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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Peter E. Hyman on 30 July 2008

Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Peter E. Hyman, Temple Sholom, Broomall, PA
Sponsor: Rep. Hon. Joe Sestak, (D-PA)
Date of Prayer: 07/30/2008

Mr. SESTAK. Madam Speaker, I want to talk about Rabbi Hyman who just gave the opening prayer.

There is a midrash, one of the many parables, that embellish upon the Torah. In this particular midrash, there is a man from the land of Israel, a businessman, who was in another country, and when he was there, he was accused of being a spy. He was then told by the judge that he would be executed. He asked for 30 days to go back to the land of Israel and while there finish up his business and come back. The judge initially laughed, but he turned to him and said, “My friend will sit in a jail for me, and if I’m not back, he will be executed.”

The judge had to see this, and so the man went into jail. And the gentleman went back to the land of Israel and he finished his business. And he would have made it back in time, except there was a storm at sea.

And when he finally arrived there, the man, his friend, was about to be hung, executed. And he yelled out as he came closer, “It is I who am to be executed, not him.” But his friend said, “No, you’re too late; it is to be me.”

They caused such confusion and commotion that the two men were brought before the king who had to see this, and after listening to their stories, he said, “I will forgive you and pardon you on one condition, that I become your third friend.”

There is nothing like a friend in life. You helped me at a hard time, at the beginning of my political career, Rabbi, but more than that, Temple Shalom in my district radiated that peace, that friendship, that loyalty to everyone, that interracial, ecumenical clergy association you headed, not just Anti–Defamation League, but anti–violence summit that you held.

Shalom. Thank you for being the friend you are, not just to me, but a dealer of hope to many in my district.


Contribute a translationSource (English)

Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:

Almighty and merciful God,
bless and protect the lawmakers and officials of our land
as they carry out the sacred responsibilities
entrusted to them
by the people of our Nation.

Grant to the President,
his counselors,
and all who hold in their hands
the destiny and well-being of our country
a measure of Your wisdom and a portion of Your spirit.

Impart to those in positions of leadership
the courage to temper justice with mercy.
Strengthen those who engage in the give-and-take of democracy
with passion alloyed with humility.

May those who stand here in righteous debate
be ever mindful
that Your divine image is reflected
in the eyes of those they face;
remembering that it is in Your likeness we are all created.

Shield and guard those who,
responding to the call of duty and service,
stand in harm’s way.

Bless, O God,
the work of those who labor here,
and may the work they do
be a blessing to us
and to all the world.
And let us say,


110th Congress, 2nd Session
Issue: Vol. 154, No. 128 — Daily Edition (July 30, 2008)

Link: https://chaplain.house.gov/chaplaincy/display_gc.html?id=644




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