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25 May 2017

A Prayer for One’s Children by the Holy Shelah

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A New Translation of a Seasoned Prayer for One’s Children to be Said on the Eve of the New Moon of Sivan

This prayer was composed by the Shelah Hakadosh to express the prayers of parents on behalf of their children. The Shelah said the optimal time for parents to recite this prayer is on the eve of the new moon of the month of Sivan for that is the month G-d gave us the Torah. On that day, parents should give additional charity, introspect and return to G-d. However it may be recited at any time. (The holy Shelah Hakadosh left Europe in the 17th century and made his home in the Holy Land, becoming chief Rabbi of Jerusalem.)

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Mendy with EsrogYou were our G-d even prior to creating the world. You have been our G-d since you created the world. You are our G-d forever. You created your world so that we could come to know your Divinity through your holy Torah. Our sages explained this idea in their commentary on the first word of the Torah.[1] You gave this knowledge to Israel for they are your people, the inheritance You have chosen from among all nations. You gave them your holy Torah and drew them toward your great Name.

In order to sustain the world and the Torah, You have given us two commandments. They are, “Be fruitful and multiply” and “You shall teach them to your children.” They have one common purpose: You did not create the world to be empty and chaotic but rather to be inhabited and settled. You created, fashioned, and perfected the world for your glory – the ultimate purpose of which is that we and our offspring and descendants know You and your Torah.

It is on this basis that I approach you, King of kings. I open my heart in an emotional request of you. My eyes will remain fixed on You until You favor me. Hear my prayer and provide me with sons and daughters. May they too be fruitful and multiply, and so too their descendants throughout all generations. The purpose of all this – the lives that will be born – being that they and we might all engage in the study of Your holy Torah, to learn and teach, observe, do, and fulfill all the teachings of Your Torah through love. Enlighten our eyes in Your Torah and attach our hearts to your commandments so that we come to love and respect your Name.

Our compassionate Father, grant us all a long and blessed life. Who is like You, compassionate Father, Who compassionately remembers His creatures for life? Remember us for eternal life, as our Forefather Avraham prayed, “If only Yishmael would live before You.” The Sages interpreted this to mean, “If only he would live in reverence of You.”

Mendy_WinterFor this I have come to appeal and plead before You – that my offspring and their descendants be whole and proper and that You never find imperfection or disrepute in me or them. May they be people of peace, truth, goodness and integrity in the eyes of both G-d and man. Help them to become practiced in Torah, accomplished in Scriptures, Mishnah, Talmud, Kabbalah, mitzvot, kindness, and good attributes, and to serve you not merely outwardly but with an inner love and reverence. Provide every one of them with their needs in an honorable way. Give them health, honor and strength, good bearing and appearance, grace and loving-kindness. Let there be love and brotherhood between them. Provide them with suitable marriage partners of scholarly and righteous parentage who will also be blessed with all that I have asked for my own descendants, since they will share the same fate.

G-d You know everything that is concealed. All my heart’s secrets are revealed to You. You know that my entire intention concerning the above is for the sake of Your great and holy Name and for your Torah. So please G-d answer me. Answer me in the merit of our holy Forefathers Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya’akov. Save the children for the sake of the fathers so that the branches will be like the roots. Do it also for the sake of David your servant who is the fourth part of Your Chariot and who sings with Divine inspiration.

“A song of ascents: Everyone who fears G-d and walks in His ways is fortunate. You are fortunate when you eat of the effort of your hands, and good will be yours. Your wife is like a fruitful vine in the inner chambers of your home; your children are like olive shoots around your table. Look! In this way the man who fears G-d is blessed. May G-d bless you from Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life. May you see your children’s children. Peace upon Israel. Please G-d, hear my prayer. May the following verse be fulfilled in me:
‘As for Me,’ says G-d, ‘this covenant of mine shall remain their very being. My spirit – which rests upon you, and My words – which I have placed in your mouth, shall not depart from your mouth nor from the mouths of your children, nor from the mouths of your children’s children.’ So says G-d, ‘From now to all Eternity.’
May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing before You, G-d my Rock and my Redeemer.” [2]

[1] The first word of the Torah is Bereishit meaning “in the beginning.” It contains the root word rosh or “head.” In two separate verses, both the Torah and the Jewish people are referred to as being a “head” of sorts. Thus the rabbis understand the opening word of the Torah as alluding to the interplay between these three “heads.” Namely the Jewish people (both withing themselves and through shining a light for and thereby serving humanity) must perfect the world through the light of Torah.

[2] Psalm 128

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