A Prayer Before Voting

My mother sent this to me — here it is posted on neohasid.org. It was written by Rabbi David Seidenberg (Reb Duvid). It’s a lovely little prayer — here’s part of how he explains it:

This prayer is based in part on the custom of making a pledge to give tsedakah, charity, on the occasion of going up to the Torah. You, the reader, are invited to add your pledge to do a good deed on the occasion of “going up” to the voting booth.

What a lovely parallel: Going up to the Torah / Going up to the voting booth. My 8th and 9th graders and I just explored some of the similarities: The significance of doing each one for the first time (now a full, adult, thinking member of the community); the idea that what I’m doing here matters even though it’s just one person (voting/being part of a minyan — without the  minyan you can’t read Torah); the fact that you can do it with relatively little preparation but doing some research/practice first allows you to do the mitzvah in a better way; even the fact that in both cases you present yourself and are identified by name.

By incorporating a quotation from Jeremiah, the prayer firmly roots in Jewish tradition the responsibility to make the place where you live a good place:

Seek the peace of the city where I have sent you and pray for its sake to the Eternal, for in its peace you will have peace. (Jeremiah 29:7)