The Israeli Elections
Last Thursday, my friend Akiva answered a question that I posed to him about which party he supports in tomorrow's Israeli elections. While Akiva answered that he supports Hazit, I however, have come to be very wary of politics, and now subscribe to the opinion of Rabbi Aryeh Levin and Rabbi Lazer Brody which shuns all involvement in political matters.
In his last will, Rabbi Aryeh Levin wrote these words on the subject of supporting political parties:
"I was careful not to be allied with any political party or group, in keeping with the teaching I received from my tutors, the great and holy Torah scholars: "And truth was ne'ederes [lacking]" (Yeshayahu 59:15) - because they became adarim, separate little herds, in which a person would strive only for the good of the members of his group and vote only for candidates of his group, even if that person was unfit for the position under consideration, rejecting a fit and qualified candidate. Moreover, this brings misfortune for generations; and it is in contradiction to our principles of faith and trust in Divine providence: For a man acts in this way in order that they - his group - should work for his benefit, at the time of his need. To this the verse of Scripture applies, "Cursed is the man that trusts in man...Blessed is the man that trusts in Hashem (Yirmiyahu 17:5,7)"
Similarly, last month Rabbi Lazer Brody wrote:
"My Israel has nothing to do Labor, Likud, Kadima, or the religious parties either. I don't spend 2 seconds a day thinking about the Hamas. Politics has no place in a such a divine sanctuary."
Looking at the parties running for the Knesset today, I just shake my head. It makes me recall a teaching from the Gemara (Bava Kamma 52a), "When G-d is angry with Israel he appoints leaders for them who guide them into pitfalls."
Insightfully, the Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote (Igros Kodesh, Volume 24, 1968, page 89), "The Hebrew words for political party is mafleiga, whose etymology pilug means divisiveness, argumentation, and disunion." It is for this reason that the Melizer Rebbe also refuses to talk about politics or politicians.
Based upon the events since the Oslo Accords, one can sadly predict that once the religious parties join a coalition with one of the larger parties after the elections, they will quickly compromise their principals and ultimately become accomplices to ceding parts of Eretz Israel and uprooting Jewish communities. This disturbing occurrence should be a warning to us illustrating the problem of combining religion and politics.
Who is left who will not betray the Jews in Eretz Israel? Like Akiva, I believe that only Moshiach can solve the problems facing the Jewish people.
When Rabbi Aryeh Levin met Prime Minister David Ben Gurion for the first time, he gave the prime minister this brocha, "I hereby bless you that you may soon vacate your position." When Ben Gurion asked him to explain, Rabbi Aryeh Levin replied, "I pray that you step down in favor of David, king of Israel, risen from the dead upon the advent of Moshiach."
This is what we all want; Moshiach and not a politician.
In the meantime, we would be wise to heed these words from Rabbi Brody:
"We Jews must have no political opinions; we should only ask what Hashem wants us to do, as specified in Jewish Law, and implement Hashem's will.