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“Guard me from yielding to this temptation to err” a prayer by Rabbi Clifton Harby Levy (1927)

https://opensiddur.org/?p=50195 "Guard me from yielding to this temptation to err" a prayer by Rabbi Clifton Harby Levy (1927) 2023-04-19 14:08:13 This untitled prayer by Rabbi Clifton Harby Levy accompanied his short essay, "Facing Temptation" found in <em><a href="https://opensiddur.org/?p=50110">The Helpful Manual</a></em> (Centre of Jewish Science, 1927), pp. 21-22. Text the Open Siddur Project Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Clifton Harby Levy https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Aharon N. Varady (transcription) https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ Well-being, health, and caregiving teḥinot in English יצר הרע yetser hara Jewish Science movement 20th century C.E. תחינות teḥinot 57th century A.M. English vernacular prayer

FACING TEMPTATION

At every turn of life I may find temptations—if I am looking for them. But only the weak yield, the strong resist, and conquer each temptation as it appears. I do not let my imagination run wild, thinking of the passionate pleasures which I might enjoy if I did not know that it is wrong.

I need help to make me strong against temptation, and I find it in my feeling that God is ever near, to aid me in the moment of peril, to save me if I want to be saved. If I can sense that Divine Presence I shall not yield, for in His Presence how can I sin? There is that Divine spark within me,[1] Possibly a reference to the tselem elohim — the divine likeness in Genesis 1:26-27. The scholar Rabbi Louis Jacobs (1920-2006), on the history of the popular belief in innate divine sparks within all of us: “The belief that there is a special mystical ‘spark’ in every human breast can be traced back, in western mysticism, at least to Jerome in the fourth century. Both Bonaventura and Bernard of Clairvaux speak of this mystical organ; the latter, calling it scintillula, a small spark of the soul, and speaking of the nearness of God, said: ‘Angels and archangels are within us, but He is more truly our own who is not only with us but in us.’ However, both these mystics are anxious to prevent an identification of this mystical spark with the divine. Eckhart, on the other hand, embraces the identification, calling the spark, among other endearing names, das Kleidhaus Gottes, ‘the house in which God attires Himself ’. This and other pantheistic tendencies in Eckhart’s thought were condemned in the papal Bull of 1529…” (in “The Doctrine of the ‘Divine Spark’ in Man in Jewish SourcesStudies in Rationalism, Judaism and Universalism, ed. Raphael Loewe (Humanities: 1966) 87-114.) Belief in this innate divine spark in each person is important in the theology of George Fox (1624-1691) and presents an important point of connection underscoring social justice movements among both Jews and Friends (i.e., Quakers).  conscious of all I do, and if I hearken to the urge of the small inner voice,[2] Cf. I Kings 19:12.  I shall not fail to resist, no matter how great the temptation seems. I know that I must pay if I break any law of moral action, and that I suffer in my own heart whenever I fail.

But I will not fail! I dare not yield because I am strong in the love of God, which I prove by my obedience to every law of right; I cannot do wrong to any one, for I am filled with love for all around me, and would not lead them to sin with me. I cannot lie, for that puts me out of harmony with both God and man. I can break no other law I know, for I seek to remain in full accord with God and man.


TABLE HELP

Contribute a translationSource (English)
Guard me, O Lord,
from yielding to this temptation to err!
I know the right,
and would always do it,
if Thou wilt make me strong.
Deepen my love of Thee
and of my fellow-man,
that it shall aid me to resist all evil.
Why should I lose myself
for a moment’s pleasure?
Why wrong myself
by doing wrong?
Thou knowest my weakness—
so make me strong.
Thou alone canst help me
in the moment of temptation,
and on Thee do I call.
Answer me by the sense of Thy Spirit,
which will guard me from yielding
to the evil thought or evil deed.
Build up in me the Spirit of Love
that shall conquer every false desire,
and keep me obedient to Thy will.
If I am weak,
strengthen me;
if I am blind make me see,
lest I fail to do the finer and the better task.
In Thy power do I find strength,
in Thy help is might against all temptation.
Save me and I shall be saved,
through Thee.
Amen.

This untitled prayer by Rabbi Clifton Harby Levy accompanied his short essay, “Facing Temptation” found in The Helpful Manual (Centre of Jewish Science, 1927), pp. 21-22.

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Notes

Notes
1Possibly a reference to the tselem elohim — the divine likeness in Genesis 1:26-27. The scholar Rabbi Louis Jacobs (1920-2006), on the history of the popular belief in innate divine sparks within all of us: “The belief that there is a special mystical ‘spark’ in every human breast can be traced back, in western mysticism, at least to Jerome in the fourth century. Both Bonaventura and Bernard of Clairvaux speak of this mystical organ; the latter, calling it scintillula, a small spark of the soul, and speaking of the nearness of God, said: ‘Angels and archangels are within us, but He is more truly our own who is not only with us but in us.’ However, both these mystics are anxious to prevent an identification of this mystical spark with the divine. Eckhart, on the other hand, embraces the identification, calling the spark, among other endearing names, das Kleidhaus Gottes, ‘the house in which God attires Himself ’. This and other pantheistic tendencies in Eckhart’s thought were condemned in the papal Bull of 1529…” (in “The Doctrine of the ‘Divine Spark’ in Man in Jewish SourcesStudies in Rationalism, Judaism and Universalism, ed. Raphael Loewe (Humanities: 1966) 87-114.) Belief in this innate divine spark in each person is important in the theology of George Fox (1624-1691) and presents an important point of connection underscoring social justice movements among both Jews and Friends (i.e., Quakers).
2Cf. I Kings 19:12.

 

 

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