תפילה לשלום המלכות
הנותן תשועה למלכים וממשלה לנסיכים. מלכותו מלכות כל עולמים, הפוצה את דוד עבדו מחרב רעה, הנותן בים דרך ובמים עזים נתיבה, הוא יברך וישמור וינצור ויעזור וירומם ויגדל וינשא למעלה את הנשיא ואת משניהו ואת כל שרי הארץ הזאת.
[מלך מלכי המלכים ברחמיו יחיים וישמרם ומכל צרה ויגון ונזק יצילם. וידבר עמים תחת רגליהם. ויפיל שונאיהם לפניהם. ובכל אשר יפנו יצליחו:] מלך מלכי המלכים ברחמיו יתן בלבם ובלב כל יועציהם ושריהם לעשות טובה עמנו ועם כל ישראל. בימיהם ובימינו תושע יהודה וישראל ישכון לבטח, ובא לציון גואל. וכן יהי רצון, ונאמר אמן:
Prayer for the Welfare of the Government, Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks translation
May He who gives salvation to kings and dominion to princes, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, who delivers His servant David from the evil sword, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters, bless and protect, guard and help, exalt, magnify and uplift the President, Vice President and all officials of this land. May the supreme King of kinds in His mercy put into their hearts and the hearts of all their counselors and officials, to deal kindly with us and all of Israel. In their days and in ours, may Judah be saved and Israel dwell in safety, and may the Redeemer come to Zion. May this be His will, and let us say: Amen.
Rabbi Jonathan Muskat, via Facebook
December 29th, 2016
I don't think that I fully processed the impact of President Obama's betrayal of the State of Israel by not vetoing the anti-Israel UN resolution until last Saturday night. Upon reflection and after being utterly disgusted by Secretary of State John Kerry's rebuke of Israel yesterday, I don't see how I can recite a prayer that explicitly blesses President Obama anymore in shul. At the same time, I am aware of the danger of not reciting a prayer for the government when you don't like the government's policies. Where do you draw the line? Honest and vigorous political debate is good, but not when it is time to pray. We all pray together, Republicans and Democrats alike in a spirit of unity. It is important that we have a fixed prayer expressing our gratitude that we live in a medina shel chesed like the United States. As such, from now on, at the Young Israel of Oceanside, we will recite the modified prayer for the government below which blesses not the leaders of our government, but blesses the United States and its citizens and asks God to place in the hearts of our leaders compassion to do good with us and with all of Israel. May all of our prayers be answered speedily in our days.
הנותן תשועה למלכים וממשלה לנסיכים, מלכותו מלכות כל העולמים, הפוצה את דוד עבדו מחרב רעה, הנותן בים דרך ובמים עזים נתיבה, הוא יברך את ארצות הברית ואת אזרחיה. מלך מלכי המלכים ברחמיו יחיים וישמרם, ומכל צרה ויגון ונזק יצילם, ויתן בלב כל שרי המדינות האלו ובלב כל יועציהם ושריהם לעשות טובות עמנו ועם כל ישראל אחינו. בימיהם ובימינו תיוושע יהודה וישראל ישכון לבטח, ובא לציון גואל, וכן יהי רצון ונאמר אמן.
(Changes - "may He bless the United States and its citizens.... may God place in the heart of the leaders of this country and into the heart of all their counselors and officers compassion...")
Follow-up to my original post:
It was privately brought to my attention that I should make the following clarification so that there is no misunderstanding. There are very clear halachot regarding the structure and text of tefillot and for the most part we don't change tefillot, especially those that were instituted by Chazal. However, this particular tefilla is a more recent tefillah that has had numerous versions and is somewhat more malleable and after consultation with a posek, I felt comfortable that it could be adapted in the manner in which I described in my particular community.
Rabby Shmuly Yanklowitz, via Facebook
January 16th, 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.
"O God and God of our Ancestors, help us with our struggle. We yearn for the success of the American government, to fulfill its righteous mandate to protect its citizens from threats internal and foreign, to fortify the bonds between liberty and justice, to ordain fair treatment under the law, and to expand welfare to all those within its capacity.
