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Daily Prayer Against Temptation, by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau (1852)


Contribute a translationSource (English)

Deeply penetrated with the prayer addressed to Thee, all kind Father,
my spirit soars up unto Thee, on the wings of devotion,
to offer unto Thee, instead of the morning sacrifice,
a vow, emanating from the depths of my heart.
May the powers which Thou lent me,
be devoted only to that lofty purpose,
which I have to attain here beneath
as a citizen of the world,
and as an Israelite.

May the most beauteous ornament of women, CHASTITY,
be always my ornament;
the most precious decoration of a wife, FIDELITY,
be ever my decoration;
and the most sacred duty of the Israelite,
to love a neighbour like oneself,[1] Cf. Leviticus 19:18.  
shall ever be most effectively discharged by me.

With a warm, benevolent heart,
I will rejoice with the joyful;
with the intensest sympathy I will endeavour
to comfort those that are mourning,
assist the needy,
support the sufferer,
and help to lift up those that are humbled down;
the hurt and the injury inflicted on me
I will neither requite nor perpetuate in my memory;
with forbearance and indulgence
I will meet those who molest my honour;
from slander and calumny I will keep aloof,
so that the whole of my conduct bear the impress
of unfeigned piety and unostentatious philanthropy.

When even gloomy care softly steals into my heart,
when the companion of my pilgrimage—HOPE—threatens to leave me,
I will look up unto Thee, my Father,
and with filial attachment ask Thee,
that Thou mayest light up the dark night of my sorrow,
that Thou mayest speedily dry the tears of thy suffering and devoted handmaiden.

And lastly, I vow unto thee, in the most sacred feelings of my heart,
that I will remain faithful unto the religion of my fathers,
to the evening of my life, may it arrive early or late,
and that as a true Israelite I will seek to approach the goal,
where the palm branch of reward yet awaits me.

O, may this vow be graciously received by Thee, Heavenly Father,
and be acceptable unto Thee, as a worthy sacrifice;
like as Thou hast taught through the mouth of Thy prophet Samuel,
“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
and to hearken, than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)
Assist me now, all-powerful God, in the carrying out of my resolution,
so that I may boldly resist the temptations
which would lead me astray from the path of virtue;
and that I may not render myself unworthy of Thy paternal love.

“Daily Prayer Against Temptation” by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau was first published in his תחנות בנות ישראל Devotions for the Daughters of Israel (1852), p. 12-13. We have tagged this prayer as problematic due to its prescriptive statements as to the proper conduct of women, especially Bresslau’s statement “with forbearance and indulgence I will meet those who molest my honour.”

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.





1Cf. Leviticus 19:18.



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