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בס"ד

Prayer of Allegiance

Rabbi Ben Greenberg | www.OpenSinai.com

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  1. (ב) רַבִּי חֲנִינָא סְגַן הַכֹּהֲנִים אוֹמֵר, הֱוֵי מִתְפַּלֵּל בִּשְׁלוֹמָהּ שֶׁל מַלְכוּת, שֱׁאִלְמָלֵא מוֹרָאָהּ, אִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ חַיִּים בְּלָעוֹ.

    (2) Rabbi Chanina, the Deputy High Priest, says: Pray for the welfare of the government, for were it not for the fear of it, man would swallow his fellow alive.

  2. תפרת ישראל, אבות 3:2

    אפילו של אומות העולם [כירמיה כ"ט פ"ז], אולם לא קאמר בשלום המלך, מדיש מדינות שהמנהיגים רבים, כהזקנים שברומי בימים הקדמונים, וכמדינת [שווייץ] בזמנינו, או משום שר' חנינא חי סמוך לזמן החורבן, ואז הושיב הקיסר נצב מלך [פיצעקעניג] בא"י, והוא השליט בארץ, והשם מלכות כולל גם זאת ההנהגה ולכן הזהיר על זה, משום שבשלום המנהיג תלוי הצלחת כל אדם, כמו שיעץ ריב"ז בזמן החורבן [כגיטין נ"ו א'], ולא לבד מלכות, אלא גם כל מנהיג בעירו ועדתו נקרא בשם מלך והוה מתפלל בשלומם כדי שיהיה להם מנוח לפקח על טובת הכלל, ומה"ט עושין מי שברך בכל שבת לפריץ ומלך ונאמר יה"ר בכל יום קריאת התורה בעד לומדי התורה לבעבור כי הם נושאי הנרות לפני בני דורם להנהיגם בדרך ישרה

    Tiferet Yisrael on Avot 3:2

    In truth, it does not say “the peace of the king,” to include countries that are ruled by a majority consensus like the elders in Rome in the early era and like Switzerland in our times. Or since R. Chanina lived close to the time of the destruction, and then the Caesar was king and ruled over the Land of Israel and the name of “Kingship” was inclusive of the entire kingship, including its leadership, he too was cognizant of this because the peace of the leader depends on the success of every person [in the government] and not just the “kingship.”

  3. Rabbi Akiva Schlesinger (1838-1922)

    Should we say the prayer for the welfare of the government in Hebrew or German? If we believe that this is genuinely a prayer it should be say in Hebrew.

  4. Rabbi Shem Tov Gagin (1884-1953)

    The custom in London is to say the prayer for the King and Queen and their advisors in English but in Amsterdam they are previously accustomed to say it in Portuguese.

  5. Rabbi Menashe ben Israel (1604-1657)

    First and formost, my Intention is to try, if by Gods good hand over me, I may obtaine here for my Nation the Liberty of a free and publick Synagogue, wherein we may daily call upon the Lord our God, that once he may be pleased to remember his Mercies and Promises done to our Fore fathers, forgiving our trespasses, and restoring us once againe into our fathers Inheritance; and besides to sue also for a blessing upon this Nation, and People of England, for receiving us into their bosoms, and comforting Sion in her distresse.

  6. Rabbi Yosef Kapach (1917-2000), Section 1:492

    This prayer is not found at all within the liturgy of Yemenite Jews throughout all of Yemenite Jewish history. The Jewish community in Yemen had such a good relationship with their Arab neighbors that it was never necessary to verbally pray publicly for the welfare of the state

  7. Historical Incidents

    1. During the War of the Fifth Coalition (1809; Austrian and British Empires against Napoleon’s French Army) the Jewish community in Austro-Hungary gathered in special assemblies to pray for the welfare of the government. (Journal of Rabbi Moshe Sofer)

     

    2. He who gives salvation to Kings and dominion to princes and Whose kingdom is eternal, the Great and Mighty God, the King of Kings, the Holy One blessed be He, may He bless, guard, uphold, assist and uplift forever and ever, our master, our king, the holy rabbi, the righteous one, the sultan Shabtai Zvi, the savior of the God of the Jacob... (Inyanei Shabtai Tzvi)

     

    3. The Rebbe had to run away from his community Nashalasak because of the actions of the wicked people because he would not pray for the government of the Russians and degraded the honor of the Czar, because he refused to offer the prayer for the government on the day of the crowning of Alexander the Third. (Rabbi Avraham Borenstein [Sokatchover Rebbe, 1838-1910])

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Source Sheet created on Sefaria by Ben Greenberg