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    Praying for non-Jews on Rosh HaShanah – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. On Rosh HaShanah do we pray for Christians and Muslims as well as ourselves?

    shofar rosh hashanah pray daven synagogueA. We pray for them all, even without mentioning them by name.

    The prayer book says, “Our God and God of our fathers, reign in Your glory over the whole universe,” which covers the whole of Creation and all the peoples of the world.

    In relation to the three Abrahamic faiths, Rabbi Chama bar Chanina says in the Midrash, “Abraham communed with himself and said, ‘If I bless Isaac, then the children of Ishmael and K’turah, who are also my children, will be included in the blessing. If I do not bless the children of Ishmael and K’turah, how can I bless Isaac? I will pray for all my children and the outcome will rest with God, who will do His will in His world'” (Gen. R. 61:6).

    What about the non-Abrahamists, who do not accept monotheistic principles?

    The prayer book again has an answer: “We hope in You O Lord our God… May they all accept the yoke of Your kingdom”.

    This passage, which today concludes every service we have, not only enshrines a messianic but a universalistic vision.

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