web analytics
April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Prayers For The Government


Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha

Share Button

Question: Is it proper to recite prayers for a non-Jewish government during davening?

Answer: It is interesting to note that the following Talmudic story clearly indicates that prayers for the safety and success of one’s government is an ancient custom and was practiced in the beit hamikdash. If prayers for the government were recited in the beit hamikdash, they may certainly be recited nowadays in shuls.

The Talmud relates that that the Samaritans received permission from Alexander the Great to destroy the beit hamikdash based upon their claim that the Jews sought to rebel against the king. Shimon HaTzaddik, the kohen gadol, heard of this false charge and made plans to personally meet with King Alexander in order to rescind this horrible decree.

Shimon HaTzaddik robed himself with his priestly garments and set out to meet the king. Traveling on either side of him throughout the night were nobles of Jerusalem carrying torches in their hands. At daylight, the procession approached the king’s camp. “Who are these people?” Alexander called out. The Samaritans responded that they were the Jews who are rebelling against the king.

As the sun began to shine, Alexander noted the figure of Shimon HaTzaddik. In reverence, the king dismounted and bowed before him. He explained that prior to every battle, the image of this old bearded man in white appeared before him and served as a lucky symbol that won all his battles for him.

Alexander called out to the Jews, “Why have you come?” The Jews responded, “How is it possible that star worshipers should mislead you to destroy the house [the beit hamikdash] wherein prayers are said for you and for your kingdom that it never be destroyed?” Upon hearing this, Alexander recognized that the Jews were not rebelling against him and delivered the Samaritans into the hands of the Jews to be punished (Yoma 69a)

Commenting on this Gemara, the Maharsha notes that that the proof that the Jews were not rebelling was the fact that they regularly prayed on behalf of the government’s welfare. One does not pray for the success of a government that one seeks to rebel against and destroy. The fact that Jews constantly prayed for the success of the government proved their loyalty.

As such, from the time of Shimon HaTzaddik to the present, the tradition is to publicly pray for the government during synagogue services. Jews are constantly open to charges of disloyalty – that’s the nature of our enemies. Prayers for the government are our historical refutation of such slander. The maxim of Pirke Avot to “pray for the welfare of the government” is not only directed to individuals, but to communities in their places of worship.

Share Button

About the Author: Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, is the author of eight sefarim on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer the Right Way” (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and select Judaica stores.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

Leave a comment (Select your commenting platform)

One Response to “Prayers For The Government”

  1. Hadar Israel says:

    The distinguished rabbi should have probably been less superficial and developed the issue a bit…
    Why not mentioning, for instance, that there might be some problems and the issue is not at all so clear-cut? throughout the 1930's, at least until Kristallnacht, German synagogues had their heads so deeply buried inside their own backside that they were actually praying for Hitler יש"ו?
    Does he think that one should bless murderers of Jews? Antisemites? 'Amaleq?
    Where does boot-licking hypocrisy end?

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Loading Facebook Comments ...
Loading Disqus Comments ...
Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Judaism Stories
Reiss-041814-King

Amazingly, each and every blade was green and moist as if it was just freshly cut.

PTI-041814

All the commentaries ask why Hashem focuses on the Exodus as opposed to saying, “I am Hashem who created the entire world.”

Leff-041814

Someone who focuses only on the bones of the Torah makes his bones dry and passionless.

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

The tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries.

“Who is wise? One who learns from each person” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

In Judaism, to be without questions is a sign not of faith, but of lack of depth.

“I’ll try to help as we can,” said Mr. Goodman, “but we already made a special appeal this year. Let me see what other funds we have. I’ll be in touch with you in a day or two.”

Rashi is bothered by the expression Hashem used: “the Jews need only travel.”

Reckoning Time
‘Three Festivals, Even Out Of Order’
(Beizah 19b)

Two husbands were there to instruct us in Texas hold ‘em – and we needed them.

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

A few background principles regarding the prohibitions of chametz mixtures on Pesach may provide some shopping guidance.

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

More Articles from Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen
Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha-NEW

Question: Have any “right wing” gedolei yisrael discussed the positive religious nature of Medinat Yisrael?

Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha-NEW

Question: Why do Jews eat fish on Shabbat?

Question: Should a Sefer Torah be covered between aliyot?

Question: In the Amidah, the phrase “Mashiv HaRuach” concludes in some siddurim with the words “umorid ha’geshem” (with a segol under the gimmel) and in other siddurim with the words “umorid ha’gashem” (with a kamatz under the gimmel). What is the practical difference between these two readings?

Question: When performing a mitzvah, what is more important: doing it right away – “zerizim” – or doing it with a large crowd – “berov am”?

Question: When performing a mitzvah, what is more important: doing it right away – “zerizim” – or doing it with a large crowd – “berov am”?

Question: How much time may lapse between Kiddush and the meal?

Question: Do Jews pray for Jewish political independence?

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/prayers-for-the-government/2013/01/31/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: