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Prayer for the Day of Solemn Assembly (שמיני עצרת), by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau (1852)


Contribute a translationSource (English)

Eternal! Creator of the Universe,
in Thy wisdom and in Thy goodness
Thou hast ordained the celebration of this closing Festival
at a time when the rich blessings of nature
are brought home from the field of plenty.
This Festival, especially devoted to joyfulness
is to remind us at the same time
of the overwhelming benefits,
which Thou graciously conferrest upon us
every day and every moment.

Truly from the Omnipotent come
all things that we have,
which rejoice and quicken us.
“How great and how many are thy works, O Lord,
all of them hast Thou ordained in wisdom,
the earth is full of Thy possessions.” (Psalms 104:24)
Thy paternal and saving hand warded off
all danger from our fields;
whilst divine blessing and gladness,
joy and delight flowed down upon us in mild streams.

Never, O Lord, let me forget Thy goodness;
let the remembrance thereof ever encourage me
to benevolence and kindness towards my fellow men,
so that I may cause the poor and the needy,
the widow and the orphan,
and the stranger in the gates,
also to rejoice on the Festival days.

I likewise beseech Thee, O Lord,
that the present season of the year
may serve me as a picture of my own life,
and rouse within me feelings of humility and devotion.
The splendour and attraction of the earth
is gradually vanishing,
and the whole creation appears to wrap itself
in gloom and mourning.
The human mind alone is conscious of its superiority
above the cold and inanimate creation.
The soul, a spark of Thy Divine Spirit,
is above decay and perishableness;
therefore, all-wise Creator, assist me
that I may never neglect my higher vocation.
May this weak perishable body ever remind me
of my higher destination,
for which my earthly existence
is but a preparation.

Fortify me, all-kind Father,
that I may by virtue and uprightness,
and the faithful performance of all my sacred duties
render myself deserving of life eternal.
Let Thy Laws be my guide,
Thy precepts be my standard,
and Thy instructions be my advisers,
and I shall with confidence look
for Thy favour and graciousness,
and for our restoration to the Holy land.

“Prayer for the Eighth Day of Tabernacles, the Day of Solemn Assembly שמיני עצרת (8th Day of Tabernacles)” by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau was first published in his תחנות בנות ישראל Devotions for the Daughters of Israel (1852), p. 39.

In his preface to Devotions, Bresslau is clear that his prayers in English were adapted from traditional teḥinot that had earlier been published in France, Germany, and Poland. If you know of a specific prayer that may have served as the basis for this one, please leave a comment or contact us.






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