March 12

In Retrospect: The “Sabbath Prayer” in “Fiddler on the Roof”

Traditionally, the Sabbath Prayer from the film is recited on Friday evenings. Several blessings were mentioned. They are as follows:

The first verse implores for God’s protection and defense over his people. Additionally, it’s a prayer to not stray from one’s Jewish roots.

The second verse is a blessing for daughters to be like the matriarchs of Israel. Particularly mentioned were Ruth and Esther. Both were meek and submissive to Yahweh.

The third verse is a blessing for longevity and the strengthening of families. Hence, the prayer for “good wives” and “husbands.”

Last verse is an appeal to God’s enduring favor and bestowing of happiness.

Here’s the prayer in full length:

Music by Jerrold Lewis “Jerry” Bock(1928-201o), Lyrics by – Sheldon Harnick (1924)

May the Lord protect and defend you/May He always shield you from shame./May you come to be In Israel a shining name/May you be like Ruth and like Esther/May you be deserving of praise.
Strengthen them, Oh Lord, And keep them from the strangers’ ways.

 May God bless you and grant you long lives./May the Lord fulfill our Sabbath prayer for you./May  God make you good mothers and wives/May He send you husbands who will care for you/May the Lord protect and defend you./May the Lord preserve you from pain.
Favor them, Oh Lord, with happiness and peace.
Oh, hear our Sabbath prayer. Amen 

“Sabbath Prayer” from “Fiddlers on the Roof”

Since its debut in 1964 as a musical, “Fiddler on the Roof” has appealed to a wide array of the audience regardless of nationality and religion. By 1971, Norman Jewison produced and released a film adaptation for “Fiddler’s.” It was highly praised and a major success! Hence, it bagged three Academy Awards and earned millions in profit.

Trivia: Japanese were fond of this movie. Book writer Joseph Stein was even approached by a Japanese producer asking if the show was understood in America. Stein replied that it was written for America. The producer said that the concept was “so Japanese.”

That exchange just proves that before God, we’re just one race – the human race. We were all cast from his image. Hence, there should be no room for racism.

We love to hear your thoughts on musical films we feature. How has “Fiddler’s” influenced your perspective on faith and love for country? Feel free to share them with us.


fiddler on the roof, film, gospel, sabbath

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