The prayer for the welfare of the king or ruler is ancient. Many point to the statements of Ezra as well as the passage in Avot as early sources for the prayer...Rabbenu Yonah interprets the need for these prayers as indicative of a Universalist worldview, which requires all humans to display empathy for one another...R. Azariah di Rossi, claims that the prayer carries a pacifist message as he emphasizes the lack of allegiance to a specific ruler or country and thereby transforms the prayer into one arguing for peace among all nations.The earliest extant prayers are from the Geniza, and can be dated to between 1127 and 1131. The prayer is for the “Fatimid caliph al-Amir bi-ahkam Allah who ruled Egypt and its regions during the years 1101-1131...In this instance, the prayer includes not only a prayer for the secular ruler, but also a prayer for the local Rosh HaYeshiva...Goiten posits that these prayers may have been written in response to specific historical events and may not be indicative of the general practice in 12th century Egypt....early on there was a lack of conformity regarding this prayer. Kol Bo records the custom but indicates that each community had its own practices. But, none used the HaNoten Teshua formulation. The first extant example of HaNoten Teshua is found in a Spanish manuscript dated between 1479-92. Ironically, this example was prepared for King Ferdinand V, who, in 1492, issued the expulsion order...
Okay, we prayed
He who blessed Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…May He bless, guard, protect and help our Lord King Don Ferando…May the King of Kings put in his heart and in the heart of all his advisors mercy, to do good to us and to the entire House of Israel…and let us say Amen.
And in America, we started early in 1848/9, with a different text:
Master of the Universe. Lord of all Works. Who extends peace like a river, and like a rapid stream the glory of nations. Look down from Your holy dwelling and bless this land, the United states of America, whereon we dwell. Let not violence be heard in their land, wasting and destruction within their boundaries, but You shall call its walls "Salvation" and its gates "Praise." Grant them rains in due season, so that the earth shall yield her products and the tree of the field shall yield its fruit, and grant peace, goodness and a blessing on all the inhabitants of the land, that they may lie down with none to make them afraid8 . And among the nations shall their seed be known, and their offspring in the midst of the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, for You hath blessed them. Amen.
Pour down the bounty of Your goodness upon the President, and the Vice President of the United States, that their prosperity be like a river, their triumph like the waves of the sea. In their days may kindness and truth meet together, righteousness and peace kiss one another...
What are we praying today?