Prayer for the Government
By Ariel Scheib
The prayer for the government is a biblical prayer, and is read during the Saturday morning service on Shabbat. The concept of praying for the wellbeing of the government was started in 586 B.C.E. by the prophet Jeremiah after the first expulsion from Jerusalem. Seeing as the Jewish people could not govern themselves, they implored God to guide their foreign rulers. David Abudarham first introduced this prayer into the modern siddurim (prayer book) in the 14th century. Jews have adopted different prayers for the governments of the countries in which they live. The prayer is read aloud after the Torah reading, but before the Torah is placed back into the ark. This blessing asks God to guard the proceedings of the government and the nation’s leaders.
Source: Eisenberg, Ronald L. The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions. PA: Jewish Publication Society, 2004; "Praying the Welfare of the State of Israel"