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Courage to Withstand the Ridicule of the Worldly, a prayer by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (1945)

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Courage to Withstand the Ridicule of the Worldly
Suggested by Psalms 4

O God,
when I strive to live
in accord with your will,
to deal honestly,
to act kindly,
to pursue justice and peace,
I find but few to hearten me.

Many are they
who deride me
and mock my ways.

Grant me, O YHVH,
the strength to resist
the swirling eddy of worldly ambition
that would suck me into the vortex
of envy,
and hate.

Give me the courage
to withstand the derision
of those who sneer at virtue,
lest my spirit be cowed.

To those who,
in their unbridled greed,
take joy in hoarding riches
and wielding dominion
I would retort:
O, ye fools,
in vain ye seek
to slake your thirst
for wealth and power.

Your discontent must grow with each new draft.

All your scheming
and all your lying
will bring you naught but failure.

You will yearn in vain
for a moment of inner peace
and for a sign of God’s approval.

Not such is my lot;
though my means be slender,
and they who befriend me few,
yet my cup overflows with happiness.

The zest I have in life
all your wealth can never yield.

Peacefully I lay me down at night to sleep,
in calm reliance on God’s blessed love.

“Courage to Withstand the Ridicule of the Worldly,” by Rabbi Mordecai Menaḥem Kaplan can be found on p. 433-4 of his The Sabbath Prayer Book (New York: The Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1945). I have adapted the original text of this prayer, replacing “thy” with ‘your’ and “Lord” with ‘YHVH’. –Aharon N. Varady




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