We pray that the vision of the prophets—the redemptive power of justice; relief for the poor, welcome for the marginal, protection for the oppressed, care for the sick—and the vision of the Constitution of a more perfect union be brought about. Guide the incoming leader of this country away from his basest instincts, thwart his plans to target certain groups and strengthen white supremacy; for You know, God, that all were created in Your image.
We pray that the decrees from the Executive office do not harm the innocent. We pray that any policies that are meant to harm the vulnerable in prioritization of the powerful and privileged will be quashed. Should there be plans that will merely benefit the most privileged Americans, but not all of humankind and the planet we call home, may they fail. May our nation not consort or conspire with totalitarian despots but reaffirm our commitment to freedom and democracy. Grant us the strength to demonstrate spiritual resistance, to imbue our sinews with the highest integrity. Give us the wisdom and courage to do what’s right to protect the most powerless and defenseless in society.
May agents of hate who stray from Your holy vision of love and justice, found within and outside our country, be averted. May all of Your creations be handled mercifully. May all to whom You have given the sanctity of life awaken and fulfill their calling to bring love, justice, and kindness to all corners of Your world.
May Your land, and our government, strive to be a blessing for all. Amen."
Apocrypha: Baruch Chapter 1
9 After that Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon had carried away Jechonias, and the princes, and the captives, and the mighty men, and the people of the land, from Jerusalem, and brought them unto Babylon.
10 And they said, Behold, we have sent you money to buy you burnt offerings, and sin offerings, and incense, and prepare ye manna, and offer upon the altar of the Lord our God;
11 And pray for the life of Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, and for the life of Balthasar his son, that their days may be upon earth as the days of heaven:
12 And the Lord will give us strength, and lighten our eyes, and we shall live under the shadow of Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon, and under the shadow of Balthasar his son, and we shall serve them many days, and find favour in their sight.
ספר אבודרהם דיני קריאת התורה
Sefer Abudraham: Hilkhot Keriyat HaTorah, by Rabbi David ben Rabbi Joseph Abudraham, who lived in Spain during the thirteenth century.
And they were accustomed to blessing the king and to praying to God that He should aid him and strengthen him over his enemies, as it says: And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace shall you have peace.And the peace of the city is that he shall pray to God that the king shall defeat his enemies. And we say in the first chapter of Tractate Avoda Zara: Rab Judah says in the name of Samuel: Why is it written: And You make man as the fishes of the sea, and as the creeping things, that have no ruler over them? Why is man here compared to the fishes of the sea?… Just as among fish of the sea the greater swallow up the smaller ones, so with men, were it not for fear of the government, men would swallow each other alive. This is just what we learnt: R. Hanina, the Deputy High Priest, said, Pray for the welfare of the government, for were it not for the fear thereof, men would swallow each other alive. And after this he blesses the community, as it says: [And the king turned his face around] and blessed all the congregation of Israel.
Sefer Seder Hayom, written by Rabbi Moses b. Judah ibn Machir in the sixteenth century
After [the Haftara], the hazan shall bless the king who rules over us. Even if he is from the nations of the world, since we stand under his control and his rule, we must [tzerikhin anu] pray for him. For in his peace we will find peace. So it is an affirmative commandment from our tradition [rabbinic law], for so it says in Jeremiah: “And seek the peace of the city where etc.” and the entire nation shall say Amen
Rabbi Ezekiel ben Judah Landau (1713-1793 Opataw, Poland). The above quote is from his introduction to Tzelah, called Hitnatzlut HaMehaber
It is already known and well published in all places where I have been that I warn and remonstrate in most of the Torah expositions that I proffer publicly that we be extremely careful of the honour of the nations of our time, in whose lands and states we find sanctuary. And we are required [hayavim] to pray for the peace of the kings, the officers, and their soldiers and to pray for the sake of the state and its inhabitants. And God forbid that we be ungrateful since they are good to us and they grant us life and a remnant in the land.
