Left to Right: Ruth Shaina Benhiyoun, Mrs. Rivka Benhiyoun,The Honorable Mayor Richard M. Daley, Rabbi Meir Chai Benhiyoun, Eliyahu Benhiyoun. Picture Credits: Brooke Collins

Left to Right: Ruth Shaina Benhiyoun, Mrs. Rivka Benhiyoun,The Honorable Mayor Richard M. Daley, Rabbi Meir Chai Benhiyoun, Eliyahu Benhiyoun. Picture Credits: Brooke Collins

Right to Left: The Honorable Mayor Richard M. Daley, Rabbi Meir Chai Benhiyoun, Ruth Shaina Benhiyoun. Picture Credits: Brooke Collins

Right to Left: The Honorable Mayor Richard M. Daley, Rabbi Meir Chai Benhiyoun, Ruth Shaina Benhiyoun. Picture Credits: Brooke Collins

Rabbi Meir Chai Benhiyoun, Director of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life of Downtown Chicago delivering the invocation. To his right is City Clerk Miguel Del Valle

Rabbi Meir Chai Benhiyoun, Director of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life of Downtown Chicago delivering the invocation. To his right is City Clerk Miguel Del Valle

The Mayor presenting a gift to Ruth Shaina Benhiyoun, daughter of Rabbi Benhiyoun

The Mayor presenting a gift to Ruth Shaina Benhiyoun, daughter of Rabbi Benhiyoun

Rabbi of City Hall

"...Handguns or not, Chabad in Downtown Chicago stays committed to fighting violence through education and combating darkness with light..."
On July 07, 2010 - By Center for Jewish Life

 

 click here to view video

 

The Rabbi of City Hall

As Chicago’s law makers debate over Washington’s new gun laws, Rabbi Meir Chai Benhiyoun, Director of Chabad in Downtown Chicago and the Center for Jewish Life offers an interesting twist to the sometimes very somber mood at Chicago’s City Hall.

Chicago’s new gun ordinance, approved on Friday July 2 by a 45-0 vote of the City Council, addresses this week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling and maintains his longstanding commitment to fight against the gangbangers and drug dealers who bring violence to the City’s neighborhoods, Mayor Richard M. Daley said.[1]

As is the proceeding at any City Council meeting a person of faith delivers a special prayer, an invocation, to start the meeting. City Clerk Miguel Del Valle, previously a State Senator for the State of Illinois, invited Rabbi Meir Chai Benhiyoun to deliver the invocation at the City Council’s Special Meeting on Friday, July 2. Weren’t the members of the City Council surprised when the Rabbi asked his 13 year old daughter, Ruth Shaina, to quote a verse from the  describing a time when, “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not fight against nation. And they will no longer study warfare.”

Pleasantly surprised indeed. Chicago’s 2nd Ward Alderman Robert W. Fioretti, who was participating in the meeting, described how wonderful it is to see children being educated with strong values. He then added that this is the most effective way to eradicate violence from our homes and communities. So poignant were the Rabbi’s words, 25th Ward Alderman Daniel S. Solis actually asked for a copy of the invocation from which he would use excerpts during two rallies he was speaking at that day honoring the families of those lost to crime in his ward.

Handguns or not, Chabad in Downtown Chicago stays committed to fighting violence through education and combating darkness with light. As best put by Rabbi Benhiyoun in his prayer, “We must pray for better days when we won’t need weapons to protect our society.”


[1] http://mayor.cityofchicago.org

 

 

INVOCATION
City Hall, Chicago
July 2, 2010

by Rabbi Meir Chai Benhiyoun

 

Honorable Assembly,                                                                                      B’H

Honorable Mayor Daley

Honorable City Clerk Miguel del Valle

 

I would like to start off with a quote from Isaiah chapter 2 verse 4 and invite my daughter Shaina to read it for you.

 

“They shall beat their swords, into plowshears, and their speers, into pruning hooks. Nation, will NOT lift sword against nation. And they will no longer, study, warfare.” 

 

Thank you Shaina.

 

Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings You have established strength, to silence foe and avenger.” (Psalms chapter 8 verse 2)

 

May we come to the days when we won’t need metal detectors. On a humorisitic note: what we should have is mental detectors. Because really every act starts with an intent, and intent, is refined through education.

 

We must launch a prayer before this special meeting. A prayer for you, one of the most outstanding governing bodies in the United States of America, privileged to have the outstanding leadership of our Honorable Mayor.

 

Especially in what you have accomplished in this city, in the areas of education, refinement of intent, and, prevention. Everything you have done in these domains, that has improved the lives of so many, and thus, saved the lives of so many, will be for you in good stead and virtue, for a - long - time.

 

Yet, only a couple of weeks ago, there were I believe over 50 people shot in one weekend, including children. We must pray for the people who were shot, and those who shot them. We must pray for our whole community to come to better days when we won’t need weapons to protect our society.

 

As Maimonides has said: “And at that time, there will be neither famine nor war, neither envy nor competition, for good things will flow in abundance, and all the delights will be as freely available as dust. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know G-d, as it is written, "For the world will be filled with the knowledge of G-d as the waters cover, the ocean bed."

 

May G-d empower all of you to carry out your good intents, and pronounce laws, that will safeguard our lives and the lives of our children.

 

And all of those who occupy themselves faithfully with communal affairs, may the Holy One Blessed be He, give them their reward, remove from them, and their loved ones, all sickness, heal their entire body, pardon all of their sins, and send blessing and success to all their endeavors. And let us say, Amen.

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Eliyahu Benhiyoun

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fax: 312-427-7103

About Chabad of the Loop, Gold Coast and Lincoln Park
Chabad of the Loop Gold Coast and Lincoln Park is a nonprofit outreach organization committed to reawakening Jewish life within a person. Its work is geared to building healthier communities in an inclusive organization without regard to a person’s background, affiliation or level of observance.

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