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Prayer for the Feast of Purim, by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)


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We thank Thee, O Keeper and Guardian of Israel, for the help which Thou didst afford unto our race in the days of Mordecai, at this season, when Haman, in his malice and revenge, designed to destroy all the Israelites of the vast Empire of Persia, young and old, men and women. The king’s messengers had already traversed the country in all directions with the decree ordering tfie extermination of all the children of Thy people;—the day had already arrived on which the cruel despot intended to gratify his vengeance by a general massacre;—the enemy had already triumphantly exclaimed: “I pursue, I overtake, I divide the spoil; my lust shall be satisfied upon them! I draw my sword and destroy them with my hand;”[1] Exodus 15:9. —but Thine almighty hand frustrated the wicked devices of the persecutor and caused him to fall into the very snare which he had prepared for Thine innocent children they were saved, and rejoiced.

And through whom didst Thou accomplish this great and wonderful deliverance? Thou, O God, chosest a feeble woman for Thy messenger, for an instrument of the redemption of Thy people, that all the world might learn, how great Thou art also in little things, how Thy power works also in the weak; how that which seems powerless turns triumphantly mighty in Thy hand, that which is fragile and humble, strong and sublime; that we also may know and take to heart, that, however lowly and feeble a man may be, he is nevertheless comissioned by Thee, to do and accomplish the good unto the benefit and blessing of his fellow-men.

O God! grant me also, that my feeble powers may succeed in doing what is good and useful,—that my life may not pass away profitless and fruitless,—that my name may become worthy to be praised and blessed by those who live with me and by those who shall live after me. Amen.

“Prayer for the Feast of Purim” is one of thirty prayers appearing in Rabbi Moritz Mayer’s collection of tehinot, Hours of Devotion (1866), of uncertain provenance and which he may have written. This prayer is tagged as problematic owing to the explicit sexism in its sensibility. –Aharon Varady





1Exodus 15:9.



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