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Iggrot Moshe Yoreh Deah 2:53
We certainly should not speak before non-Jews concerning their faith to which they hold on today to maintain peace in the country because as a result of the kindness of God we dwell in their shade in peace and tranquility and we are commanded to pray for its [the United States’] peace
ועוד מטעם שבל יתראה ח"ו שאנו מקטינים כבוד המלוכה דמדינתנו בפה אשר אנחנו מחוייבים להכיר להם טובה על החסד שעושין עמנו ועם כל אחבנ"י שבמדינה הזאת ואנחנו מברכים אותם ומתפללים להשי"ת בכל עת ושעה לשלום המדינה ונשיאיה ושריה כאשר נצטוינו. ולכן אין רצוני לכתוב ולדון בזה. וגם אין להוסיף עלדברי כתר"ה כי שפיר כתב בעצם הענין.
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Iggrot Moshe Choshen Mishpat 1:72
And also so that it not appear, God forbid, that we are diminishing the honour of our nation’s government with what we say, because we are required to give gratitude for the kindness that they perform with us and with all our brothers the children of Israel who live in this country. So we bless them and pray to God at all times and moments for the peace of the country, its president and its officers, as we have been commanded. Therefore it is not my desire to write about and adjudicate this
Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Iggrot Moshe Choshen Mishpat 2:29
Regarding the matters of kindness which our government of the United States of America, which God in His great kindness over the saved remnant of the Jews from all the countries of Europe and over the remnant of the great Torah sages and their students has brought here, where they have established Torah institutions, both older ones from Europe and new ones. Because this government of kindness, whose entire purpose is to do good for all those who dwell in this land, has created a number of financial programs to help students in all the schools in the country so that they can study and grow in their education, so that also Torah institutions receive great help for their students, certainly all rashei yeshiva, principals [of schools], and students feel great gratitude to the state and bless with all blessings for the sake of peace of the state and all those who stand in its leadership.
Gershom Seixas, prayer for a day of "humiliation, fasting, and prayer" decreed by the Continental Congress on May 17, 1776
O Lord... may it please thee, to put in the heart of our Sovereign Lord George the third, and in the hearts of his Concellors, Princes and Servants, to turn their fierce Wrath from against North America... That thou mayest once more plant an everlasting peace between Great Britian and her Colonies as in former times..."
Let no party schisms in state affairs prevail, so as to destroy the principles of the Constitution, which is for the security of person and property, and sworn to be observed May the Congress assembled, act in unison with each other to promote the welfare of all–– and may they be able to deliberate and decide on all laws proposed for the advantage of their constitutents. May agriculture flourish and Commerce be prosperous, may the seminaries of education be continued under the direction of able Teachers and Professors–– that the succeeding generations may gain the knowledge of freedom without licentiousness, and the usefulness of power without tyranny. May the people be convinced of the fidelity of their representatives, and may no cause of jealously subsist among the different States of the Union...
Rabbi Max Lilienthal, Ribon Kol Ha-Olamim: 1846
translated by Professor Jonathan Sarna
Master of Universe. Lord of all Works. Who extends peace like a river, and like a rapid stream the glory of nations. Look down from Your holy dwelling and bless this land, the United State, whereon we dwell. Let not violence be heard in their land, wasting and destruction within their boundaries, but You shall call its walls "Salvation" and its gates "Praise." Grant them rains in due season so that the earth shall yield her products and the tree of the field shall yield its fruit, and grant peace, goodness and a blessing on all the inhabitants of the land, that they may lie down with none to make them afraid. And among the nations shall their need be known and their offspring in the midst of the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, for You hath blessed them. Amen.
Pour down the bounty of Your goodness upon the President, and the Vice President of the United States, that their prosperity be like the river, their triumph like the waves of the sea. In their days may kindness and truth meet together, righteousness and peace kiss one another. Great shall be their honor; through You help and in your strength they will greatly exult. Amen. Ordain blessings also upon the Governor and the lieutenant Governor of the state and the Mayor and lieutenant Governor of the state and the Mayor and the Common Council of this City. Teach them the good way wherein they should walk so as to judge the entire people rightly, the entire nation justly, and all will see it and delight themselves from the abundance of peace. Amen.
