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Tefilla for Government

Question:
Kvod HoRav Shlite,

It is clear from different psukim, from the mishna in oves, from gemores, from rishonim and acharonim amongst them gedole haposkim (chatam sofer, aruch hashulchan…) that a tfille for the prayer for the welfare of the government is to be said. Why do not we follow we this old tradition nowadays? Would it be proper to reintroduce it?

Answer:

While it is certainly fitting to pray for the welfare of the government, the question of instituting it as a part of the siddur is a different issue. There are a number of things in the siddur that seem to us no longer applicable, most notably the tefilla of Yekum Purkan on Shabbos which includes a prayer for the Reish Galusa of Bavel. That tefilla was also instituted in Aramaic to be easily understood by the masses. Today when most do not understand this language we still don’t change the accepted nusach. This is an indication that our siddur has been “sanctified” so to speak, and for about 500 years we are careful not to make any additions or subtractions. For this reason, we also never instituted a special tefilla for Roshei Yeshivos, Admorim etc. even though certainly everyone prays for their spiritual leaders. One reason we are so careful in this matter, is probably due to the many attempts over the generations to change, distort and erase parts of our Mesores and specifically by changing the siddur.

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