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Prayer for American Enterprise, by Rabbi Avraham Samuel Soltes (1956)

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O Heavenly Father,
as we behold
the abundant display
of this splendid merchandise mart,
our hearts rise up to thank Thee
for the fulness of Thy bounty
which burgeons forth
from this promised land
toward which
Thou didst guide
our fathers’ steps.

We thank Thee for this goodly earth,
its shimmering wheat and sturdy corn,
its snowy cotton and its golden flax;
we thank Thee
for its hills of iron and its mountains of brass,
its mines of coal and its wells of oil;
we thank Thee
for its roaring rivers that sing with power,
and its lapping seas
that bring the wide world to our doorstep.

We thank Thee,
too,
O Lord,
that Thou hast given us
men
to match our mountains,
men
whose wisdom
has endowed us with the freedom
to use Thy blessings
men
for the greatest good
of the greatest number
in mankind’s history;
whose energy and ingenuity
have made them true partners
with Thee, O Lord,
in the divine process of creation.

We thank Thee,
O Father,
for the farmer at his plow
and the miner at his drill,
for the mechanic at his lathe
and the printer at his press,
for the shoemaker at his bench
and the steelworker at his furnace,
for the merchandiser at his desk
and the salesgirl at the counter.

May this great enterprise,
whose open shelves
and abundant displays
symbolize
the fruitage
of the noble partnership
of freemen
working together
under God,
receive Thy blessing,
O Lord,
that it may move forward
in peace and prosperity.

May those
who labour beneath its roof,
and those
who enter its portals
to share in its abundance,
be ever mindful
of how great
is this simple privilege,
how rich
is the reward
of those who serve each other
and Thee
in honesty and truth
in friendship and in peace.
Amen.

Rabbi Abraham Soltes’s “Prayer for American Enterprise” was delivered at the opening of the Kresge’s department store in East Orange, New Jersey on October 16, 1956. The prayer was published in his collection of prayers, תפלה Invocation: A Sheaf Of Prayers (1959).

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