerned with the well-being of non-human animals (domesticated, wild, or captive wild creatures), please leave a comment or contact us. –Aharon Varady

Source(s)

HUC MS 465 – recto (screenshot)

HUC MS 465 – verso (screenshot)

 

Notes

Notes
1 Daniel 9:18, Cf. the prayer, Ribon ha-Olamim.
2 Seliḥot, Third Day, Ashkenaz Lita.
3 Ezra 9:6.
4 Cf. Nehemiah 9:33.
5 Cf. Lamentations 5:1.
6 Psalms 79:8.
7 Cf. Isaiah 21:15.
8 Jeremiah 8:15.
9 Cf. Exodus 9:3.
10 Joel 1:18.
11 Cf. Deuteronomy 32:36.
12 Cf. Genesis 2:15.
13 Isaiah 55:10.
14 Proverbs 14:4.
15 Psalms 119:75.
16 Cf. the prayer of Yaaqov upon separating his flocks before crossing the river Yaboq, Genesis 32:11.
17 Nehemiah 9:33.
18 Cf. Jeremiah 5:25.
19 Cf. Psalms 74:9.
20 cf. Malachi 3:4.
21 Numbers 16:22.
22 Genesis 7:7.
23 Exodus 9:9, Hagai 1:11, Jeremiah 7:20.
24 I Kings 18:5.
25 Cf. the Amidah, blessing for peace.
26 Jeremiah 14:7 part.
27 Deuteronomy 10:17 part.
 

 

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