Send Your salvation also to the City of New York and all its inhabitants. Spread over them the canopy of Your peace and remove from them every ailment and affliction. Gladness and joy shall they obtain, and sorrow and sighting shall flee away. Amen. Our good Father, also answer us Your people the house of Israel at a favorable time, and be of assistance each and every day. Guide us continually in your great goodness and satisfy our soul in times of famine. And we shall be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters do not fail, and go from strength to strength until the redeemer shall come unto Zion. O that this may be His will, and let us say Amen.
אֱלֹקֵינוּ וֵאלֹקֵי אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ קַבֵּל נָא בְּרַחַמִים אֶת־תְּפִלָּתֵֽנוּ בְּעַד אַרְצֵֽנוּ וּמֶמְשַׁלְתָּהּ. הָרֵק אֶת־בּרְכָתְךָ ע֚ל הָאָֽרֶץ הַזֺּאת עַל נְשִׂיאָהּ שׁוֹפְטֶֽיהָ שׁוֹטְרֶֽיהָ וּפְקִידֶֽהָ הָעוֹסְקִים בְצָרְכֵי צִבּוּר בֶּאֱמוּנָה. הוֹרֵם מֵחֻקֵּי תוֺרָתֶֽךָ הַבִינֵם מִשְׁפְּטֵי צִדְקֶֽךָ לְמַֽעַן לֺא יָסוּרוּ מֵאַרְצֵֽנוּ שָׁלוֹם וְשַׁלְוָה אֺֽשֶׁר וָחֺֽפֶשׁ כּל־הַיָּמִים. אָנָּא ה' אֱלֺקֵי הָרוּחוֺת לְכָל־בָּשָׂר שְׁלַח רוּחֲךָ עַל כָּל־תּוֹשְׁבֵי אַרְצֵֽנוּ וְטַע בֵּין בְּנֵי הָאֻמּוֹת וְהָאֱמוּנוֹת הַשּׁוֹנוֹת הַשּׁוֹכְנִים בָּהּ אַהֲבָה וְאַחֲוָה שָׁלוֹם וְרֵעוּת. וַעֲקֺר נִלִּבָּם כָל שִׂנְאָה וְאֵיבָה קִנְאָה וְתַחֲרוּת. לְמַלֺּאות מַשָּׂא נֶֽפשׁ בָּנֶֽיהָ הַמִּתְיַמְְּרִים בִּכְבוֹדָהּ וְהַמִּשְׁתּוֹקְקִים לִרְאוֹתָהּ אוֹר לְכָל־הַגּוֹיִם. וְכֵן יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶֽיךָ שֶׁתְּהֵא אַרְצֵֽנוּ בְּרָכָה לְכָל־יוֹשְׁבֵי תֵבֵל ותַשְׁרֶה בֵּינֵיהֶם רֵעוּת וְחֵרוּת וְקַיֵּם בִּמְהֵרָה חֲזוֹן נְבִיאֶֽיךָ “לֹא־יִשָּׂ֨א ג֤וֹי אֶל־גּוֹי֙ חֶ֔רֶב וְלֹא־יִלְמְד֥וּ ע֖וֹד מִלְחָמָֽה” וְנֶאֱמַר “כִּֽי־כוּלָּם֩ יֵדְע֨וּ אוֹתִ֜י לְמִקְטַנָּ֤ם וְעַד־גְּדוֹלָם֙ נְאֻם־ה' כִּ֤י אֶסְלַח֙ לַֽעֲוֹנָ֔ם וּלְחַטָּאתָ֖ם לֹ֥א אֶזְכָּר־עֽוֹד”. אָמֵן׃
A Prayer for The Government
Rabbi Louis Ginzberg, 1927
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, tranquillity, 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 fulfil the longings of its people, who aspire for its dignity, and desire to see it as a light for all nations. And so may it be God's will that our land be a blessing for all who live on earth, and that fellowship and liberty will dwell between them. Establish soon the vision of your prophet: “Nation will not raise a sword against nation, and they will no longer learn war,” and, as it is said: “for all of them will know Me, from the smallest to the greatest.” (Amen)