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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Monday, July 04, 2005
God Bless America
This Saturday, in honor of the Fourth of July, our Rabbi gave his sermon about the history of the prayer for our government – where and when it started and the various forms it has taken over the centuries. He gave a handout of various versions of the prayer that have appeared in American Orthodox prayer books. The prayer that is currently in the Orthodox prayer book is fairly inappropriate for contemporary use. It was written by Jews in the Ottoman Empire shortly after their expulsion from Spain and has a tone of servile fear of the government with a hidden subtext of actually wishing for the government’s fall! He encouraged us to borrow from the various prayers in the handout to create a prayer that would be appropriate for Jews living today in America. This is what ball-and-chain and I came up with and emailed to our Rabbi as a suggestion for insertion in our Saturday services.

If any of you have a prayer for our country that is recited weekly in your Church or Synagogue, we’d love it if you left it in the comments.

Have a very happy Fourth.

Our Father in Heaven, Your hand guided the establishment of the government of the United States of America. Small were its beginnings, but in the abundance of your blessings it has grown great. It shines forth onto the world and all the peoples with the luster of its laws of right and justice. The house of Israel has found within this country peace and a secure shelter in which to abide.

God, continue to bless this country and all of its inhabitants. Bless the President, and all the leaders of these United States. Protect and guard over her soldiers in every corner of the globe where they may be – in the air, on the sea and on land. Bless them with triumph and return them speedily to their homes in peace and in health.

It's too bad you weren't actually listening to what the Rabbi said. The current prayer is not the one written during the Ottoman Empire. It is a more contemporary prayer. However, it isn't effusive enough about all the good that the US has done for the Jews and the rest of the world. He handed out a fabulous prayer, but it was way too long. So, Bean and I simply cut it down and added stuff from the current prayer for the Government.
He said the one in the RCA edition of the Artscroll, which we use at shul, was the original text composed during the Ottoman Empire. So who wasn't listening? Holla!

Anyway, I didn't agree that it was necessarily calling for the fall of the government, but rather hoping to restore Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel so the Jews would no longer be subject to the whims of their host governments.

Either way, it still falls in line with the idea he stated, that in America we are not subjects of a host goverment but are actually part of the government, represented in the government as full citizens.

I didn't love that the version he had us recite didn't mention the president at all. But I admit I have no suggestions and am just a complainer.
Oh, Lord. Who is like Thee in supreme grooviness? We beseech Thee, Lord, maintain the USA as a kick-butt country, and exalt her glory among the Trotskyite heathen nations, especially France. For verily, France is an abomination. Elevate America's pride with bountiful rodeos and pickup trucks, and enrich her citizens with stock prices that soar like eagles. Humble her enemies and smite them with severe chronic prostadynia, and make their hemorrhoids as large and hard as the mountains. Then there will be no comfort in their pants, and all will know Thy will.

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