Sunday, September 18, 2005

Revising the Prayers on Behalf of Israel and the IDF

In Shul this past Shabbat I noticed that that when the prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel, as well as the prayer for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was recited, there were changes made to the text of each of the prayers.

From the Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel:
Our Father Who are in Heaven, Protector and Redeemer of Israel, bless Thou the State of Israel which marks the dawn of our deliverance. Shield it beneath the wings of Thy love; Spread over it Thy canopy of peace; Place at her head able men, those that fear G-d, men of truth, who hate unjust gain.

(This is in place of: "send Thy light and Thy truth to its leaders, officers, and counselors, and direct them with Thy good counsel").

From the Prayer for the IDF:
May the Almighty cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighters from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in all their missions against our enemies...

(This is in place of: "and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor".)

These changes were proposed, by among others, Rabbi Zalman Melamed, Shlita, of Beit El.

Rabbi Ya'akov Ariel, Chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan, also expressed his views on the matter.
The prayer for the welfare of the state should continue to be recited, "even more fervently," with added emphasis on granting ministers and advisors sound advice "and even add a supplication to grant them more merciful hearts and more humane attitudes."

"I recommend that the prayer for the well being of IDF soldiers omit the clause, '...and send blessing and success in all the work of their hands.' Not all of the hands of the IDF's soldiers are worthy of blessing and success - only those that fight against our external enemies,"

Personally, I don't have a problem with either change. I imagine that when these prayers were instituted by Israel's Chief Rabbinate, that this was their original intention, and it is only now it has been decided that these ideas must be clearly expressed.

I think that the State of Israel would be a much better place (and more Jewish State) if we had leadership that was G-d fearing and honest (not that the two are mutually exclusive). As for the Prayer for the IDF, I do not wish them any success in throwing Jews out of their homes, or in any other actions against the Jewish People - that is not why they exist. For more on this idea, see what Rabbi Melamed has to say).


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