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Friday, September 14, 2012

Prayer for Residents of Eretz Yisrael



This prayer, which appears in English and Hebrew on the inside front cover of To Dwell in The Palace, comes from Bigdei Yesha by Zadok Harofeh and was published in Jerusalem in 5648. Despite being published 125 years ago, when Israel was still ruled by Britain and before Theodor Herzl convened the First Zionist Congress, it's incredibly relevant to olim today.

I want to share the more-or-less verbatim translation that Tzvia Ehrlich-Klein published in To Dwell in the Palace. If you haven't read To Dwell in the Palace yet, or haven't read it recently, I highly recommend it. The whole book is one long aliyah pep talk.

Our God and God of our fathers, please help me to cherish Eretz Yisrael with all my heart, at all times, at every moment. Thus will I fulfill the mitzvah of settling Eretz Yisrael, as it is written, "And you shall dwell there..."

And may I be forever joyous in living here, filled with enthusiasm, like that of a child happy to be reunited with his mother. This is the way our father Avraham felt about being here, and I am, after all, one of his descendants. Bless me, please, with this quality, so that I may atone for all the sins and transgressions of my whole life; and even those of earlier existences, as in the wilderness, when I rejected the Land and caused grief for generations.

And may the move here and its difficulties be an atonement for my soul. May I dwell here until the coming of Moshiach, speedily in our days, and may I cling to You in happiness. May I be among those of whom it is said, "Who is like Your people Israel, one nation in the Land."

Bathe my spirit in the holy light of the heavenly Eretz Yisrael so that I may grow in sanctity until I merit seeing the glory of the Lord with all the people of Israel. May I merit living in this Land, immersed in Torah and Divine service, praying without the distractions of this world.

Enable me to do Your will with alacrity, without weakness or laziness, to embrace at least this one of the 613 mitzvot with great fervor. As our rabbis said, "Anyone who does even one mitzvah fully, benefits much, enjoys long life, and inherits the Land." And through this one mitzvah, will I merit all the others.

May I never have any need to leave the Land, all the days of my life - not I, nor my children, nor my children's children, forever. "For the Almighty will deliver Zion, rebuild the cities of Judah, and they will dwell in the Land and inherit it. The descendants of His servants will take over the Land, and those who love His name will live in it..."

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