Sunday, February 16, 2014

A Jewish Blessing for King Hussein Kamel of Egypt and for George V of United Kingdom

Many Jewish Prayerbooks, especially 19th century European Ones, contain a prayer for the welfare of the King, traditionally set during the opening of the ark during Shabbat prayers. There has been many a discussion about when exactly the German Jews stopped reciting this prayer, after Hitler's rise to power, with some synagogues apparently continuing this practice until Kristallnacht. I recently found such a prayer, with an interesting combination of names and in an unusual setting.

This prayer was printed on the page preceding the title page of the Mesillat Yesharim printed in Alexandria in 1915, not in a prayerbook of any sort. Apparently, the publisher of this book, wanted to go out of his way to show his support for the new King, King Hussein Kamel of Egypt. Alongside King Hussein is mentioned George V, King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India. King Hussein was appointed by the British as the newly created Sultanate of Egypt.

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