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A Widow’s Prayer, by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

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From the depth of my heart I call unto Thee, God and Father! let me find strength and consolation in prayer! It pleased Thee, in Thine inscrutable wisdom, to bereave me of my husband, and my children of their father; where, then, God! can I find consolation, if not with Thee, who directest the cause of all widows and orphans.—I am alone and forsaken, whither shall I flee? To Thee alone, who art the Support of the falling, the Refuge of the forsaken, and the Redeemer of all the oppressed. Oh! with a broken and lacerated heart I stand before Thee, for dark are the prospects of the future; but my hope in Thee is my consolation. Thou wilt illumine the darkness, heal my broken heart and uplift again my depressed spirit. Have mercy upon me (and upon my fatherless children.) Let me not fall into the hands of men, to stand in the need of their gifts and presents, but do Thou feed and sustain me, for Thy mercy is exceedingly great. Be Thou with me and assist my feeble strength in the education of my children, that I may safely lead them through the rugged and perilous paths of life into the way of eternal beatitude and salvation. Be Thou their constant Defender, for man has no better Friend, no mightier, wiser and more loving Father, than my God. Be Thou our Support and Helper in time of need. Our eyes are turned unto Thee,—do not forsake us—help us for the sake of Thy holy name. Amen.

“A Widow’s Prayer” is one of thirty prayers appearing in Rabbi Moritz Mayer’s collection of tehinot, Hours of Devotion (1866), of uncertain provenance and which he may have written. –Aharon Varady

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