Observances

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.

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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.

A Meditation on Prayer

By Alvin I. Fine, 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. 10. Adapted by Hinda Tz. Eisen, 2013.

Prayer is aspiration. The self-satisfied disregard it. They who reach for higher things find it a necessity.

Prayer is a discipline. They who seek meaning and purpose in life discover it was a wise teacher.

Prayer is an art. We perfect it only through practice.

Never are we more truly and nobly ourselves than when we pray. Never are we more honestly aware of our shortcomings than when we are in God’s presence. never do we aspire more earnestly toward self-improvement and human betterment than when we worship Him.

Gradually, the interval between prayer and deed diminishes until, at last, all life becomes a sanctuary.

“I rejoiced when they said unto me: ‘Let us go unto the house of the Lord.'” (Psalms 122:1)

Prayer for a Sick Person

From Rabbi Simon Glazer, Techinah: Prayers and Religious Duties for the Daughters of Israel (New York: The Star Hebrew Book Company, 1930), p. 70-72. Adapted by Hinda Tz. Eisen.

Merciful Father of all mankind, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! I come before You broken down in spirit and body, full of contrition and humility, to pray for the restoration of the health of [name of sick person]. Have compassion upon him/her; let no evil befall me by the misfortune of this dearly beloved member of my family.

You, O Lord, are mighty and righteous in judgment; who am I to advance my cause before Your Throne of Glory? But You, O Lord, know the needs of even Your smallest creature and provide sustenance for it. In Your hand are all living; our souls are Yours; so too our lives; our fate on this earth, and You alone have the right to judge us when our earthly cares no longer trouble our consciousness. In Your hand is the real cure of all sickness; You are the only source of all help and succor. But You did ordain in Your Torah, that when one is sick, medical aid must be given to relieve suffering, to effect a cure and to restore health and vigor.

May the doctor, under whose care the sick person now is, be Your true messenger of mercy and bring the proper remedy to this member of my family. […] May I be deserving to receive Your blessings for complete healing to this member of my family, speedily. Amen.

A Prayer for Our Soldiers

By Rabbi Jerome M. Epstein, published by United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. Accessed 9 Nov. 2010, <http://uscj.org/images/iraqprayer.pdf>.

God of love, God of peace, min ha-meitzar karati Yah. Out of the depths of despair, we call to You. Our ears ring with the words “Do not fear.” But our stomachs churn with the acid of doubt. Determined to preserve our shared world from the tyranny of terrorism, we turn to You for answers, for values, for strength.

We stand before You with respect and concern for those who have been summoned to protect and secure our nation, our world. Give them the courage to meet the chilling stare of death. Show compassion to them as they seek to make the world safer for us and for those we love.

Ease the pain of their loneliness as they face the darkness of their daunting task. Let them feel Your presence as You warm the chill of their souls with the blanket of Your light. Help those far from the comfort of home to find value and meaning in their mission; that their sacrifice not be an empty act.

Let them sense the yearning of those who await their return and long for their presence — their loved ones, their parents, their children. Protect them when they find themselves in harm’s way. Salve their wounds with Your healing balm.

Melekh chafeitz ba-chayyim, Sovereign who desires life, above all protect them with Your merciful care. Return them safely to fulfill dreams unrealized so that they may bless Your name through the lives they live.

May their efforts further the cause of peace throughout the world, and bring us closer to the day when “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn of war anymore.” Amen.

Prayer for American Military Veterans

Composed by Hinda Tzivia Eisen for Veterans’ Day, 2010.
Prayer for American Military Veterans copy

May He who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, bless [names of veterans present, and] all those who have fought in the military on behalf of our country, the United States of America, in every time and era, in every place. Bless all of our soldiers that they should be successful, for good, in all of their endeavors; strengthen them and invigorate them. May it be Your will, Lord our God and God of our ancestors, that our land should be a blessing to all the inhabitants of the world. Immerse us in friendship and freedom, and foster among us true peace, that we might bring about the words written by the hand of Your prophet: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” And let us say: Amen.