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תפילה להצבעה | A Prayer on Voting, by Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson (T’ruah 2016)

Hebrew English

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ,
בָּעֵת הַזֹּאת זְמַן בְּחִירוֹתֵינוּ,
שֶׁתָּדְרִיכֵנוּ לְשָׁלוֹם.
May it be Your will,
at this season of our election,
to guide us towards peace.

אָנוּ מִתְחַיְּבִים לֶהֱיוֹתֵנוּ בְּנֵי הָאֲגוּדָּה,
לְקַבָּלַת עוֹל אַחֲרָיוּתֵנוּ
לְטוֹבַת הַצִּיבּוּר.
By voting,
we commit to being full members of society,
to accepting our individual responsibility
for the good of the whole.

שׁוֹפְטִים וְשׁוֹטְרִים נִתֵן לָנוּ בְּכָל שְׁעָרֵינוּ…
וְשָׁפְטוּ אֶת הָעָם מִשְׁפָּט צֵדֶק, (דברים טז:יח)
וְנִזְכֶּה לְהִמָּנוֹת בְּתוֹךְ
“כָּל מֵי שֶׁעוֹסְקִים בְּצָרְכֵי צִיבּוּר בֶּאֱמוּנָה.”
May we place over ourselves officials in all our gates…
who will judge the people with righteousness,[1] Deuteronomy 16:18.  
and may we all merit to be counted among
all those who work faithfully for the public good.

פְּקַח עֵינֵינוּ לִרְאוֹת
כָּל מָעֳמָד וְמָעֳמָד וְכָל שַׂר וְיוֹעֶצֶת כִּי הֵם נִבְרְאוּ
בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים,
וּפְקַח עֵינֵיהֶם שֶׁיַּרְאוּ שֶׁכָּל יוֹשְׁבַי תֵּבֵל נִבְרְאוּ
גַּם הֵם בַּצֶּלֶם.
Open our eyes to see
in all candidates and elected officials,
the image of God
and may they see in all citizens of the earth,
the image of God

אָמֵץ אֶת לְבָבֵינוּ
לִשְׁמוֹר מִצְוַת “וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ”, (ויקרא יט:יח)
וְתֵן בּלִבֵּינוּ לְהָבִין
אֶת אֵלּוּ הַחוֹלְקִים עָלִינוּ.
Grant us the courage
to fulfill the mitsvah of loving our neighbors as ourselves, (Leviticus 19:18)
and place in our hearts the wisdom
to understand those who do not share our views.

כַּכָּתוּב בִּתְפִילַּת יוֹם הַזִּכָּרוֹן,
“וְיַעֲשׂוּ כּוּלָּם אֲגוּדָּה אַחַת
לַעֲשׂוֹת רְצוֹנְךָ בְּלֵבָב שָׁלֵם,”
As we pray on the High Holidays,
“May we become a united society,[2] Cf. Pesikta D’Rav Kahanna.27.9.  
fulfilling the divine purpose with a whole heart.”[3] Cf. Sotah 40a.11 and Berakhot 17a:2. [4] From the Modim (thanksgiving) liturgy of the Rosh haShanah Amidah. 

וְכָּכָּתוב עַל יְדֵי דָּוִד עַבְדְּךָ,
“יְהִי שָׁלוֹם בְּחֵילֵךְ,
שַׁלְוָה בְּאַרְמְנוֹתָיִךְ.
לְמַעַן אַחַי וְרֵעָי
אֲדַבְּרָה נָּא שָׁלוֹם בָּךְ.” (תהלים קכב:ז-ח)
And as the Psalmist sang,
“May there be shalom within your walls,
peace in your strongholds.
For the sake of my brothers and sisters and friends,
I will speak peace to you.”[5] Psalms 122:7-8. 

T’ruah’s “Meditation on Voting” was composed by their director of education, Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson, with input from Rabbi Jill Jacobs and Itamar Haritan. It was first published and distributed via email.

Rabbi Nelson writes,

On Tuesday, we go to the polls in a momentous election that for many of us has generated a combination of anxiety, excitement, fear, and confusion. We offer you this prayer, which you can recite this Shabbat, before you vote, or while you are waiting for returns. The text of the prayer is below, and you can download a printable version here.

Wishing you all a peaceful Shabbat. Thank you for your partnership in building a more loving and just country and world.

Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson

Director of Education, T’ruah


Click to access A-Meditation-on-Voting-Truah-2016-CC-BY-SA.pdf


1 Deuteronomy 16:18.
2 Cf. Pesikta D’Rav Kahanna.27.9.
3 Cf. Sotah 40a.11 and Berakhot 17a:2.
4 From the Modim (thanksgiving) liturgy of the Rosh haShanah Amidah.
5 Psalms 122:7-8.

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