BY RABBI ADIN EVEN-ISRAEL STEINSALTZ z”l.
Grant me the merit, my God, to love all of Your creatures. Grant me the merit to love every Jew without limit and reservation. Grant me the merit to discern, through my own flesh, that my Jewish brothers and sisters and I are “one soul, although our bodies are distinct from each other.” Imbue in my heart a spirit of greatness, so that I will not be trapped by the pettiness that may surround me, so that I will not be diminished by vain vexations, and so that my heart will not be distracted by those who act with iniquity. Grant me the merit to always remember that the trivialities of life and the evildoings in which my brethren, the children of Israel, are sometimes enmeshed, are a falsehood that is as fleeting as a shadow and that the good in their soul is true and everlasting.
Grant me the merit, my God, each and every day of my life, to fulfill the following verse, with mindfulness and passion: “I have set the Lord before me always” [Psalms 16:8]. And as the Ba’al Shem Tov explained, that the many transient events in my life are “all equal to me.” Whether I am disparaged or honored, whether I fail or succeed, whether I am in a state of happiness or – God forbid – in a state of sadness, I will always remember that, in every situation and in every circumstance, I am submerged in the Divine flow. Imbue in my heart the ability to perceive certainty within uncertainty, the straight path within the crooked paths, and beyond all these – the revelation of the Divine within myself and within the universe.
Grant me the merit, my God, to unite the quintessence of my soul with the quintessence of the Torah, the power of my intellect with the intellect of the Torah, and the ways of my life with the ways of the Torah. Instill in my mind the wisdom to comprehend the depths of the wisdom of Your Torah. Imbue in my heart the ability to sense, with all of my bones, how the Torah unites and integrates with the world. Grant me, my God, the fortitude to remove the imaginary partition between the Torah and the world. I will then contemplate Your Torah and see in it Your world; I will then contemplate Your world and see in it Your Torah.
Grant me the merit, my God, to never be anxious and afraid to savor Your world. Imbue in my heart the courage to relish every material and spiritual pleasure, until I have extracted from them the fullness of the Divine light that lies hidden within them. Strengthen and support me so that my feet do not stumble, and so that my state of mind remains clear and free of confusion, as I strive, with persistence, to become one and converge with the source of Your pleasures. Awake and fill my heart with immense joy, and unleash from within me the forces of life. Flood my innermost being with gentle streams of heavenly delights so that I love Your world. May the deep azure of the sky, the breeze of the spring, and the hiss of the green leaves, chant Divine melodies that tell the story of Your glory.
This prayer was composed by Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz zt”l at the approximate age of 20 years old. It was recently re-discovered among his many writings. Translated from the Hebrew by Rabbi Pinchas Allouche.