תְּפִילַת הוֹלְכִים לְאוּנִיבֶרְסִיטָה | Prayer for Those Leaving Home for University, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלּפָנֶיךָ,
יהוה אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֶאֱלֹהַי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ (וְאִמּוֹתֵינוּ),
שֶׁתִּשְׁמֹר אֶת כׇּל תַּלְמִידֵי עַם יִשְׂרָאֵל
שֶׁיֵּלְכוּ לְאוּנִיבֶרְסִיטָאוֹת וּלְבָתֵּי לִמּוּד,
לִישִׁיבוֹת וּלבָתֵּי סֵפֶר,
בְּכֹל אַרְבַּע כַּנְפוֹת הָאָרֶץ,
שֶׁבַע וְעֶשְׂרִים וּמֵאָה מְדִינָה.
הָאֵר אֶת לְבָבָם בְּתוֹרָתֶךָ,
וּפְתַח אֶת נִשְׁמוֹתֵיהֶם בְּחַסְדֵּךְ.
May it be Your will,
YHVH (haShem) our God and God of our ancestors,
that You guard all the people Israel’s students
who shall go to universities and houses of study,
to yeshivas and to schools
in all four corners of the earth,
a hundred and twenty-seven lands.
Enlighten their hearts with Your Torah,
and open their souls with Your lovingkindness.

אָנָּא, שׁוֹמֵר יִשְׂרָאֵל,
שְׁמֹר אֹתָם בַּדֶּרֶךְ,
וּרְעֵה אֹתָם כְּשֶׁהֵם יָגוּרוּ שָׁם,
וְהָשֵׁב אֹתָם הַבַּיְתָה,
כָּךְ שֶׁהֵם יְקַיְּמוּ מִצְוַּת כִּבּוּד אָב וָאֵם,
כְּמוֹ שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּתוֹרָתֶךָ:
”כַּבֵּ֤ד אֶת־אָבִ֙יךָ֙ וְאֶת־אִמֶּ֔ךָ,“
וְגָּם בְּדִּבְרֵי מַלְאָכְךָ הַנָּבִיא:
”וְהֵשִׁ֤יב לֵב־אָבוֹת֙ עַל־בָּנִ֔ים
וְלֵ֥ב בָּנִ֖ים עַל־אֲבוֹתָ֑ם,“
וְנֹאמַר: אָמֵן.
O Guardian of Israel,
guard them on the way,
and shepherd them while they reside there,
and return them home,
so that they fulfill the mitzvah of honoring their parents,
as it is written in Your Torah,
“Honor your father and your mother,”[1]Deuteronomy 5:15 
and also in the words of Your messenger the prophet:
“And He will turn the hearts of the fathers upon the children,
and the hearts of the children upon the fathers,”[2]Malachi 3:24
And we say: amen.

When children go off to college, parents can feel worried about the future of their children. Empty-nest syndrome can set in and spiritual guidance is often needed. This prayer uses the idioms of Biblical and siddur language to create a text for parents who worry about their children’s future as they head off on their own. It could be said 49 days after Tekufat Tammuz in the diaspora (August 28 or 29 after a leap year – approximately the time when college terms begin in the US) or on the first Saturday after Shmini Atzeret ba’aretz (approximately when college terms begin in Israel)

Notes   [ + ]

  1. Deuteronomy 5:15
  2. Malachi 3:24

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