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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. Senate: Rabbi Moshe Feller on 16 October 1991

https://opensiddur.org/?p=52086 Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. Senate: Rabbi Moshe Feller on 16 October 1991 2023-07-22 11:57:19 The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. Senate on 16 October 1991. Text the Open Siddur Project Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Moshe Feller United States Congressional Record https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Aharon N. Varady (transcription) https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ Opening Prayers for Legislative Bodies United States of America 20th century C.E. תחינות teḥinot 58th century A.M. English vernacular prayer Prayers of Guest Chaplains U.S. Senate שבע מצות בני נח Seven Noaḥide Commandments חבּ״ד ḤaBaD Lubavitch 102nd Congress
Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Moshe Feller, director, Lubavitch Movement, Upper Midwest Region, St. Paul, Minnesota
Date of Prayer: 16 October 1991
Sponsor: Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-MN)

Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, I rise to thank Rabbi Feller from St. Paul, Minnesota, for coming today and honoring all of us here in the Senate.

“Lubavitch” means “City of Love” in Russian, and I cannot help but think of my father-and the Rabbi and I spoke about this before the opening of the session—Leon Wellstone, who was from Russia. My father passed away in 1983, but I believe that he is today well aware of what is happening in his native country, and I hope that the Soviet Union will become the city of love and I hope that this will be a new world for all of God’s children and that we will be able finally to spend less money on weapons of death and destruction and more money in supporting men and women throughout the world.

I also want to say to the Rabbi that my favorite quote is a quote from Albert Einstein where he said “the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, the almost passionate love for justice, and the strong desire for personal independence, these are the features of the Jewish tradition that make me thank my lucky stars that I belong to it.” That is the way I feel on the floor of the U.S. Senate today, because of the presence of Rabbi Feller.


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Contribute a translationSource (English)
O Heavenly Father,
Creator and Master of the universe,
the Members of this august body,
the U.S. Senate, are assembled here
in fulfillment of Your command
that every society govern by just laws.
At the dawn of civilization
You commanded the survivors of the great flood—
Noah and his family—
the Seven Commandments
which have come to be known as
the Seven Noaḥide Laws.[1] Sanhedrin 56a; cf. Tosefta Avodah Zarah 9:4 and Genesis Rabbah 34:8. The following litany of mitsvot follows the teaching of Maimonides: “Six items were commanded to Adam: concerning idolatry, blasphemy, bloodshed, illicit sexuality, theft, and laws…God added to Noah, the law of not eating from the flesh of a live animal.” (Mishneh Torah, Kings and Wars 9:1). For a full list of the mitsvot bnei Noaḥ, find “The Seven Commandments for All Humanity (Bnei Noaḥ) in early Rabbinic sources.” The impetus behind sharing the sheva mitsvot in the context of ḤaBaD Lubavitch originates with the following teaching of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson: “We must do everything possible to ensure that the seven Noahide laws are observed. If this can be accomplished through force or through other kinder and more peaceful means through explaining to non-Jews that they should accept God’s wishes [we should do so]…Anyone who is able to influence a non-Jew in any way to keep the seven commandments is obligated to do so, since that is what God commanded Moses our teacher,” (“Sheva Mitzvot Shel Benai Noach,” Hapardes 59:9 7-11, 5745). 
Your first commandment,
to recognize You and You alone
as Creator, Master, and Sovereign Ruler of the universe,
was followed by Your commandments prohibiting
blasphemy,
murder,
theft,[2] A broad interpretation of gezel, taking without consent, i.e., theft. 
illicit sexual relationships,
cruelty to animals,[3] A broad interpretation of ever min hê-ḥai, predatory behavior (literally, not [tearing] the limb of a living creature) 
and the command to establish systems of government
which implement fulfillment of these commandments
and punish their infraction.
You have bestowed both
a magnificent privilege
and an awesome responsibility
on those who are chosen to govern.
They are constantly called upon
to judge their fellow man.
Almighty God,
grant those who are chosen to govern and judge
the wisdom to do so wisely and correctly.
Grant them the awareness of Your majestic presence
and the awareness that as they are making judgments
they are being judged by You—
O Supreme Judge of the universe
unto whom we are all accountable.
O Heavenly Creator,
grant that the Members of this august governing body,
the U.S. Senate,
consider every human being as an entire world,
as Your servants the Sages of the Talmud have taught
“Why did God create the world in the beginning
with but one single individual, Adam?
(He could have with His infinite power
just as easily created masses of humans.)
He did so to teach mankind
that every individual is indeed an entire world.”[4] After Mishnah Sanhedrin 4.5. 

Source(s)

102nd Congress, 1st Session. C-SPAN.
Congressional Record, Vol. 137, Part 18 — Bound Edition, p. 26389.

Congressional Record v. 137, part 18 – 16 October 1991. p. 26389

 

Notes

Notes
1Sanhedrin 56a; cf. Tosefta Avodah Zarah 9:4 and Genesis Rabbah 34:8. The following litany of mitsvot follows the teaching of Maimonides: “Six items were commanded to Adam: concerning idolatry, blasphemy, bloodshed, illicit sexuality, theft, and laws…God added to Noah, the law of not eating from the flesh of a live animal.” (Mishneh Torah, Kings and Wars 9:1). For a full list of the mitsvot bnei Noaḥ, find “The Seven Commandments for All Humanity (Bnei Noaḥ) in early Rabbinic sources.” The impetus behind sharing the sheva mitsvot in the context of ḤaBaD Lubavitch originates with the following teaching of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson: “We must do everything possible to ensure that the seven Noahide laws are observed. If this can be accomplished through force or through other kinder and more peaceful means through explaining to non-Jews that they should accept God’s wishes [we should do so]…Anyone who is able to influence a non-Jew in any way to keep the seven commandments is obligated to do so, since that is what God commanded Moses our teacher,” (“Sheva Mitzvot Shel Benai Noach,” Hapardes 59:9 7-11, 5745).
2A broad interpretation of gezel, taking without consent, i.e., theft.
3A broad interpretation of ever min hê-ḥai, predatory behavior (literally, not [tearing] the limb of a living creature)
4After Mishnah Sanhedrin 4.5.

 

 

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