Since our exile from the Land of Israel, Jews pray for the peace of their host governments.
It is the legacy of the prophet, Jeremiah, who forewarned the Jews of Israel that if they continue in their rebellious ways, they will lose the Temple and the privilege of living in the Land. As we know, they did not heed his cry, and that is why we are scattered to the four corners of the earth.
Instead of rightfully proclaiming, “I told you so,” the wise prophet sends a letter of instruction to the Jews now dwelling in foreign lands, within it he makes three demands:
1) build homes and plant gardens,
2) marry, have children and multiply, and
3) pray for the welfare of the foreign government in which you live so that you may have peace.
Jeremiah was preparing them for the long haul, as he knew that return would not be imminent. They needed strength and hope to survive and thrive, and then he implores them to never, ever give up on the dream of return:
And you shall call upon Me, and go, and pray unto Me… and I will turn your captivity, and gather you from all the nations, and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord; and I will bring you back….
Jeremiah, Megillat Eicha 12-14 (read on Tisha Ba’av)
Yes, we live in the four corners of the earth, and while we are there, we need to make homes and families, and not only must we must pray for the peace of our host governments, we must also pray to The Almighty that we will once again return, both spiritually and physically. For we may be Americans, Canadians, Argentinians, Ukrainians, and Greeks… but first and foremost, we are Jews.
May we see peace in all lands, and in all governments, very soon.