Méditation Pour le Lundi by R’ Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery (1848), translated to English by Isaac Leeser (1863)

Source (French) Translation (English)

MÉDITATION POUR LE LUNDI. SUR L’AMOUR DE DIEU.

Meditation for Monday (Second Day) — On the Love of God

«Tu aimeras l’Éternel ton Dieu de tout ton coeur, de toute ton ame et de tout ton pouvoir» (Deut. 6, 5).


O hommes, sortis de la main de Dieu et créés à son image, voilà le grand et inviolable précepte que nous impose l’auteur de notre être pour nous conduire au terme de notre bonheur! Devrait-il y avoir pour nous quelque chose de plus facile, de plus doux que l’accomplissement de ce devoir? Toutes les pensées de notre esprit, toutes tes affections de notre cœur, tous les moments de notre vie ne devraient-ils pas être consacrés à son accomplissement? Qu’y a-t-il en nous que nous n’ayons recu de la bonté de Dieu? C’est lui’qui nous a donné l’existence et qui nous la conserve; chacun de nos jours, chacune de nos joies est de sa part un bienfait nouveau. Que de grâces, que de faveurs, ne verse-t-il pas chaque jour sur nous! Et notre ingratitude même ne lasse pas ses bienfaits, ne ferme pas sa main paternelle, n’épuise jamais sa divine miséricorde!

As men, formed by the hands of God, and created in His image, we are enjoined to love the Lord our Creator in all things and at all times, in order that we may attain true happiness. If we rightly reflect on our position in the world relative to God, nothing will be easier or more agreeable than the fulfilment of this duty. For why should not all our thoughts, all our affections, all the moments of our life, be devoted to prove our love of the Lord? Have we not received all we have from His bounty? He has given us our existence; He provides for all our wants; every day that we live, every thing which we enjoy, are simply new blessings we obtain from Him. Every day He bestows on us favour and mercy; nay, our ingratitude exhibited by deeds of wickedness does not close His paternal hand, nor exhaust the abundance of His indulgence and forbearance.

O Seigneur, devrait-il être nécessaire de nous prescrire de t’aimer et d’en faire un commandement exprès de ta loi? Avec quel bonheur et quelle joie ne devrions-nous pas l’adorer par le sentiment spontané de notre âme!

It is therefore scarcely needed for us to be commanded to love God; on the contrary, affection for Him ought to be a spontaneous offering of the soul, manifested in all our actions.

Aimer Dieu de tout notre coeur, c’est lui donner toutes nos affections, nos adorations constantes; c’est l’aimer, non dans le but d’uue récompense, non dans la crainte d’un châtiment, mais pour lui-même, poür ses divins attributs, pour son adorable bonté. Comment ne pas aimer celui qui est si souverainement bon, comment ne pas l’aimer de toute la force de notre être! «Servez le Seigneur avec joie!» (Ps. 100, 2).

To love God with all our heart is to give Him all our affection, our. constant worship, not for the sake of recompense, nor the dread of punishment, but for the sake of His glorious attributes, and His inexhaustible mercy. How can we fail to love Him, who alone is perfection, with the whole strength of our being, and thus fulfil the injunction of the Psalmist, “Serve the Lord with gladness”? (Psalms 100:2)

Mais, hélas! est-ce ainsi, ô mon Dieu, que nous t’aimons? Les uns t’obéissent avec mollesse, avec indifférence, ils portent avec impatience lé joug de ta loi; d’autres te servent avec la crainte superstitieuse de l’ignorance. Est-ce là te servir? est-ce là t’honorer? D’autres plus coupables se font des idoles qui captivent toutes leurs adorations: l’intérêt avec ses vues sordides, l’ambition avec ses intrigués, la sensualité avec ses amorces, voilà , ô Israël, les dieux que tu t’es faits trop souvent et que tu invoques comme si tu leur devais le salut.

But do we love God thus? Some obey Him with indifference, and bear impatiently the yoke of the law; others serve Him with superstitious fear and in ignorance of His greatness; others, more guilty still, make to themselves idols to which they render homage: —self-interest, with its sordid views; —ambition, with its intrigues; —sensuality, with all its vices! — and these, O Israel! are the gods thou dost too often adore.

Aimer Dieu de toute notre ame, c’est rendre sans cesse hommage à sa gloire, à sa puissance; c’est rattacher à lui toutes nos espérances dans ce monde périssable, toutes nos aspirations vers le monde à venir; c’est reconnaître et proclamer que lui seul est le Créateur de l’univers, la Providence qui le gouverne, le Juge qui punit et qui récompense.

