Sounding the Shofar in Adar
“The days of the elections draw nigh,” explained Maran Rosh HaYeshiva [Harav Steinman] Shlit”a, with tears on his cheek. “A person might make petty calculations and miss the moment. He can act correctly, spur others to action, and vote only in order to save Yiddishkeit from those who seek its harm, and to save his household. And that is his duty; that is the mission of the moment. But each person can have in mind that he is going out to make His great Name great. He can think that he is joining a huge community that votes for the sake of the honor of Heaven, the masses who refuse to kneel before the Baal, who do not want a government that wishes to uproot the kingship of Hashem, and they vote for the sake of His Name, with love. By way of a small act and a great thought, one can attain a moment that has none to surpass it, to cause ‘His great Name to be made great and sanctified.'”
Yes, casting a vote has a pragmatic aspect to it. But on a much higher plane, it is an uplifting declarative moment of unswerving loyalty to Hashem. The more this declaration is internalized and amplified, the greater the Kiddush Hashem.
Remember that the party you vote for may or may not be in the next government coalition, and may or may not have answers to all of Israel’s domestic and foreign issues. Investigate thoroughly and don’t just lean on endorsements.
Amen! Truly uplifting sentiments. I’ll have those in mind when I cast my vote for Bayit Yehudi – a party that votes to save Jewish identity and Hashem’s household, and is supported by those who are moser nefesh for those aims, not for those who kneel before the Baal of secularism, the myth of earning global favor, or money.
[DB: Look, the raison d’etre of Yachad is those who feel that BY swerved. And every party takes money for the constituents in its sector (and builds its voter base on distribution of those monies), even if sometimes to fund things that are against the Israeli consensus.]
and vote only in order to save Yiddishkeit from those who seek its harm, and to save his household.
Meaning voting for any other reason is forbidden?
However, when the mandate and groupthink is to vote for an outwardly “frum” person, who has violated ethics and integrity, just because he’s (supposedly) “frum,” then I disagree. HaMaivin yavin.
The splits in the religious community are especially painful at this time. Polls are showing that the Joint List — the predominantly Arab party — will be the third-largest party in the Knesset.
Maybe that will wake people up.
>>>>that votes for the sake of the honor of Heaven
—- while no doubt the Haredi gdolim hold that from ‘gimmel daas’ [the acceptable wisdom is voting gimmel= UTJ] , undeniably tens of thousands of others see kiddush hashem in voting differently…
[DB: There are certainly those, of course. And there are those whose decision is guided by more mundane calculations.]
The question of which matter trumps all others is a function of the well-worn Da’as Torah issue. The way I see it, at core, is that the Torah has an opinion about many, many things that veer from black-letter halachah. [For example, I don’t think you’ll find a halachah in the Rambam against Jews taking a militant approach toward host governments in Galus, but the Ramban and Rabbeinu Bachye to Parashas Vayishlach are clearly “Da’as Torah” on that front.] Sure, there could be disagreement about what the Torah’s opinion is just like there’s disagreement in halachah. But (a) to even have an opinion about what the Torah’s opinion is, and especially to apply it to contemporary reality, a person has to be an Adam Gadol Me’od; and (b) I believe it is no less obligatory to follow the Torah’s opinion, be it what it may, than any halachah in Shulchan Aruch; at the very least, as a kiyyum of Ahavas Hashem.
And there are those whose decision is guided by more mundane calculations
—- including no doubt many UTJ voters , who vote not for its spirituality, but for its financial aid potential, as you noted–that sectors voting expect financial return on their vote….
and eg Shas haredim vote to say ‘no’ to ashkenaziharedi classism and eg Yachad haredim [chabad at least] will vote to say Palestine cannot be given back to the arabs, and other chardalim will vote for a davka zionist party …..
So if one is NOT an “Adam Gadol Me’od” one is not even entitled to an opinion as to what the Torah’s opinion is on any matter. Well then, you basically shut down a Torah Jew’s ability to apply any Torah thoughts that he developed on his own (Heaven forbid!) and apply them to his life, so long as he is not an “Adam Gadol Me’od” (whatever that means??!!). This also means that one is not allowed to be mechadesh anything since he is not entitled to opine on what the Torah’s opinion is on anything. Thanks for he p’tur from limud b’amkus!!
[DB: Chalilah. But it’s not possible to have an authoritative opinion as to these issues without full command of Torah Shebichsav and Be’al Peh. Every Maamar Chazal you learn Beamkus could have another one countering it. It happens time and again.]
