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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. Senate: Rabbi Dr. Gary P. Zola on 26 May 2005

Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Gary Zola, Jacob Rader Marcus Center, Cincinnati, OH
Date of Prayer: 2005-05-26


Contribute a translationSource (English)

Eternal One,
Rock of all ages,
help us to hear
the voices of our forebears
that still linger in the silent places
of this historic Chamber of debate and decision.

Let us draw devotional inspiration
this morning
from the life of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise,
founder of the Hebrew Union College,
who led this Senate in prayer
135 years ago to this very week.
May one brief moment
from the life of this famed American clergyman
renew in us a commitment
to the core of righteous living.

For we have been taught that once,
when this rabbi took ill amidst a class
and was compelled to descend from his teaching platform,
a young, eager student jumped up,
grabbed his arm,
and said: “May I help you down, Doctor?”

In response to this question,
the rabbi uttered words
that remind us anew
of what is good
and what God does require of us all:
“Never help a person down,”
the rabbi told his student.
“Try always to help people up.”

In this year,
marking 350 years of Jewish life in America,
we offer up
our prayerful and reverential gratitude
to the Source of Life
for implanting within our hearts
the vision of our noble Republic,
ever striving to help people up.

O may all who labor in this House–
and in every house–
be inspired anew
by the prophet Micah’s exhortation,
a charge that the father of this Nation
deeply cherished
and repeatedly cited:
“Do justly,
love mercy,
and walk humbly with thy God.”[1] Micah 6:8 part. 

Fervently we pray
that the vision we hallow
will animate all of us to live
“with malice toward none,
with charity for all . . .
[so we can] finish the work we are in.”[2] The Second Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln, 4 March 1865 


109th Congress, 1st Session. Congressional Record, Issue: Vol. 151, No. 72 — Daily Edition (May 26, 2005)



1Micah 6:8 part.
2The Second Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln, 4 March 1865



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