WASHINGTON — Lost among the hoopla surrounding the gun bill tie-vote of May 20th, broken by Vice President Al Gore, was the opening of the Senate that morning. Rabbi Moshe Feller, director of the Upper Midwest branch of Chabad Lubavitch, opened the Senate with a special prayer.

Rabbi Feller, a veteran of Senate openings, began his prayer with a reference to the Jewish holiday of Shavuot (which was marked the following day), when G‑d descended on Mt. Sinai and gave the Torah to the Jewish People.

"Before issuing Your Commandments, the most crucial of which are: Thou shalt not commit murder; Thou shalt not commit adultery; Thou shalt not steal," Rabbi Feller intoned, "You awesomely declared, 'I am God, your God.'

"You declared so because in Your infinite wisdom, You knew that only by constantly focusing on Your sovereignty could humans control their negative impulses," Rabbi Feller said.

The rabbi, invited by Senator Rod Grams of Minnesota, declared that the Senate "responds daily to Your declaration... by opening their convocations in this historic and noble Chamber with the recognition of Your sovereign presence and by publicly offering prayers to You," and prayed that "this wise and sacred practice be an inspiration to all convocations and assemblies..."

Only minutes before the Senate opening, the country was rocked by news of yet another high school shooting, this time in Conyers, Georgia. Rabbi Feller, in consultation with Senate Chaplain Lloyd John Ogilvie, quickly penned an addition to his prayer conclusion: "[and] in light of today's event in the school in Georgia [may this practice be an inspiration] especially in the Nation's public schools, so that morality, safety, tranquility, and happiness prevail throughout our country and throughout the world."

Scores of senators, as well as the Vice President, streamed to Rabbi Feller to congratulate him, telling him how crucial his message, and the teachings and work of Chabad-Lubavitch, is to the country and the world.