Monday, March 27, 2006

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.


At March 27, 2006 at 10:46:00 AM EST, Blogger Akiva said...

Just a small clarification, I didn't write that I support Hazit, I wrote that Hazit gets my vote (or would if I will be in Israel tomorrow, which is not currently in my plans).

As you so well put, it's not worth the time to support or, G-d forbid, become committed to a political party. As Pirke Avos says, they're only with you for their benefit, never for yours.

At March 27, 2006 at 11:06:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Thanks, Akiva. It appears that we are two like-minded bloggers.

At March 27, 2006 at 2:24:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only political party I would join is Rabbi Aryeh Levin's "un-party!"


At March 27, 2006 at 2:34:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Space Cadet: Somehow, I knew you would agree with me ;)

At March 27, 2006 at 3:36:00 PM EST, Blogger breslever said...

A brilliant post, SJ. It's interesting that Rav Brody shlit'a holds similar views with Rav Arie Levin zatza'l. The thing that the two of them have in common is that their tremendous ahavas Yisrael - it takes an eagle eye to pick up on that, and you did, SJ - good for you! Your blog is not only tops, its super glatt. Yesher Koach!

At March 27, 2006 at 3:42:00 PM EST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You and Lazer are being unfair to those other great leaders of our people who, reluctantly, founded the Agudas Israel Party and Shas to protect the religious community from the depredations of the secular left-wing Torah-haters.

At March 28, 2006 at 4:53:00 AM EST, Blogger Mottel said...

I can't stand Israeli politics . . . that's one of the reasons that I'm none to hot about moving there before Bias Moshiach (call me a Kofer)
However, not to vote is to give power to those who will use it for wrong.

At March 28, 2006 at 6:42:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Breslever: Thanks for your compliments on this posting.

Hillel: Thank you for your comment. Perhaps you misinterpreted our words to mean that.

Mottel: I am not saying that a person shouldn't vote. I am just saying that person shouldn't vote for a politician.

At April 2, 2006 at 3:07:00 PM EDT, Blogger Batya said...

In Olam Hazeh, it's necessary to vote to help things along.

At April 2, 2006 at 3:14:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Batya: I agree. A person should cetainly vote as an appreciate for the right that he is given in a free society.

...who he should vote for is another question.

At January 29, 2009 at 10:30:00 AM EST, Blogger micha said...

Do you work to earn a living? After all, the messianic ideal is וְיָֽשְׁב֗וּ אִ֣ישׁ תַּ֧חַת גַּפְנ֛וֹ וְתַ֥חַת תְּאֵֽנָת֖וֹ... (Micha 4:3).

I am concerned with a pursuit of the sacred that implies a retreat from all the ugliness of the here and now rather than an attempt to sanctify it.

Israeli politics are, unfortunately, the current way of changing gov't policy. Ignoring it means that others, likely with agendas very different than ours, will be making those changes.


At January 29, 2009 at 10:57:00 AM EST, Blogger chanie said...

I think I'll vote Ichud L'umi. They seem the most likely to be anti-hitnatkuyot.


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