Prayer for the Government, &c. &c.

By The Reverend [Hazzan] Gershom Seixas, Religious Discourse delivered in the Synagogue in This City on Thursday, 26th November, 1789, Agreeable to the Proclamation of the President of the United States of America, to be observed as a day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer(New York, NY: Shearith Israel Synagogue, 1789) p. 15. 

May he that dispenseth salvation unto kings, and dominion unto princes; whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; that delivered his servant David from the destructive sword; that maketh a way in the sea, and a path through the mighty waters: Bless, preserve, guard, assist, and supremely exalt to the highest degree, the President and Vice-President of the Union, the Senate and the House of Representatives of the United States of America; the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the People of this State represented in the Senate and Assembly, with the Judges and Magistrates of this city; and all Kings and Potentates in alliance with these States.

May the Supreme King of Kings, through his infinite mercies, preserve them, and grant them life, and deliver them from all manner of trouble and danger. May he fix and establish them in their several departments in peace and tranquility. May the Supreme King of Kings implant among them amity, brotherly love and peace. Let not their lips speak evil, nor their tongues utter deceit.

May the Supreme King of Kings, through his infinite mercies, impart his divine wisdom to the Rulers of these States, and grant them a spirit of just counsel, so that they may be enabled to support their determinations with wisdom and judgment; and may peace ever subsist between them and the Kings and Potentates in alliance with them; and establish to them a covenant of peace until time shall be no more, so that national shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they make war anymore. Amen.

Grant it thus, O Lord! for the sake of thy great and ineffable name, and for the sake of thy people, and thine inheritance, who offereth up their supplications to thee whose seat is in heaven, invoking thee to hasten and let thy tender mercies anticipate our prayers, for we are greatly deficient and undeserving; incline thine ear and hearken, and do not despise our unworthiness nor our cry unto thee.

We beseech thee, O most gracious father and merciful King, to whom peace pertaineth, that thou wilt long cause us to enjoy a firm peace and tranquility; and as thou hast been pleased to establish us in peace, so spread over us thy tabernacle of peace everlasting, and speedily effectuate, that among us may be heard “the voice of him who bringeth glad tidings,” announcing that “the redeemer cometh to Zion.” So be it thy will, and we say Amen.


A Prayer by the Hazan (for Thanksgiving)

By The Reverend [Hazzan] Gershom Seixas, Religious Discourse delivered in the Synagogue in This City on Thursday, 26th November, 1789, Agreeable to the Proclamation of the President of the United States of America, to be observed as a day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer(New York, NY: Shearith Israel Synagogue, 1789) p. 16. 

May the Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers; may he never leave us or forsake us; that he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his judgments which he commanded our fathers. And may these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the Lord, be nigh unto the Lord our God, day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel, at all times, as the matter shall require.

That all the people of the earth may know that the Lord he is God, and none else.

This book of the law shall not depart from thy mouth; and thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then shalt thou make thy way prosperous, and then shalt thou be prudent.

Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed; for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

May our Prayers be acceptable before You, Lord our God, our Rock and our Redeemer.

Prayer for a Shaliach Tsibbur before Shacharit on the High Holy Days (excerpt)

Unknown Authorship. Found pasted into a manuscript of Rosh Ha-Shanah nusach by Abraham Baer, dated 1870. Translated by Hinda Tz. Eisen, 2013.

Prayer for Shaliach Tsibbur Privately

God, True King, Shaddai, the Highest Ruler, accept my supplication willingly and with strength of heart. […] Have mercy upon me and hear the prayer which I pray today for myself and for my household and for my witnesses who agree with my prayer. Include my prayer among the righteous and the clean prayers that Israel will make. […] May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable before You, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer, Amen Selah. May it be Your will, O Awesome One, that you will bestow upon me a pleasant and pleasing voice today, and may my voice not give out and my throat not tire; may my voice be pleasant and strong like it says [in Your Torah], “the voice of the Shofar was ever-going and strong.” Amen, Selah.

True Repentance

From Likutei T’fillot for the month of Elul (6:42), based on the teachings of Rebbe Nachman of Breslov. Accessed here on August 13, 2013, p. 38. Translated by Hinda Tzivia Eisen.

Lord my God, my soul very much knows that I am very far from true repentance, for my sins have passed in my head and they have confused my thoughts, so much so that I don’t have any idea how to return to you. The knowledge eludes me and my heart has left me. I walk in this world here and there dejected, without knowledge, and without heart.

Installation Prayer

By Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut
as published in Rabbi Morrison David Bial (ed.), An Offering of Prayer: Prayers and Meditations Private and Public (Summit, NJ: Temple Sinai of Summit, 1962) p. 51. Adapted by Hinda Tz. Eisen, 2013.

O Lord, Our God, we thank You for Your countless mercies. For the incomparable gift of love that comes to us from family and friends and from these, Your children, to whose service we dedicate our lives.

We need Your help, O God; since without You the burden is heavy, and the tablets of Your commandments weigh us down.

But when Your writing is clear and Your spirit upon it, the burden is lifted, the tablets take on wings and the commandments carry us on high.

Help us, O God, to follow in the way which we have been taught, which our parents gave us as their greatest gift.

Teach us, O Lord, to follow the path of Joseph, our forefather, always to say like him: “I seek my brothers.”

We need Your help to walk the way before us with surety and confidence, the way already paved by great leaders who stood here and who served Your people.

Help us to be true clergy*- a teacher to old and young, to be a friend and counsellor to this holy congregation.

Help us to speak where silence is cheap; help us to be ever sensitive to the heartbeat of our fellow man;

Help us to preserve our balance in the swirl of human enterprise; help us to teach Your Torah, thus to magnify You day and night, until the end of our days.


* The original text says “a true Rabbi” instead of “clergy,” but I wanted it to be accessible to all new clergy – cantors, too!