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The convergence of politics and prayer: Jewish prayers for the government and the state of IsraelJoel Rappel
This study focuses on two prayers found in the Jewish prayer book, considering the sources, history, content, acceptance, and changes in each of these prayers. While there are certain similarities between the two prayers, the difference between the two is profound. The "Prayer for the Welfare of the Government" is a prayer for the personal wellbeing of the king and the welfare of his government; it serves as a positive expression of Jewish loyalty to non-Jewish rulers. The "Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel" requests peace and blessing for the inhabitants of the Land of Israel, its leaders, and soldiers, and expresses hope for and belief in the complete ingathering of the exiles in the Land of Israel. This study posits that the suggestion to "Pray for the welfare of the kingdom" is rooted in the principle that prayer has replaced the sacrifices. Historical study reveals the earliest texts of Jewish prayers for the government and the origin of the present text of "Ha-Noten Teshuah." The reasons for the recital of the prayer are analyzed through historical evidence, Halakhic decisions, and exegesis of the prayer's sources. Most of these reasons are not relevant to the Tefillah le-Shlom ha-Medinah. The sources of this prayer are biblical phrases and excerpts from the prayer book; the prayer is not an original composition. Careful analysis of its contents reveals that the phrases recall messianic concepts of the redemption. This study proves that the Tefillah le-Shlom ha-Medinah continues to lack a set text and that the changes that have been made to it have been mostly ideological-political and not aesthetic. The fact that Chief Rabbis Herzog and Uziel composed the prayer is unequivocally demonstrated. The two prayers are very political, and have not yet been the subjects of in depth and extensive research. This study is groundbreaking in its analysis of the connection between the two prayers, their history and early texts, the messianic meaning of the Tefillah le-Shlom ha-Medinah, the acceptance of this prayer, and alternative prayers intended to change its content and meaning.
Philosophy, religion and theology; Social sciences; Bible; Government; Israel; Jewish; Prayer; State of Israel; Welfare of government; Religion; Middle Eastern history; Theology; 0333:Middle Eastern history; 0469:Theology; 0318:Religion
E. M. Wiesel, Andrew W.
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