web analytics
October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Prayers For The Government


Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha

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.

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

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

Current Top Story
An IAF BOEING 707 fueling three F-15 aircraft in flight, facilitating long-range missions, such as those being planned against Iranian nuclear sites.
News for Israel: Boeing Sells Data, Drawings to Iran
Latest Judaism Stories
The-Shmuz

Strict din demands perfection. There is no room for shortcomings and no place for excuses; you are responsible.

Lessons-in-Emunah-new

Surprisingly, my husband and one son arrived home over half-an-hour earlier than usual. I excitedly shared my perfect-timing story, but my better half one upped me easily.

Business-Halacha-logo

Noach felt a tug, and then heard a rip. His jacket had been caught on the nail, and the beautiful suit had a tear.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

Noah and his wife could not fathom living together as husband and wife and continuing the human race

The Babel story is the 2nd in a 4-act drama that’s unmistakably a connecting thread of Bereishit

Our intentions are critical in raising children because they mimic everything we parents do & think

A humble person who achieves a position of prominence will utilize the standing to benefit others.

Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.

The creation of the world is described twice. Each description serves a unique purpose.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

To the surprise of our protectzia-invested acquaintances, my family has thrived in our daled amos without that amenity, b’ezras Hashem.

Shimon started adjusting the branches on the roof. In doing so, a branch fell off the other side of the car and hit the side-view mirror, cracking it.

I, the one who is housed inside this body, am completely and utterly spiritual.

Should we sit in the sukkah on a day that may be the eighth day when we are not commanded to sit in the sukkah at all?

For Appearance’s Sake
‘Shammai Did Not Follow Their Own Ruling’
(Yevamos 13b 14a)

More Articles from Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen
Cohen-080814-Sign

Is God apologizing for taking away my Father? Is God telling me that He is sorry?

Cohen-Rabbi-J-Simcha-NEW

Question: At Birkat Kohanim, who says the phrase, “Am k’doshecha ka’amur”?

Question: How can one determine whether someone is a true disciple of a rav, Rebbe, or rosh yeshiva?

Question: Does halacha agree with the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade permitting women to have abortions?

Question: When someone puts on a talit to lead services, should he recite a berachah?

Question: A number of synagogues feature bar mitzvah celebrations for elderly Jews. Is this proper?

Hashem understood their complaint and therefore selected the ritual mitzvah of sukkah to test them.

Question: Why is Shavuot celebrated as a two-day Yom Tov?

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: