Blessing the Government, Ethics of the Fathers, Pirkei Avot, Chapter 3:2

Blessing the Government, Ethics of the Fathers, Pirkei Avot, Chapter 3:2

Chapter 3:2. Rabbi Chanina, deputy to the kohanim, would say: Pray for the integrity of the government; for were it not for the fear of its authority, a man would swallow his neighbor alive. Pirkei Avot,

This Shabbat, as we were learning the that mishna,  I began to think of those who in anger or disappointment at various politicians and/or policies, even including the very legitimacy of the State of Israel, refuse in principle to say the Prayer for the State of Israel.

Prayer for Shlom Hamedina, Welfare of the State of Israel, Jewish Virtual Library

Our Father in Heaven, Rock and Redeemer of Israel, bless the State of Israel, the first manifestation of the approach of our redemption. Shield it with Your lovingkindness, envelop it in Your peace, and bestow Your light and truth upon its leaders, ministers, and advisors, and grace them with Your good counsel. Strengthen the hands of those who defend our holy land, grant them deliverance, and adorn them in a mantle of victory. Ordain peace in the land and grant its inhabitants eternal happiness.

Lead them, swiftly and upright, to Your city Zion and to Jerusalem, the abode of Your Name, as is written in the Torah of Your servant Moses: “Even if your outcasts are at the ends of the world, from there the Lord your God will gather you, from there He will fetch you. And the Lord your God will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will make you more prosperous and more numerous than your fathers.” Draw our hearts together to revere and venerate Your name and to observe all the precepts of Your Torah, and send us quickly the Messiah son of David, agent of Your vindication, to redeem those who await Your deliverance.

Manifest yourself in the splendor of Your boldness before the eyes of all inhabitants of Your world, and may everyone endowed with a soul affirm that the Lord, God of Israel, is king and his dominion is absolute. Amen forevermore.

I think not saying it is a big mistake. Just look at what it really says, especially the section I emphasized. The prayer was very carefully worded. It does not endorse the policies of the politicians leading the State of Israel. It has us asking Gd to bless those people with wisdom and the ability to follow Gd’s instructions. Yes, it asks Gd to take away Free Will from our leaders so they won’t make dangerous mistakes. And isn’t that what we really want?

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