and Background: HaRav Mordechai Eliyahus Personal Prayer
Release June 18, 2010
May be reprinted, unedited and uncut, with full attribution
to J4JP authors and translators.
Jonathan and Esther Pollard
shortly after his departure from this world on 25 Sivan 5770, HaRav Mordechai
Eliyahus sons discovered a very old piece of stationery neatly folded-up and
tucked into the Ravs wallet. They were amazed when they opened the paper to
see a prayer in the Ravs own handwriting which had
been composed 53 years ago! The Rav had written this prayer for himself on the
occasion of his appointment as a Dayan.
Mordechai Eliyahu ztl was just 28 years old when he was appointed as the
youngest Dayan (rabbinic judge) in Israel and began serving on the
Beit Din in Beersheva. He so distinguished himself in his first appointment as
a Dayan that within a very short time he was elected to Israels Supreme (Religious) Court.
Upon his appointment
as a Dayan, the young Mordechai Eliyahu marked the occasion by writing this
personal prayer. He did not share the prayer with anyone but the Living G-d of Israel. Not
even his beloved wife knew of its existence until after his passing.
is a perfect reflection of the Ravs overwhelming humility, honesty and his G-d
fearing approach to life. He kept it in his wallet for 53 years as a daily
reminder to himself of his devotion to truth and justice and of his commitment
to HaShem, Torah and the Jewish People.
his life, whether in writing or in speech, HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu did not
waste words. There was a reason for the Ravs economy with words. It was not
due to any kind of reticence. On the contrary, the Rav was able to express the
full range of his thoughts and emotions with both precision and economy because
he spoke only truth.
never exaggerated, never made excuses, never embellished the truth, never
employed flattery, never stretched the truth, and never used evasions. Indeed,
if all one speaks is truth, the unnecessary verbiage disappears of its own
the Ravs teachings like his sterling characterwere stable and continuous.
They had no tense neither past nor present nor future. His teachings were
always for here and now, and they continue to be.
translated the Ravs 53-year-old personal prayer to English to afford a much
wider sector of the Jewish People the opportunity to read it. Clearly, reading
the original Hebrew is preferable, but in the event that is not possible this
translation is the next best option.
is an ethical will that the Rav bequeathed as final gift to Am Yisrael. This is
who the Rav was. This is what he aspired to in his most private moments. This
is the model he left us a paradigm of lofty Torah standards that Kavod HaRav
Mordechai Eliyahu, ztl embodied. May his memory be forever a blessing to Am
Yisrael! May the Rav continue to shine his light upon us from the Beit Din shel
Malah. In the merit of HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu, ztl, may all of Am Yisrael
merit to do tshuva shleimah towards a geula shleimah bimhayra! Amain!
Prayer of HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu ztl
to English by Jonathan and Esther Pollard
Note: Hebrew Text follows the English
below. See original hand-written copy in Hebrew.
of the World, it is revealed and known before your Throne of Glory that it was
not of my own volition that I was appointed to serve your Holy Nation, to judge
and to teach. I knew the insignificance of my own worth the least worthy of
the unworthy. I never asked wonders of myself, but my Rabbis have thus
appointed me. You have accordingly caused events to unfold as they should and reasons
to be created. You raised me up from the dust heap and made for me a name like
the name of the great rabbis.
Wisdom has decreed it be so, may His Name be blessed and exalted, to serve the
Holy Nation, to teach and to judge, and for all these things, may His Name be
blessed and exalted.
trembling has taken hold of me, fear and tremors overtake me because of the
terrible danger that threatens me (because of this enormous responsibility that
I have taken on as a Dayan); and the gaping abyss looms before me. Of my own
free will, I have placed myself in mortal danger. Wither shall I turn for help
and wither shall I flee? But I shall rely upon Your
loving-kindness and pour out my soul in prayer, because You are the One who
beseech You, Hashem, G-d of Souls, take pity and have mercy upon all
those who sit upon the bench in judgment, and in particular upon me, your
servant, son of your handmaiden, Mordechai ben Mazal. Have mercy upon me and
bestow upon me a heart that hears and knows and understands in order to judge Your nation.
us graciously with wisdom, insight, knowledge and discernment. That we should not declare the pure to be impure; nor the impure to
be pure; nor forbid the permitted, nor permit the forbidden. Nor declare
the innocent, guilty; nor the guilty, innocent. Please spare us from all
errors and mistakes, and may my heart be strong, that I may reprove the
wrong-doer and save the oppressed from his oppressor.
never be tempted to turn a blind eye, Heaven forbid, and may we merit to close
loopholes, to enact proper ordinances, and to disseminate Torah, so that
Heavens Name be sanctified at our hands. May our fear be upon the People and
our Torah engraved in their hearts and may we ever distance ourselves from
pride, anger and pedantry. And help us to have the strength to bear the weight
of Your Nation. Uncover my eyes that I may behold wonders from Your Torah.
Text of HaRav Eliyahus Prayer
של עולם, גלוי
שלא על דעתי עמדתי
ערכי - מך
אך כך הורו לי
דל ותעש לי שם
שמו, לשרת עם
הכל יתברך שמו
ורעד יבוא בי,
על הסכנה הנוראה
לעזרה ואנא אברח.
לפניך כי אתה
שומע תפילה. אנא
ורחם על כל
עלי, אני עבדך
בן אמתך, מרדכי
בן מזל. רחם
עליי ותן לי
לב שומע ודעת
שלא נאמר על
טהור - טמא, ועל
טמא - טהור, על
מותר - אסור,
ועל אסור - מותר.
על זכאי - חייב,
ועל חייב -
כל עושי עוול
שיהא שם שמיים
לסבול את עמך.
גל עיניי ואביטה