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☞   Prayers for the Government in the Diaspora

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | Prayer for the Safety of Kings, Princes and Commonwealths, presented by Menasseh ben Israel to Oliver Cromwell (1655)

From “How Faithful The Nation of the Iewes are.” in To His Highnesse The Lord Protector Of The Common-Wealth Of England, Scotland, And Ireland, The Humble Addresses Of Menasseh Ben Israel (1655), p.11-13 (p.91-93 in L. Wolf’s edition). The Hebrew liturgy shown was transcribed from the “Prayer for the Dutch royal family and the city council of Amsterdam” (1950) and has been edited to fit this earlier version of the text. What is clear in comparing this version with the version that became prominent in England and elsewhere, is the removal of the angelo-astrological phrase on the rise of the planetary star corresponding to the particular Sar in heaven and lord on earth. What changed between 1655 and the 18th century? Increased anxiety over exoteric references in the kabbalah following the messianic movement of Shabbetai Tsvi, and also, the Enlightenment. We’ll be keen to find other examples of Hanoten Teshua from before and after 1655, that might add additional light on how this prayer may have changed. Related to the liturgical phrase on the rise of the planetary star, Menasseh ben Israel includes a reference in his argument to Cromwell for the proper regard that should be granted the Jews by the other nations. The reference is to Zohar Pekudei (Zohar II 267b:8-10) and we believe this may be the first time anyone has ever located the actual text being referred to here. . . .

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | Prayer for the Prosperity of his Royal Majesty, delivered by Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon Templo to King Charles II (1675)

Rabbi Jacob Judah Leon’s Prayer for King Charles II, from his 1675 booklet, was the first Jewish prayer in English for an English king (Mocatta Library, University College London). . . .

אֵל שְׁמֹר הַמַּלְכָּה | God Save the Queen (Hebrew translation, ca. 1892)

“God Save the Queen” is an adaptation of “God Save the King,” a work by an unknown author, first circulated by periodicals in mid-18th century England. The author of the Hebrew translation is also unknown and was published in a pamphlet circulated by New Road (Whitechapel) Synagogue in 1892. We are grateful to the Jewish East End of Londonwebsite for providing the source image for the transcription of this work in the Public Domain. . . .

תפילה לשלום המלכות | Prayer for the Welfare of George Washington, George Clinton, and the Thirteen States of America by Hendla Jochanan van Oettingen (1784)

Prayers recited on special occasions and thus not part of the fixed liturgy offered America’s foremost Jewish congregation far greater latitude for originality in prayer. At such services, particularly when the prayers were delivered in English and written with the knowledge that non-Jews would hear them, leaders of Shearith Israel often dispensed with the traditional prayer for the government and substituted revealing new compositions appropriate to the concerns of the day. A prayer composed in 1784 (in this case in Hebrew) by the otherwise unknown Rabbi (Cantor?) Hendla Jochanan van Oettingen, for example, thanked God who “in His goodness prospered our warfare.” Mentioning by name both Governor George Clinton and General George Washington, the rabbi prayed for peace and offered a restorationist Jewish twist on the popular idea of America as “redeemer nation”: “As Thou hast granted to these thirteen states of America everlasting freedom,” he declared, “so mayst Thou bring us forth once again from bondage into freedom and mayst Thou sound the great horn for our freedom.” . . .

Prayer for the Government in honor of George Washington, First President of the United States of America by Ḳ.Ḳ. Beit Shalome (1789)

The following prayer for the government was composed by Congregation Beth Shalome in Richmond, Virginia in 1789. Please note the acrostic portion of the prayer in which the initial letters of the succeeding lines form the name: Washington. . . .

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | Prayer for the Government of the United States of America, presented by Gershom Seixas on Thanksgiving Day 1789

The prayer for the government presented by Gershom Seixas at K.K. Shearith Israel on Thanksgiving Day 1789. . . .

