Translation and Background: HaRav Mordechai Eliyahus Personal Prayer


Justice4JP Release June 18, 2010


May be reprinted, unedited and uncut, with full attribution to J4JP authors and translators.


Preface and Background


By Jonathan and Esther Pollard


Just 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.


HaRav 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.


The prayer 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.


Throughout 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.


The Rav 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 accord.


Moreover 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.


We have 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.


This prayer 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!



Personal Prayer of HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu ztl


Translated to English by Jonathan and Esther Pollard


Note: Hebrew Text follows the English below. See original hand-written copy in Hebrew.


Master 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.


His 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.


But 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 hears prayer.


I 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.


Endow 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.


May we 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.



Hebrew Text of HaRav Eliyahus Prayer



"ריבונו של עולם, גלוי וידוע לפניך שלא על דעתי עמדתי לשרת עם קדושיך, לדון ולהורות. ידעתי מיעוט ערכי - מך שבערכין. לא ביקשתי נפלאות ממני, אך כך הורו לי רבותיי וכך גלגלת כל הגלגולים, וסיבבת כל הסיבות. הקימות מעפר דל ותעש לי שם כשם הגדולים. גזרה חוכמתו, יתברך ויתעלה שמו, לשרת עם קודש, להורות ולדון, ועל הכל יתברך שמו ויתעלה.


"אך רעדה אחזתני, יראה ורעד יבוא בי, על הסכנה הנוראה העומדת עליי, ופי תהום הפעור לנגדי וברעות נפשי לקטלא נפיק. אנא אפנה לעזרה ואנא אברח. אבל בטחתי ברוב חסדך ומפיל תחינתי לפניך כי אתה שומע תפילה. אנא השם, אלוהי הרוחות, חוס ורחם על כל יושבי כיסאות למשפט, ובפרט עלי, אני עבדך בן אמתך, מרדכי בן מזל. רחם עליי ותן לי לב שומע ודעת להבין לשפוט את עמך.


"חוננו חוכמה בינה דעת והשכל. שלא נאמר על טהור - טמא, ועל טמא - טהור, על מותר - אסור, ועל אסור - מותר. על זכאי - חייב, ועל חייב - זכאי. ותצילנו מכל שגיאות וטעויות, ויהא ליבי חזק, ואיתן להוכיח כל עושי עוול ולהציל עשוק מיד עושקו. ואל ישיאנו יצרנו להעלים עין, חס וחלילה, ותזכנו לגדור פרצות ולהתקין תקנות ולהרביץ תורה, שיהא שם שמיים מתקדש על ידינו. ותהא אימתנו מוטלת על הבריות ותורתנו חקוקה בלבם ונתרחק מן הגאווה והכעס והקפדנות. ותאזרנו חיל לסבול את עמך. גל עיניי ואביטה נפלאות מתורתיך".



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