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Prayer for a young maiden, by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

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All-gracious Father! Thou mindest and rememberest all creatures with paternal kindness, Thou guidest and protectest all created beings with paternal hand.

I am Thy child,—Thou lovest me, Thou hast ever loved me, and shalt always love me. Thou didst lead my infancy in green pastures,—to Thee I am indebted for the joyful days of my youth, to Thee I owe all that I am and have. Thou gavest me kind and tender parents to guide, to counsel and help me, whose love and devotion attend to all my wants, and who adorn my life with sweet and precious joys.

I approach Thee, God, with an humble heart and offer unto Thee, upon the altar of prayer, my childlike emotions, the gratitude of my soul.

Thou seest my heart, it lies before Thee like an open book,—Thou knowest its every emotion,—every thought of my soul is disclosed before Thine allseeing eye. Oh! may all my feelings, thoughts and deeds be pleasing in Thy sight,—may I avoid everything that is displeasing unto my Heavenly Father.

Oh! do Thou direct my heart unto all that is good, whenever it may threaten to deviate from the path of rectitude. Whenever in my inexperience I shall be unable to discriminate between good and evil, let Thy wisdom, teach me to choose aright, that I may ever practice virtue, obey Thy law in truth and sincerity, and walk before Thee in piety and innocence. Oh! grant that vanity may not deceive my heart;—that the allurements of this world may not captivate my senses; that I may not sacrifice them the precious hours that should be devoted to the performance of my duties;—that foolish levity may not lead me astray to violate the laws of morality and chastity; that the maiden’s dignity, the innocence of my heart, may be unto me my highest charm, my most precious adornment.

Bless me, O God! with understanding and circumspection, with health of body and soul, with a cheerful; contented heart. Grant, that I may never violate the duties of filial love, that by no word or act of mine I may offend or grieve my parents,—that I may ever cause them joy and delight through my conduct. May Thy benediction, O Lord! descend upon them;—guard them against sickness, grief and anxiety;—bless their labors and exertions with success, and preserve them unto a happy old age, that they may enjoy a long life, strong and vigorous in soul and body. Amen.

“Prayer for a young maiden” 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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