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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. Senate: Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein on 23 April 1958

https://opensiddur.org/?p=55580 Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. Senate: Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein on 23 April 1958 2024-04-23 11:53:33 The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. Senate on 23 April 1958 on the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. Text the Open Siddur Project Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Philip S. Bernstein United States Congressional Record https://opensiddur.org/copyright-policy/ Aharon N. Varady (transcription) https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/ Yom ha-Atsma'ut (5 Iyyar) Opening Prayers for Legislative Bodies Medinat Yisra'el (the State of Israel) United States of America 20th century C.E. תחינות teḥinot 58th century A.M. English vernacular prayer Prayers of Guest Chaplains U.S. Senate Israel 85th Congress
Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein, Temple B’rith Kodesh, Rochester, New York
Sponsor: Sen. Jacob Javits (R-NY)
Date of Prayer: 23 April 1958


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O Thou, watching over Israel,
we lift our hearts to Thee,
as our fathers did before us,
in gratitude and hope.
We thank Thee
for the heritage of faith
that has sustained men and nations,
for the light Thou didst shed on their way
by Thy revelations of truth,
for the ideals that have moved Thy children
at their best
and to their best.
Standing before Thee
at this historic hour
in this historic place,
our thoughts turn to the ancient people
who early found their way to Thee,
clinging to Thee with unflagging devotion,
bearing witness through the generations
to Thy living presence.
It was Thy love that sustained them,
Thy promise which preserved them
through every trial and tribulation,
and brought them,
creative and faithful,
to this momentous hour.
Be with them now
as, risen from the ashes of persecution and slaughter,
they stand erect, strong and free
in their ancestral homeland.
They that sowed in tears
have come home with joy,
bearing their sheaves.[1] Psalms 126:6 
Guide Thou their way,
that out of Zion shall come forth the law,
Thy law of justice for all mankind,
and Thy word of light, healing, and hope
for all Thy troubled children,
from Jerusalem.
Help them and their neighbors,
who are bound together
by their common humanity
and need of Thee,
to turn their swords into plowshares,
their spears into pruning hooks,[2] Joel 4:10 part 
and to learn war no more.[3] Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3 
As we pray for the peace of Jerusalem,
we thank Thee
for this sweet land of liberty
which is our home.
We thank Thee
for its opulent bounties, Thy gift,
for its manifold beauties bursting from the earth
these lovely spring days,
for its inheritance of freedom
and its promise of brotherhood.
We are grateful for the kinship of spirit
which has linked this bastion of democracy
in the New World
to that beachhead of freedom
in the Old World.
We are grateful for the aid and understanding
here generously given,
and for the commitment to the free world
there solemnly pledged.
Help us to build and strengthen
these bridges of mutual aid
and shared knowledge,
over which all men may walk
toward a brighter day.
Above all, O Father of us all,
we pray for peace;
for as Thou art one,
Thy children are one.
No nation is an island unto itself.
None can or need profit at the hurt of another.
With Thy bounty and their ingenuity,
there is enough for all.
Help us, then, to seek out our brethren
of every creed, color, and clime,
to join with them in lifting the burdens,
the chains, from men everywhere,
and to make Thy gift of life, liberty, and happiness[4] Cf. the US Declaration of Independence, stylized by Benjamin Franklin and penned by Thomas Jefferson, famously signed 4 July 1776. Scholars differ as to whether the historical origin of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are rooted in Lockean Rights (following after the “Virginia Declaration of Rights” written by George Mason and adopted 12 June 1776) or possibly in Jefferson’s self-proclaimed Epicureanism. –Aharon Varady. 
the heritage of all.
Amen.

This prayer of the guest chaplain was offered in the fourth month of the second session of the 85th US Congress in the Senate, and published in the Congressional Record, vol. 104, part 6 (23 April 1958), page 6991. The prayer was offered in the context of Congressional legislation made in recognition of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel.

Source(s)

Congressional Record, vol. 104, part 6 (23 April 1958), p. 6991

 

Notes

Notes
1Psalms 126:6
2Joel 4:10 part
3Isaiah 2:4, Micah 4:3
4Cf. the US Declaration of Independence, stylized by Benjamin Franklin and penned by Thomas Jefferson, famously signed 4 July 1776. Scholars differ as to whether the historical origin of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are rooted in Lockean Rights (following after the “Virginia Declaration of Rights” written by George Mason and adopted 12 June 1776) or possibly in Jefferson’s self-proclaimed Epicureanism. –Aharon Varady.

 

 

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