Monday, March 26, 2007

The prayer for Napoleon

This is a prayer recited in French and Italian shuls on behalf of "Our master, the king and Emperor, Napoleon." You can find the full English translation here. Scroll for the other 3 Hebrew pages.

It's my blog, so I'll tell you what I though as I read the prayer. I thought about how environmentalists are always telling us that corporate agriculture is ruining the gene pool. As the growers select for certain characteristics over others, we lose genetic diversity. It's a real worry for people who care about such things. (and of course there are good reasons why all of us should also be concerned.)

When I read the prayer for Napoleon, I thought to myself that the Jewish gene that made it possible for Orthodox Jews to write and accept as legitimate these types of prayers is now extinct. It died in the Holocaust.

Sidebar: The language of the prayer is amazing. Its an outpouring of appreciation for Napoleon, and his regime. Reading the prayer, you can easily imagine what life was like in the church-enforced ghettos of France and Italy before Napoleon came, if this was the Jewish response.

I imagine others have already blogged about the Napoleon prayer. Send me links to your posts, and I'll add them here

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