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | Prayer for the royal family of King George III (1810)

May he that dispenseth salvation unto kings, and dominion unto princes; whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; who delivered his servant David from the destructive sword; who maketh a way in the sea, and a path through the mighty waters, bless, preserve, guard, and assist our most gracious sovereign Lord, King GEORGE the third, our most gracious Queen CHARLOTTE, their royal highness GEORGE Prince of Wales, the Princess DOWAGER of Wales, and all the ROYAL FAMILY; may the supreme king of kings through his infinite mercy preserve them, and grant them life and deliver them from all manner of danger; may the supreme king of kings aggrandize and highly exalt our sovereign Lord the king, and grant him long and prosperously to reign; may the supreme king of kings inspire him and his council and the state of the kingdom with benevolence towards us, and all Israel our brethren; in his days and in our days, may Jehudah be saved, and Israel dwell in safety, and may the redeemer come unto Zion, which God of his infinite mercies grant; and let us say, Amen. . . .

תפילה לה בעד חיי׳ המלך אדוננו ובעד טובת | Prayer for Alexandru Ioan I Cuza, Domnitor of Romania, by Rabbi Meir Leibush (1862)

The life of Rabbi Meir Leibush ben Yeḥiel Michel (MALBIM, 1809-1879) as a wandering rabbi and brilliant intellect reflects the changing expectations of Jews and Jewish religious authorities during the period of emancipation in 19th century Eastern Europe. In his capacity as the chief rabbi of Bucharest, Romania, MALBIM composed a prayer for Prince Alexander Ioan I Cuza (1820-1873), Domnitor. The prince had united the Danube principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1862 to form the Kingdom of Romania. During his reign, he managed to bring about a series of important land reforms benefiting the peasantry of Romania, and he did try to improve the situation for Jews under his rule. The emancipation of the Jews of Romania, announced with the Proclamation of Islaz during the Wallachian Revolution of 1848, had never actually gone into effect. In 1865, the prince announced a project which would lead to the “gradual emancipation of the people of Mosaic faith” but this effort was never realized due to Alexandru Ioan’s forced abdication and replacement by a Prussian King in 1866. . . .

Prayer for the Centennial of the Inauguration of George Washington, by Rabbi Yaakov Yosef (1889)

The proclamation and prayer of chief rabbi Yaakov Yosef, on the centennial of President George Washington’s Inauguration . . .

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | Prayer for the royal family of Queen Victoria (1860)

May he that dispenses salvation unto kings, and dominion unto princes; whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; who delivered his servant David from the destructive sword; who maketh a way in the sea, and a path through the mighty waters, bless, preserve, guard, and assist Our Sovereign Lady QUEEN VICTORIA, ALBERT EDWARD, Prince of Wales, the PRINCESS of WALES, and all the ROYAL FAMILY. may the supreme king of kings through his infinite mercy preserve them, and grant them life and deliver them from all manner of danger; may the supreme king of kings aggrandize and highly exalt our sovereign Lady the queen, and grant her long and prosperously to reign; may the supreme king of kings inspire her and her council and the state of the kingdom with benevolence towards us, and all Israel our brethren; in her days and in our days, may Jehudah be saved, and Israel dwell in safety, and may the redeemer come unto Tsiyon, which God of his infinite mercies grant; and let us say, Amen. . . .

תפלה בעד שלום המדינה | Prayer for the Welfare of the State by Avraham Hyman Charlap (1916)

Please, God Adonai, Who creates the skies and drapes them over the earth, Who spreads out the earth and its descendants, Who grants life to its nations, and vigor to those who walk upon it, You positioned borders on earth and sustained sovereigns and states. These United States, too, Your hands arranged. They began in distress, but through Your great and abundant kindness, have grown like a cedar in Lebanon, adding vitality, strength, and success with each generation. America’s wings stretch from sea to shining sea, and over far islands. Like the sun at its zenith, it lights the world and its inhabitants with laws and ordinances good and upright, righteous and fair. . . .

גאָט בענטש אַמעריקע | God Bless America, for Armistice/Veterans Day by Irving Berlin (1918/1938)

The words of the prayer for Armistice Day 1938, “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin, in English and Yiddish. . . .

