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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Bentzion Schaffran on 19 February 1974

https://opensiddur.org/?p=54327 Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Bentzion Schaffran on 19 February 1974 2024-02-19 13:41:48 The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 19 February 1974. Text the Open Siddur Project Bentzion Schaffran Bentzion Schaffran United States Congressional Record https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Bentzion Schaffran https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ Opening Prayers for Legislative Bodies United States of America 93rd Congress 20th century C.E. תחינות teḥinot 58th century A.M. English vernacular prayer U.S. House of Representatives Prayers of Guest Chaplains חבּ״ד ḤaBaD Lubavitch
Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Bentzion Schaffran,[1] Identified in the Congressional Record as “Ben Zion D. Schaffran.”  Brooklyn, New York
Date of Prayer: 19 February 1974
Sponsor: Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY)

Ms. HOLTZMAN. Mr. Speaker, it is a distinct pleasure for me that Rabbi Bentzion Schaffran has given the benediction to the Congress today. At a time when Congress is confronting such difficult and complicated problems, I hope that his words will provide a source of guidance for us.

Rabbi Schaffran, who is a constituent of mine, is a distinguished member of the Crown Heights community, and is associated with the Lubavitcher Movement, the worldwide headquarters of which are located within my district.

He does not minister only to the spiritual needs of his neighbors, but has taken an active role in working to alleviate many of the urban problems besetting the Crown Heights community.

Rabbi Schafiran has done important work with young people, both as a lecturer on college campuses and as a teacher at the Hadar Hatorah Institute. He serves as the executive vice president for Concerned Help To Augment Services for Inner City Dwellers. He has worked diligently with Brooklyn groups to seek new and fruitful approaches to uniting and improying their communities.


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Contribute a translationSource (English)
Honorable Members
of the House of Representatives
of the United States of America,
you represent not only the various people of this country,
but also their problems and the(ir) hopes
and endeavor for solutions thereto.
The Founding Fathers of this great Nation
set a precedent
for you as Representatives
and the people of this country,
acknowledgement of the great divine providence,
and a constant search for divine guidance—
so much so that every governmental assembly
is opened with a prayer[2] The convention of an opening prayer before the US Congress began with the Continental Congress of 7 September 1774 and the prayer of Reverend Jacob Duché
and even the currency of this country
bespeaks trust in God.[3] Beginning in 1864, the bronze two-cent piece was the first US coin to bore the inscription “In God We Trust.” In March 1865, Congress authorized the Director of the Mint, with the Secretary of the Treasury’s approval, to place “In God We Trust” on gold and silver coins. 
A nation which is cognizant
of its reliance on the Almighty
will surely weather the storms
which have befallen it.
Let us verbalize the prayer of a people
who stand before God seeking his guidance.
“Great are the needs of Thy people,
yet their understanding is incomplete.
They are unable to enumerate
their wants and desires.
Please grant understanding to them
prior to their calling,
great powerful and awful Lord.”[4] An adaptation of the formulation of the blessing שומע תפילה found in Berakhot 29b.14 in the name of “Aḥerim.” 

This prayer of the guest chaplain was offered in the second month of the second session of the 93rd US Congress in the House of Representatives. The source images of the prayer were copied by Howard Mortman and shared via his @CongressRabbi Twitter account. All credit to Howard Mortman for his research in digging up this prayer. Unfortunately, neither the source images nor his tweets provide an exact citation reference to the volume, issue, and page number of the Congressional Record in which the prayer was published. If you know, leave a comment, or contact us.

Source(s)

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain (Ben Zion Schaffran, 19 February 1974)

 

Notes

Notes
1Identified in the Congressional Record as “Ben Zion D. Schaffran.”
2The convention of an opening prayer before the US Congress began with the Continental Congress of 7 September 1774 and the prayer of Reverend Jacob Duché.
3Beginning in 1864, the bronze two-cent piece was the first US coin to bore the inscription “In God We Trust.” In March 1865, Congress authorized the Director of the Mint, with the Secretary of the Treasury’s approval, to place “In God We Trust” on gold and silver coins.
4An adaptation of the formulation of the blessing שומע תפילה found in Berakhot 29b.14 in the name of “Aḥerim.”

 

 

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