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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Rachel S. Mikva on 8 March 1995

https://opensiddur.org/?p=31908 Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Rachel S. Mikva on 8 March 1995 2020-06-08 20:53:00 The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 8 March 1995. Text the Open Siddur Project United States Congressional Record United States Congressional Record Rachel Mikva https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ United States Congressional Record https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/105 Opening Prayers for Legislative Bodies 20th century C.E. תחינות teḥinot 58th century A.M. English vernacular prayer United States of America House of Representatives Prayers of Guest Chaplains 104th Congress
Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Rachel S. Mikva, Congregation Hakafa, Glencoe, IL
Sponsor: Rep. John Porter (D-IL)
Date of Prayer: 03/08/1995

One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain:

Mr. PORTER. Mr. Speaker, I have the great pleasure today of welcoming to the House Chamber Rabbi Rachel Mikva of Temple Hakafa who graciously began our session this morning with her opening prayer. It is an honor to welcome Rabbi Mikva to Washington and to the House of Representatives, and the wonderful words she shared with us today reflect the strong leadership she provides to the people of her congregation in Glencoe, IL.

But my connection with Rabbi Mikva goes far beyond the fact that her synagogue is located in my congressional district. Her farther, Abner Mikva, is well known to all of us in this Chamber for his distinguished service as a judge and later as chief judge for the Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, a position to which he was appointed by President Jimmy Carter. After many years of outstanding work as a jurist, Ab agreed last year to leave the bench to serve in his current office in the White House as counsel to the President.

What newer Members may not know is that Ab Mikva once represented the 10th District of Illinois. And in 1978, I challenged him for the seat. Our campaign that year was heated and energetic and was a race of ideas and respectful debate in the greatest tradition of American politics.

The victor of the campaign was not known on election evening. And when we awoke the morning after, Ab had retained his seat by a margin of 650 votes. Rachel at that time was 18 years of age, and one can expect that with her hard work for her father perhaps she provided enough of her fellow 18-year-old votes to win so close an election. Shortly thereafter, Ab was appointed to the bench by President Carter, and I ran successfully in the special election that followed to succeed him and represent the wonderful people of the 10th District here in Washington.

We have remained good friends over the years, and it is a pleasure to welcome him here today. He is in the gallery to my right with his grandchildren and Rachel’s children, Jacob and Karen, and I thank his daughter, Rabbi Rachel Mikva, for inspiring us with her opening prayer today.

Mr. MYERS of Indiana. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. PORTER. I yield to the gentleman from Indiana.

Mr. MYERS of Indiana. Mr. Speaker, I join many friends of the Mikva family in welcoming Rabbi Rachel. The Mikva family and my family became friends many years ago when they first came to Washington. We lived in the same neighborhood. Little Rachel and our youngest daughter, Lori, became very good friends, schoolmates.

I can recall and I can recommend it to about 350 high school kids here this morning, when they would come to visit their fathers. Rachel would sit on this side of the aisle, on the center aisle, and our daughter, Lori, on the other side, and just stare at each other, good friends at home and in school, but they became very competitive here. So we always remember that little Rachel, so proud today as we join the Mikva family and their grandchildren and welcome Rachel. We thank her for joining us today.


Contribute a translation Source (English)

Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:

“For the sake of Heaven.”
The rabbis taught:
‘Any argument conducted for the sake of Heaven will bear fruit.
If not for the sake of Heaven, it yields nothing.'[1] Pirkei Avot 5.17. 

God,
Source of knowledge and insight,
what does it mean: “For the sake of Heaven?”
 
That each of us has the courage to face and to speak the truth?
And still, however, passionately we may cling to our vision of truth,
we must never fail to recognize Your image, God,
reflected in the face of the other.

[What does it mean:] “For the sake of Heaven.”
 
That we are always mindful before whom we stand?[2] cf. Berakhot 28b, the statement of Rebbi Eliezer: וּכְשֶׁאַתֶּם מִתְפַּלְּלִים — דְּעוּ לִפְנֵי מִי אַתֶּם עוֹמְדִים (“When you pray — know before whom you stand”). Compare with Pirkei Avot 3.1. 
Committed to serve constituents,
the Nation,
the people of the world,
ultimately we stand before You,
naked of power or possessions,
seeking only to understand Your will
and do it with a whole heart.

“For the sake of Heaven.”
 
God,
we pray that our words and our deeds
may be for Your sake,
bringing healing to our world
and wholeness to all those whose lives we touch.
אָמֵן׃
Amen.

Source(s)

104th Congress, 1st Session (March 08, 1995)

 

Notes

Notes
1 Pirkei Avot 5.17.
2 cf. Berakhot 28b, the statement of Rebbi Eliezer: וּכְשֶׁאַתֶּם מִתְפַּלְּלִים — דְּעוּ לִפְנֵי מִי אַתֶּם עוֹמְדִים (“When you pray — know before whom you stand”). Compare with Pirkei Avot 3.1.

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