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Parent of good! compassionate Lord!
we come unto Thee for pardon and for support,
for strength and consolation.
We have disregarded the appeals of conscience,
and hearkened to the demands of our passions.
We have gone astray from Thee,
to follow the imaginations of a perverted mind,
but we now return.
Not by reason of our inability to sin,
but because we seek Thy love more than life.
Through it we have been undeservedly filled
with the yielding of the earth,
and we have given thereof to our children.
Yet we longed for more,
and to obtain it,
we ran counter to Thy command.
But Thy ungrateful servants are covered with shame.
Oh! let that be an acceptable offering of atonement.
And, as Thou didst vouchsafe to bestow Thy bounty upon us,
when we slighted the Divine favor,
so grant us
as a reward for our return.
Smile upon our efforts to continue repentant,
and infuse into us spiritual vigor,
that we may drive back the enemy of our happiness—
the lust of gain.
Too long have we been its victim,
that we may hope to succeed unaided;
but with Thee, O God! at our right hand,
we shall be made joyful over our victory.
And those whose bright anticipations
the past year has buried away;
those whose hopes have been blighted;
those whose eyes swell with tears
at the thought of the beloved departed;
those to whom the past year has brought
but sorrow and sickness,
inspire, O Lord! with a heart that leans on Thee
with a mind that acknowledges the righteousness
of Thy decrees,
and with a belief that they are tried
as gold is tried,
in order that they may return to Thee
cleansed of all dross,
and receive Thy Fatherly blessing.
So may it be.
This penitential prayer dated “Tishri 5628 [October 1867]” was offered in conclusion to “A Penitential Sermon” reprinted in The Jewish Messenger on 25 November 1867. It was preserved by Rabbi Morais in his ledger (page 34, clipping 041), 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.)
“A Penitential Prayer, by Rabbi Sabato Morais (October 1867)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.
Works of related interest:
Eternal Love is Thine, a hymn for Yom Kippur by Caroline de Litchfield Harby (Ḳ.Ḳ. Beth Elohim 1842)
Gebet am Tage vor Neujahr und am Tage vor dem Versöhnungsfeste | Prayer on the day before Rosh haShanah and on the day before Yom Kippur, a teḥinah by Yehoshua
Am Neujahrs⸗, am Versöhnungstage und am siebenten Tage des Laubhüttenfestes, wenn man Behufs der üblichen Vorlesungen die Gesetzrolle aus der heiligen Lade nimmt | On Rosh haShanah, Yom Kippur, and