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Yom Kippur prayer during the Yellow Fever epidemic in New York, by Abraham Mears Isaacks (1803)


Contribute a translationSource (English)
Almighty and Everliving God
in whose hands is the Soul of all living
Incline thine ear to our Supplications
and hear our prayer,
great and unbounded is thy mercy
Awfull and tremendous are thy Judgments
On this day of holy Convocation
let our prayers be acceptable unto thee
oh Lord our God and our redeemer
let our Soul be humble as the dust before thee
oh our King
Forgive our Manifold Sins and transgressions
with wich we have offended against thy Great and Holy Name
and Grant that we may be written in the Book of life —
As it hath pleas’d thee oh Lord our God
to send the Angel of death to Visit the City
from whence we have late departed
and to Spread over it pestilence and Sore disease
Hearken unto our prayers this day we beseech Thee
and have Mercy upon them
let the numbers of those who have Suffered
Expiate the Sins of those that remain
Judge them not according to their demerits
but extend thy mercy toward them
Oh God the Restorer of Life to the dead
Who is like unto thee Great in power and Might
Let the Angel of Health again Visit their borders
have pity oh God on the widow and fatherless
and all those who are Sore distres’d
dry up their Tears
and let the Voice of Morning be heard no more in the land
Suffer us Speedily to return again to our dwellings in peace
that our hearts may Rejoice in thy Mercy
and our tongues be Grateful in thy Praise
Oh Lord God of Israel
have Mercy upon us
oh Lord
have Mercy [just as][1] Original transcription reads here “on”  When our fathers Sinned against thee
oh Lord
Thou heardest their Prayers & forgave them
hear us now we beseech thee oh Lord and forgive us
That all Nations of the earth may know
the Lord he is God
and none[2] Original transcription reads here “thine is none…”  Can Save or deliver
but thou only
For the Sake of thy Great and Holy Name
grant Peace unto us and all Israel
henceforth and forever
Amen Amen

“Composed for the Day of Atonement during the Prevalence of the Yellow Fever in New York in 1803,” this prayer was likely composed by Abraham Mears Isaacks (1765-1815). It was published in the Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society number 20 (1911), p. 158, as submitted by Rebecca E. Mitchell, one of Isaacks descendants. The original manuscript from which this transcription was derived was not published. The lack of punctuation may have been included in the original, or the prayer may have been reformatted as a paragraph without any indicative line breaks. Without the original manuscript it’s impossible to determine whether any unusual orthography or line breaks were in the original or not. We have added some minimal formatting and spelling for improved legibility, and this can be compared with the image of the source from which out transcription was derived. Where a significant ambiguity remained in the transcription we have added either a note or clarifying text in brackets. We have also replaced all ampersands with “and.” –Aharon Varady





1Original transcription reads here “on”
2Original transcription reads here “thine is none…”



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