תְּפִלָּה בְּעַד הַמֶּמְשָׁלָה | A Prayer for the Government, by Rabbi Dr. Louis Ginzberg (1927), translated by Rabbi Tim Bernard (2010)

Our God and God of our ancestors: Accept with mercy our prayer for our land and its government. Pour out your blessing on this land, on its President, judges, officers and officials, who work faithfully for the public good. Teach them from the laws of Your Torah, enlighten them with the rules of Your justice, so that peace, tranquility, happiness and freedom will never depart from our land. God of all that lives, please bestow Your spirit on all the inhabitants of our land, and plant love, fellowship, peace and friendship between the different communities and faiths that dwell here. Uproot from their hearts all hate, animosity, jealousy and strife, in order to fulfill the longings of its people, who aspire for its dignity, and desire to see it as a light for all nations. . . .

הַנּוֹתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | Prayer for the Government on Thanksgiving Day, offered by Rabbi David de Sola Pool (1945)

The Prayer for the Government offered by Rabbi David de Sola Pool in his service for Thanksgiving Day in 1945. . . .

א תְּפִילָה פיר שָׁלוֹם הַמְדִינָה | A Prayer for the Welfare of the Government during WWII (from A Naye Shas Tkhine Rav Pninim, ca. 1942)

A prayer for the welfare of the government in Yiddish from A Naye Shas Tkhine Rav Pninim (after 1933). . . .

Benediction by Rabbi Julie Schonfeld at the Democratic National Convention (2016)

The full text of Rabbi Julie Schonfeld’s benediction offered at the end of the first day of the Democratic National Convention, July 25th, 2016. . . .

תפילה למצביעי המדינה | Prayer for the Electorate, by David Zvi Kalman (2016)

A prayer for the electorate to be recited together with the Prayer for Government on the Shabbat before an election (federal, state, or local). David Zvi Kalman’s “Prayer for the Electorate” was initially published on Ritualwell here and linked from an explanation of the prayer posted here. Vocalization of the unpointed text by Josh Soref. (Thank you!) . . .

Prayer for the United States Government [upon the Inauguration of Donald Trump], by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz (2017)

Because of my commitment to the integrity of prayer, starting this week, I can no longer recite or say amen to the Shabbat prayer for the success of the U.S. President. So I have drafted a new prayer that I will plan to recite each Shabbat morning. If you also feel it’s important to pray for the U.S. government but also feel you cannot pray for the success of this President, feel free to use this or adapt it as you please. I felt that it was not enough to simply avoid the U.S. President in the prayer for the government but to remind myself of the billions of vulnerable people who are at risk under his rule, and challenge myself each Shabbat to build up the strength for another week of spiritual resistance. . . .

תפילה לארצות הברית לאחר הטבח בפּיטסבּורג | Prayer for the United States after the Pittsburgh Massacre, by Rabbi Stephen Belsky (2018)

A prayer composed in the aftermath of the mass murder of the Dor Ḥadash community at the Ets Ḥayyim (Tree of Life) Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh on Shabbat morning 27 October 2018. . . .

Prayer for Our Country [upon the Inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama], by Ilana Joy Streit (2009)

A prayer upon the inauguration of President Obama in January 2009. . . .

תפילה לשלום התפוצה היהודית | A Prayer for the Welfare of Diaspora Jewry, by Rabbi Amitai Fraiman (2018)

We have a prayer for the State of Israel, its army, government etc. but we do not have a non-judgmental, non-aliyah focused prayer for the welfare of Diaspora Jewry. This prayer offers a remedy for this absence. . . .

תְּפִלָּה לְמַעַן אַרְצוֹת הַבְּרִית בְּעֵת נִסָּיוֹן | A Prayer for the United States at a Time of Trial, by Rabbi Joe Schwartz (2019)

“A Prayer for the Spiritual Welfare of the United States at a Time of Trial,” by Rabbi Joe Schwartz was first published at The Forward on 28 June 2019. . . .

תְּפִלָּה בְּעַד מֶמְשֶׁלֶת שָׁלוֹם | Prayer for a Government of Peace, by Zackary Sholem Berger (2019)

A prayer for a government when that government is causing pain through malicious policies. . . .


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