To love God with all our soul is to render homage to His glory, His omnipotence; to centre in Him all our hopes in this perishable world, all our expectations in the world to come; to know and proclaim that He is the Creator, the Ruler, Sustainer, and Judge of the universe.

Mais, pour aimer Dieu, il faut le connaître : «Connais le Dieu de ton père et sers-le du fond de ton cœur et d’une âme contente» (Chron. I, 28, 9). Pour le connaître , il faut le chercher dans ses œuvres, l’étudier dans sa parole sainte, le suivre dans ses divines voies.

But, to love God, we must know him: “Know thou the God of thy father, and serve Him with an entire heart and with a willing soul.” (1 Chron. 28:9) To know Him, we must seek Him in His works, study His Holy Word, and follow His divine will.

Aimer Dieu de toutes nos facultés, c’est l’aimer d’un amour suprême; ne trouver aucun sacrifice trop lourd, aucune œuvre trop difficile, lorsqu’il s’agit de son service. Car aimer Dieu, c’est surtout le montrer par nos œuvres. «Tu aimeras l’Éternel, ton Dieu, en observant, toute ta vie, ses commandements, ses lois, sa justice et ses préceptes» (Deut. 11, 1). Voilà le véritable, le solide amour de Dieu. Mais dire qu’on l’aime, désirer de lui plaire et s’en tenir là, sans dévouement et sans sacrifices, c’est une vaine illusion, ce n’est pas l’amour de Dieu. «Car il est juste le Seigneur et il aime la justice» (Ps. 11, 7). Il aime la charité et l’équité. Aimer beaucoup Dieu, c’est donc faire beaucoup pour lui, c’est le faire volontiers. Celui qui fait peu ou le fait à contre-cœur, n’aime Dieu qu’avec tiédeur; celui qui ne cherche pas à lui plaire par ses œuvres, ne l’aime point.

To love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our might, is to love Him with all our affections, with all our faculties, and with all our means. No sacrifice should be too great, no labour too difficult, when His service is concerned. For we must show our love in our deeds: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and keep His charge, and His statutes, and His ordinances, and His commandments, all the days.” (Deut. 11:1) Such is true, sincere love of God; but to be content with saying that we love and desire to please Him, without effort, devotion, or sacrifice, is not to love God. “For the Lord is righteous, and loveth righteousness.” (Ps. 11:7) He loves charity and equity. To love God is to follow His precepts willingly, and to perform all such deeds as are pleasing in His sight.

O hommes, ô israélites! qui que vous soyez, grands ou petits, riches ou pauvres, heureux ou misérables, aimez donc le Seigneur, le Saint d’Israël, et ne vivez sur la terre que pour l’aimer et pour vous rendre dignes de son amour.

Whether we are great or little, rich or poor, happy or unhappy, we should love the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and only live on this earth to love Him and become worthy of His love.

A qui prodiguerez-vous vos adorations et vos cœurs? Lui seul vous restera toujours. Que vous restera-t-il un jour de vos affections terrestres et périssables? Elles auront rempli et ranimé vos cœurs, les auront-elles jamais satisfaits? Aimez donc le Seigneur de tout votre cœur, de toute votre âme, aimez-le jusqu’au dernier soupir de votre vie.

To whom else should we render worship? He alone will live eternally, and thus remain to us when all mere earthly affections, which fill and stimulate, but can never satisfy, our heart, will have perished. Let us love the Eternal with all our heart, with all our soul, and love Him even when we draw our latest breath.

PRIÈRE.

Combien, ô mon Dieu, je me sens éloigné d’un tel amour! Pardonne, ô Père céleste, si j’ai si longtemps méconnu tes saintes prescriptions. Je veux désormais t’aimer d’un amour nouveau, véritable, efficace. Je veux t’aimer, ô mon Père, non avec des paroles, mais avec mes œuvres; car ton amour aussi, à mon Dieu, se révèle à moi par tes œuvres et tes bienfaits.


PRAYER

O God! I feel that I am yet far removed from experiencing such a love! Forgive me if I have so long mistaken Thy holy precepts. I will henceforth love Thee with a new and perfect love, with deeds and not with words; for Thy love, O God! is revealed to me in Thy words and in the blessings which Thou continually bestowest on me.


PSAUME 20 DÉ DAVID. – POUR LE LUNDI.
יענך יי
Le nom de l’Éternel est la force et la bannière d’Israël, il le sauve à l’heure du danger. Le Seigneur fera triompher sa loi et son Messie sur toutes les puissances de la terre, par la seule force de son nom.

