The Election Issue: Prayers for Our Country

Oasis Songs: Musings from Rav D
Friday, November 4th, 2016 – 3 Cheshvan, 5777

This week, in place of my regular column, I am including the English text of two prayers for our country as a very contentious and divisive national campaign season draws to a close. One comes from a Jewish human rights organization, T’ruah. The other was composed by Rabbi David Seidenberg. For those attending services this week, we will have a chance to use these prayers, including the Hebrew version, as our own focus.


It is my fervent hope that all who are able to vote do so, in every corner of this country. May the votes be cast fairly, and may we suffer no more than the normal margin of error as the votes are counted. Most importantly, may we all find ways to heal the divisiveness that defines our country by seeking justice and equity for all, yes, and by working on how we respond to those who have very different perspectives.

T’ruah’s Prayer 

May it be Your will, at this season of our election, to guide us towards peace.

By voting, we commit to being full members of society, to accepting our individual responsibility for the good of the whole. May we place over ourselves officials in all our gates…who will judge the people with righteousness (Deut 16:18), and may we all merit to be counted among those who work faithfully for the public good.

Open our eyes to see the image of God in all candidates and elected officials, and may they see the image of God in all citizens of the earth.

Grant us the courage to fulfill the mitzvah of loving our neighbors as ourselves, and place in our hearts the wisdom to understand those who do not share our views.

As we pray on the High Holidays, “May we become a united society, fulfilling the divine purpose with a whole heart.

And as the Psalmist sang, “May there be shalom within your walls, peace in your strongholds. For the sake of my brothers and sisters and friends, I will speak peace to you.” (Ps. 122:7-8)

Rabbi Seidenberg’s Prayer

With my vote today I am prepared and intending to seek peace for this country, as You taught through Your prophet:

“Seek out the peace of the city where I cause you to roam and pray for her sake to God YHVH, for in her peace you all will have peace.” (Jer. 29:7)

May it be Your will that votes will be counted faithfully and may You account my vote as if I had fulfilled this verse with all my power.

May it be good in Your eyes to give a wise and listening heart to whomever we elect today and may You raise for us a government whose rule is for good and blessing, to bring justice and peace to all the inhabitants of the world and to Jerusalem, for rulership is Yours!

Just as I participated in elections today so may I merit to do good deeds and repair the world with all my actions, and with the act of. . .fill in your pledge which I pledge to do today on behalf of all living creatures and in remembrance of the covenant of Noah’s waters, to protect and to not destroy the earth and her plenitude.

May You give to all the peoples of this country: the strength and will to pursue righteousness and to seek peace as a unified force in order to cause to flourish, throughout the world, good life and peace and may You fulfill for us the verse:

“May the pleasure of Adonai our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands for us, may the work of our hands endure.” (Ps. 90:17)

Friends, finally, in a time when so many Americans of all persuasions and outlooks are discouraged by where our country is, let’s turn to the wisdom that our Jewish history provides us. We Jews have lived and survived and even thrived in far worse conditions throughout the ages. Things are not nearly as bad as the political process would have us believe. Most importantly, maintaining our strong Jewish conviction in optimism as the true and correct and faithful outlook on life will give us the courage to labor to make things better. May we each endeavor to make this “a more perfect Union.”

All my blessings for you and for our country,

Rav D

Shabbat Table Talk

  1. What do you think it more important, national politics or local grass root action? Why?
  2. What would you like to focus on after the election is over and once we have a clear outcome?
  3. Is what happens on the political stage any different than what happens in our work settings or our personal relationships? Why or why not? What do you learn from your position?
  4. Have you had a chance to engage in any of the activities contained on the High Holiday “Be a Bridge” game board?

Reminder: Walking Our Talk with Rabbi Kosak continues next week!

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Dates: 9th and 16th.
Time: 12 noon-1 pm
Lunch and learn: 12:00-12:30 pm
Meander: 12:30~1:00 pm