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Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. Senate: Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman on 12 June 1991

Guest Chaplain: Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman, director, Lubavitch Youth Organization, Brooklyn, New York
Date of Prayer: 12 June 1991
Sponsor: Sen. Patrick Moynihan (D-NY)

Mr. MOYNIHAN. Mr. President, the opening prayer this morning was delivered by Rabbi Shmuel M. Butman of Brooklyn, New York—the director of the Lubavitch Youth Organization.

Most of the Members of the Senate are familiar with the dynamic work of the Lubavitch movement, which has branches in over 40 States and 100 nations. This extraordinary network of religious, educational, and cultural undertakings is led by an exceptional spiritual leader, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the 7th rabbi of Lubavitch. It is most appropriate that Rabbi Schneerson this week celebrates the 50th anniversary of his arrival in this country.

Rabbi Schneerson recently entered his 90th year. I know I speak for the entire Senate when I ask Rabbi Butman to convey to him our hearty best wishes for many years of continued inspired leadership.

I have met with Rabbi Schneerson on several occasions. New Yorkers of all faiths are proud that the world headquarters of Lubavitch is located in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn where it was relocated in 1940 by the current Rebbe’s venerable predecessor and father-in-law, Rabbi Joseph Schneerson.

Many Members of the Senate are familiar with the role that a member of this body played in securing the release of Rabbi Joseph Schneerson from a Soviet prison and the emigration of his entire immediate family, including the current Rebbe, from Stalin’s Russia. The intervention of Senator William Borah of Idaho on behalf of this beleaguered Chassidic family stands as a noble example of courageous moral leadership. All of us in public life would do well to ponder Senator Borah’s oft-repeated explanation as to his motive in leading an international campaign to save an apparently obscure religious leader in a faraway land, “I like to do things that get me votes in that final election we will all have to stand for someday.”

I thought of Senator Borah last year when I visited Morocco in my capacity as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.

When I met with the Jewish leaders of Morocco and toured several of their synagogues and civic centers I discovered two pictures in every building His Majesty King Hassan Ⅱ and the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

This should not surprise anyone who is familiar with the Rebbe’s historic role in supporting Jewish education and Jewish continuity throughout the world.

Lubavitch is deeply involved in many nations around the globe where it is the only official Jewish presence and the only source of Jewish educational and religious training. And some day, hopefully soon, the full story will be told of Lubavitch’s heroic role in keeping Judaism alive in lands of cruel tyranny where teaching the Bible is a crime and uttering a public prayer is rewarded with a prison sentence.

For forty years these remarkable activities—the publicized and the clandestine; the Chanukah lamp lighting on television and the underground matzah baking under the noses of Communist secret police, the young women giving out Sabbath candles on 5th Avenue, and the Yeshiva schools in Arab lands—have been directed and inspired by Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.

I would like to welcome his talented disciple Rabbi Shmuel Butman to the Senate and thank him for his moving words of prayer.


Contribute a translationSource (English)
Dear God,
with Your bountiful mercy
we have just celebrated the 50th anniversary
of the arrival to these shores
of the revered leader of world Jewry,
Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Shlita.
In these fifty years, the Rebbe has,
with Your divine help,
enriched the educational,
and ethical lives of millions of people—
of all walks of life—
throughout the world,
and has made this world a better place to live in.
The Rebbe has called this year—
5751 in the Jewish calendar—
“The Year of Revealed Miracles.”
The Rebbe,
who was recently honored by this Senate on his 89th birthday,
made this classification more than a year ago.
And it is indeed happening now.
As the year has unfolded,
we have seen hundreds of thousands of Jews
from the Soviet Union
arrive in Israel to start a new life.
We were also witness to a crisis
in the Middle East
of international proportions
and gravest implications.
We thank You, dear God,
for the miraculously low casualties
among the allied forces
led by the United States of America,
and thank You, dear God,
that our troops have returned home—
and are returning home—
The Rebbe says
that the reason we saw so many miracles this year,
and are constantly seeing miracles in our daily lives,
is due to the fact that You, Almighty God,
are preparing the world for the miracle of miracles,
the final redemption.
We ask you, dear God,
to give us the strength to accelerate that process
and the inspiration to do an extra good deed each day.
In this spirit, dear God,
I would like to take this opportunity to put a dollar bill,
on which the words “In God We Trust” are imprinted,
into this pushke (charity box).
This charity box reminds us all
that we have an obligation
not only to ourselves and our families,
but, also, indeed, to our neighbors
and to society in general.
Help us, dear God,
to bring this message of charity
and of the final redemption
to all the people in these great United States,
and around the world.
Almighty God,
in Your infinite wisdom,
You have established the Members of the Senate
as the custodians of honesty and decency,
justice, and peace
for all peoples in the United States
and, through the United States as the moral super power,
for all the people of this planet.
We pray, dear God,
that You continue to bestow Your bounty
upon all of the Members of this body.
May they merit, dear God,
to have a “Year of Revealed Miracles”
in their communal,
and international endeavors,
as well as in their private lives.
And let us all say:


102nd Congress, 1st Session. C-SPAN.
Congressional Record, Vol. 137, Part 10 — Bound Edition, p. 14425.

Congressional Record v. 137, part 10 – 12 June 1991. p. 14425




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