The U.S. House of Representatives departed from the ordinary last week, opening its April 5 legislative session with a prayer from a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi who invoked a story he once heard a comedian tell students at Northwestern University.

Several years ago, the comedian was the Chicago, Ill., school’s commencement speaker and referred to his first day in college, related Rabbi Dov Hillel Klein, director of the campus-based Tanenbaum Chabad House. When the speaker went home to his grandmother, who had never gone to college, he told her that he spent the whole day debating about whether a glass was half-full or half-empty.

That’s simple, the grandmother told him. When one is drinking, the glass is half-empty, but when one is pouring, the glass is half-full.

With that, Klein moved into the heart of his remarks, beseeching G‑d to “continue to bless us so [that] we are able to pour, and let others into our lives.

“We thank G‑d today for enabling us to serve this great country and being able to make a difference not only in our lives,” continued the rabbi, standing just below the speaker’s podium, “but in the lives of countless numbers of Americans and people around the world.”

Following the Pledge of Allegiance, Rep. Janice Schakowsky of Illinois’ Ninth District, thanked Klein for the blessing and for his work in her hometown of Evanston, especially for being a “pioneer” in opening one of the few campus Chabad Houses in the 1980s and sowing the seeds of the current Jewish revolution taking place at some 140 universities worldwide.

Calling him a “widely respected member of the community,” Schakowsky noted that Klein – who founded the Northwestern Jewish student center in 1985 – has also earned the nickname of “Rabbi Cop” as a senior police chaplain.

“He has had a profound impact on Chabad not only in Evanston, but throughout the United States,” said the representative.