Thanksgiving

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.

I Must Praise God

By Epictetus (1st century), 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. 21.

And what words can truly express our praise of the works of Providence? if we had understanding, ought we not incessantly sing hymns to the Deity to rehearse His benefits? Ought we not as we dig or we plow or eat, sing a hymn to God? Great is God who has given us the strength and skill and tools to till the ground! Who has given us limbs and power and organs! And that which should be the subject of the greatest and most divine hymn: that he has granted us the faculty of apprehending his gifts!

What else then can I, a lame old man, do but chant the praise of God? If I were a nightingale, I would sing as a nightingale; if a swan, as a swan. But as I am a rational creature, I must praise God. This is my task and I will do it. nor will I leave this duty so long as I live; and I exhort you all to join in this same thing.