Voting booth t’filot

There has been much heming and hawing across the Jewish blogosphere about prayers to be said at the voting booth. It may seem an odd notion to Americans, so dead set are we on seperation of religion and government. Yet it is a classically Jewish thing to do to sanctify a seemingly mundane act by reciting a prayer.

Some have composed, as the links above show, special voting booth prayers, drawing cleverly on a variety of textual sources about government and wisdom and the like. Yet, I would like to suggest a simpler and briefer alternative.

If we open up our sidurim, we will find in the weekday Amidah the following prayer:

Hashiveinu shofteinu kvarishonah, v’yo’atzeinu kvat’chilah, v’haser mimenu yagon va’anachah, umloch aleinu atah Adonai l’vadcha b’cheser uvrachamim, v’tzadkeinu bamishpat. Baruch atah Adonai, Melech ohev tz’dakah umishpat.

Meaning:

Restore our judges as in the past and our officials as they were, remove from us sorrow and groan, and reign over us. You, Adonai, alone with kindness and compassion and justify us through judgement. Blessed are you, Adonai, a ruler who loves righteousness and justice.

This prayer seems to me a catch-all prayer for God to guide our elected officials on a path of justice, which is the best we can hope for from them.

So go vote tomorrow, if you haven’t already.

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