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Prayer for the United States on Thanksgiving Day on the First Day of Ḥanukkah during the Civil War, by Rabbi Sabato Morais (28 November 1861)


Contribute a translationSource (English)
Ruler of the Universe,
manifold have been Thy favors
towards the denizens of this Commonwealth.—
When the nation, of which they form an integral portion,
seemed fated to be plucked up,
pulled down,
and subverted,
Thou didst stay the hand of the destroyer,
and he entered not our dwellings;
Thine eyes were ever upon us
from the beginning of the year
even unto the end of the year.
Thus we gathered in our corn and new oil,
and lacked nought of that which we were wont to enjoy.
Not because of our merits
hast Thou dealt so mercifully with us, O Lord!
but as a reward to the virtues of the departed.
For the sake of the righteous
who left among us a memorial
of their enlightened judgment
and equitable principles,
Thou has vouchsafed
to spare Philadelphia many of the sorrows
which afflict other cities of this once happy land.
Grant, O God,
that while gazing upon the venerated Fane wherein former sages convened,
we may become inspired by the feelings by which they were actuated.
Grant that the admirable document they traced
may not be rendered nugatory
through blind fanaticism or narrow intolerance.
May the religious liberty,
to secure which they strenuously labored,
be never abridged or restricted.
Thou, who createst the utterance of the lips,
dictate to the Senators and Legislators of these United States,
words of reconciliation,
and they will speedily redress all grievances,
rectify differences,
restore peace between those who are far
and those who are near,
and heal our national breach,
as promised to the godly by the inspired son of Amos.
May such be Thy gracious will.

This Thanksgiving Day Prayer for 28 November 1861 was reprinted in The Jewish Messenger (vol. 10, no. 12, p. 91), on 13 December 1861. It was preserved by Rabbi Morais in his ledger (page 22, clipping 023), an archive of newsclippings recording material he contributed to the press, among other announcements. (Many thanks to the Library of the University of Pennsylvania for helping to make this resource accessible.) Unfortunately, that bit of clipping containing the prayer had disintegrated enough to make much of the prayer illegible. But thankfully, a microfilm copy of the The Jewish Messenger for the date of printing was available at the HUC-JIR Klau Library, Cincinnati.


Thanksgiving Day Prayer [1861-11-28] (Sabato Morais Ledger, p. 22, clipping 023)




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