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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. Senate: Rabbi Seth Frisch on 19 March 1991

https://opensiddur.org/?p=52035 Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. Senate: Rabbi Seth Frisch on 19 March 1991 2023-07-19 15:44:15 The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. Senate on 19 March 1991. Text the Open Siddur Project Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Aharon N. Varady (transcription) Seth H. Frisch the Congressional Record of the United States of America 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 102nd Congress
Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Seth Frisch, Temple Beth El, Portland, Maine
Date of Prayer: 19 March 1991
Sponsor: Sen. Bill Cohen (R-ME)

Mr. COHEN. Mr. President, I take this opportunity to thank Rabbi Frisch for being with us this morning and offering the opening prayer. As my colleagues go about their legislative duties today and the days to come I hope they will reflect upon these words and truly understand the significance of what was said today.

We are very, very fortunate to have a guest with such a distinguished and fascinating background. He is a young man, only 33 years of age, but he is an old and very wise soul. During his young years he had a chance to live in the region which we are talking about even today. He studied for a year at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He lived and studied with not only Israeli but also Palestinian students. He was able to visit Egypt and meet with President Anwar Sadat in his home to discuss, among many topics, America’s view of the peace process. From his experience, I think he has brought great wisdom and deep understanding not only of the particulars in the Middle East but of human nature itself.

Today, Rabbi Frisch, at the age of 33, serves as the rabbi and spiritual leader of Temple Beth El in Portland, ME, the largest Jewish congregation in the State. He is also the senior rabbi of the Portland Congregational Rabbinate, which includes the orthodox, conservative, and reform congregations.

The State of Maine is fortunate to have such a man as a resident and servant, as are we to have him with us today. Again, my thanks to Rabbi Frisch for joining us. I wish him many years of good service to the Portland and greater Maine community.


Contribute a translationSource (English)
Almighty God,
in Your Holy Writ, the Book of Numbers,
You give us a most unusual view of Moses, Your servant,
who has brought the Israelites out of Egypt.
He has demanded of Pharaoh
to let his people go.
While physically they have been freed,
they have yet to become in their own minds free.
When they are confronted
with the harsh realities of life in the desert,
they cry out for their past life in Egypt.
In this particular passage in Numbers,
it is Moses instead who cries out. He says:
“I am not able to bear all this people myself alone,
because it is too heavy for me.” (Numbers 11:14)
And it is You, God,
who answers Your servant with compassion.
You say to him:
“Gather unto Me seventy of the elders of Israel,
whom thou knowest to be elders of the people,
and officers to represent them;
and bring them to the tent of meeting
that they may stand there with thee… (Numbers 11:16)
They shall bear the burden of the people with you,
that thou bear it not thyself alone.” (Numbers 11:17 part)
These are powerful words for our ancestors in this ancient world,
but for us these words founded this great Nation.
These are words upon which this United States
is but a cornerstone.
And so today I as a rabbi ask you,
the representatives of this Nation,
to pray with me.
Lord God,
stand together with us this day
as You once stood with the elders of Israel
at a tented meeting in a desert far away.
Today our prayer is that we ask You to guide us
in our most difficult task of governing this Nation.
Help us to come to one another’s aid
so that we will remain united in our purpose
and so that we may continue to receive Your blessings,
blessings that You have graciously bestowed upon us
these many years since the founding of this most noble Nation.
May God bless you and keep you,
may God make his continence to shine down upon you,
and may God grant you his most special blessing of peace.[1] The Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Blessing) Numbers 6:23–27. 


102nd Congress, 1st Session. C-SPAN.
Congressional Record, Vol. 137, Part 5 — Bound Edition, p. 6501.

Congressional Record v. 137, part 5 – 19 March 1991. p. 6501



1The Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Blessing) Numbers 6:23–27.



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