L’Éternel t’exauce au jour du danger,
Le nom du Dieu de Jacob te sauve.
Il t’envoie du secours de son sanctuaire,
Il te protége depuis Sion,
Il agrée avec bonté
Tes offrandes et tes sacrifices.
Il t’accorde ce que ton cœur désire,
Et fait réussir tes desseins.
Oh! nous nous glorifierons de ton secours,
Le nom de notre Dieu sera notre bannière.
Car le Seigneur accomplit nos vœux.
Maintenant je vois quel’Éternel soutient son oint;
De sa demeure sainte il l’exauce;
Il soutient sa droite par sa force.
Eux avec leurs chars et leurs coursiers,
Nous, au nom de l’Èternel notre Dieu.
Eux s’affaissent et tombent,
Nous, nous restons debout.
O Éternel, c’est toi qui es notre secours,
O Roi, c’est toi qui nous réponds
Quand nous t’appelons.


Then say Psalm 48.[1]Note that while Ennery and Arnaud choose Psalms 20 for the Psalm for Monday, Leeser directs the reader to Psalms 48 which is consistent with most prayer books. –Aharon N. Varady

This is a faithful transcription of a teḥinah (supplicatory prayer) composed in parallel to the prayer for Monday, following in the paraliturgical tradition of Yiddish tkhines, albeit written in French. (This particular paraliturgical prayer may be original or it may be based on an earlier work in German or Yiddish. Please contact us or comment below if you can identify it.) The prayer was included by Rabbi Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery in their opus, אמרי לב Prières d’un Coeur Israelite published in 1848 by the Société Consistoriale de Bons Livres. In 1855, an abridged English translation of Prières d’un Coeur Israelite was authorized by Nathan Marcus Adler, chief rabbi of the British Empire and published as Prayers and Meditations, translated by Hester Rothschild. In 1863, Isaac Leeser published his own translation. This is the first time that Leeser’s translation and its source have been set next to each other. Commenting on Rothschild’s translation, Leeser wrote:

As the work is not a literal translation from the French, and is in many instances greatly abridged, for reasons by which the translator is perfectly justified, the editor of the American edition has farther revised it, and at times re-written entire passages, that the book may be more in accordance with the principles of prayer as laid down above; though he is free to acknowledge that it has not lost altogether the character of a translation, to avoid which it would have been necessary to recast the whole, and has, besides, some other defects inherent in all human productions. But, as he was bound not to deviate too far from the original, and thus give the public a different book from what its title professes, he had to limit himself to correcting, and has added nothing to what was not before him.

In preparing אמרי לב Prières d’un Coeur Israelite, Rabbi Aron and Jonas Ennery were inspired by the writings of directly inspired by tkhines (Yiddish vernacular prayers) as well as by contemporary liturgists in Germany. Rabbi Aron writes:

The concept of such a book does not necessitate a new genre among us; the printed supplications (תחנות) appended at the end of old editions of our siddurim sufficiently prove the opposite. However, all these prayers – faithful expressions of pious sentiments of our ancestors – are written in Yiddish[2]Arnaud Aron here uses the term, allemand corrompu, “corrupt German.” for which no translation exists in our language. They are also composed in a spirit and a form incompatible in style with the needs of our age [….] A great number of prayers in our collection are original, others are copies from our sacred texts or translated rituals from the Maḥzor, without, however, tying us slavishly to the literal text whenever the genius of our language required a different form. Finally, more than once, we drew from excellent religious books published in Germany, notably by (Meïr) Letteris, Jacobsohn, Rosenfield, etc.; their works have given us the subject and occasionally the text from other works. May these wise co-religionists please receive in public recognition our gratitude. [translation from the French by Aharon Varady]

Sources

Download Prayer-for-Monday-from-Jonas-Ennery-אמרי-לב-Prières-Dun-Cœur-Israélite-1848.pdf (PDF, 185KB)

Download Prayer-for-Monday-from-Jonas-Ennery-אמרי-לב-Prières-Dun-Cœur-Israélite-trans.-Isaac-Leeser-1863.pdf (PDF, 166KB)

Notes   [ + ]

  1. Note that while Ennery and Arnaud choose Psalms 20 for the Psalm for Monday, Leeser directs the reader to Psalms 48 which is consistent with most prayer books. –Aharon N. Varady
  2. Arnaud Aron here uses the term, allemand corrompu, “corrupt German.”

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