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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Seth Frisch on 5 February 2020

Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Seth Frisch, New Shul of America, Rydal, Pennsylvania
Sponsor: Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI)
Date of Prayer: 02/05/2020

One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain:

Mr. CICILLINE. Madam Speaker, I rise today to welcome Rabbi Seth Frisch, who delivered today’s opening prayer to the people’s House.

Since his ordination in 1986, at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York, Rabbi Frisch has been a source of comfort and counsel to Jews around the world. In his current posting as rabbi and teacher of the New Shul of Philadelphia, Rabbi Frisch helps serve as a guide for those who want to learn more about what it means to be Jewish in a safe and supporting setting.

In a way, today’s opening prayer was a homecoming for Rabbi Frisch, who previously served as a legislative assistant to the chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

I pray that we will all heed his words today, that out of many, we are one Nation. Let us strive to put our divisions behind us and realize our dream of a country indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

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Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:

I stand before You in prayer and in memory
as I am reminded of Solomon, King of ancient Israel,
who would preside over a most unusual judicial hearing,
one in which two mothers
would lay claim to the life of one child,
a child they each would insist to be their own.[1] 1 Kings 3:16-28. 

This parable allows us
to see Solomon’s wisdom
as preserving the nation,
as we are sadly reminded,
so soon after his death,
that the kingdom is split asunder.

I, too, am reminded of Abraham Lincoln,
when he spoke with prophetic-like prescience:
“A house divided cannot stand,”[2] from Abraham Lincoln’s House Divided speech, June 16, 1858.  
which was soon to become a war
of brother against brother.
From this we would soon learn
that our future lies not in enmity,
but in unity.

For, Lord,
the Book of Leviticus, from Your Torah, teaches us
in words inscribed upon the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia:
“Proclaim liberty throughout the land,
to all of the inhabitants thereof,”[3] Leviticus 25:10.  
thus uniting one of our Nation’s ideals,
e pluribus unum,”[4] A traditional motto of the United States, its inclusion on the Great Seal of the United States was approved by an Act of Congress in 1782.  out of the many, one.

Lord God,
the Founders of this Nation
understood our strength
to be in the celebration
of our differences
while assiduously working
to put our divisions
behind us.

And so it is, Dear God,
that we pray You remain with us.
Continue to guide all of us
in realizing the dream of this great country,
to be a Nation indivisible,
a Nation seeking liberty,
and above all,
a Nation providing liberty
and justice
to all.



116th Congress, 2nd Session
Issue: Vol. 166, No. 24 — Daily Edition (February 5, 2020)




1 1 Kings 3:16-28.
2 from Abraham Lincoln’s House Divided speech, June 16, 1858.
3 Leviticus 25:10.
4 A traditional motto of the United States, its inclusion on the Great Seal of the United States was approved by an Act of Congress in 1782.

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