Rabbi Beckerman, Many gedolai yisroel acknowledged basic ethical considerations that may be more basic than halakhic values, and in some respects kodmah le’torah, in any number of senses – prior, more fundamental, etc. Independent of how one defines/delimits daat torah, history has clearly taught us that expressing an opinion outside of the strict confines of halakha is yet more likely to produce conflicting views (and in my opinion, more strident disagreement.) Beyond chareidi, DL divisions, the original split of degel hatorah and agudah is a relevant case study.
In any case, many of my friends in Israel are voting for Yesh Atid for ethical or what they perceive as Torah values.
[DB: Do your friends feel that Torah values include Avodah Zarah/heresy, Gilui Arayos, and Shefichus Damim ?]
dr. Bill. Why don’t your friends vote for Bayit Yehudi? Whatever ethical and Torah values Yesh Atid claims to represent, Bayit Yehudi has also. Probably more when it comes to being moser nefesh in Tzahal And bayit yehudi doesn’t have the drawback of possibly enabling euthanasia and other features of contemporary Dutch society. So why Yesh Atid?
Rabbi Beckerman, Just to be clear, my friends believe in Torah values and do not demonize those who prioritize various government subsidies for their constituents over other issues. They believe that coercion is not the way to attract secular Jews to greater Jewish identity and traditional values; imposing our (religious) values has had primarily negative impact. Your characterization of them speaks nothing about them but sends a clear message that only re-enforces words that they had charitably considered as spoken in an uncontrolled moment.
[DB: My characterization!? That’s exactly what Yesh Atid and its MKs are pushing, and I won’t apologize for pointing it out. Discomfort notwithstanding, supporting a party that supports these things speaks volumes about them.
I’ve heard this argument about how to relate to the seculars before, and emphatically disagree with the premise of it. There’s a wide abyss between coercion and legitimizing. But even if I were to accept it, it would only serve to explain why the religious don’t seek to make a party that supports the Shalosh Chamuros illegal; let the far gone seculars support the Shalosh Chamuros if they like. But it certainly does not explain how a religious Jew can cast a ballot for a party that seeks to institutionalize the Shalosh Chamuros.
And if you think Yesh Atid isn’t giving out money for votes (for example, to the LGBT groups and Reform study centers), you’re naïve.]
“So if one is NOT an “Adam Gadol Me’od” one is not even entitled to an opinion as to what the Torah’s opinion is on any matter. Well then, you basically shut down a Torah Jew’s ability to apply any Torah thoughts that he developed on his own (Heaven forbid!) and apply them to his life, so long as he is not an “Adam Gadol Me’od” (whatever that means??!!). This also means that one is not allowed to be mechadesh anything since he is not entitled to opine on what the Torah’s opinion is on anything. Thanks for he p’tur from limud b’amkus!!
[DB: Chalilah. But it’s not possible to have an authoritative opinion as to these issues without full command of Torah Shebichsav and Be’al Peh. Every Maamar Chazal you learn Beamkus could have another one countering it. It happens time and again.]”
Thus, of course it is not possible for anyone to have an authoritative opinion on these issues-NO ONE INCLUDING THE BIGGEST GADOL knows all of authoritative Jewish opinion/Torah. Torah in its broadest sense includes but not limited besides Talmud, Midrash, Tanach, Meforshim, Jewish philosophers, Jewish kabbalists, tfillah, zmirot, halacha, minhagim of ALL communities-not just those for example of Lithuania, but would include Morocco, Yemen, Iraq,Iran, Hungary, Russia etc Even if one thought one knew the customs which reflect Torah values of a country different sections had different customs see eg Northern and Southern Germany.
We pasken halacha-thus one is required to follow in halacha what the generally accepted halacha of ones community is-we don’t pasken hashkafa thus a baalei tosafot could believe God is corporeal-we all accept both Hassidim and Misnagim as traditional Jews-despite the fact that certainly a lot of Kabbala certainly would be problematic to one who accepts the Rambams viewpoint.
I believe that Rav Soloveitchik stated that he has no expertise in non Halachik matters-thus although he was in favor of the Viet Nam war-for starters a son-in-law and brother were opposed to it. Obviously, one should attempt to follow what in hashkafic matters what one believes Chazal would do if faced in similar situations and certainly the thought process of those who are most steeped in Torah is one that should attempt to include in ones decision but unlike halacha we don’t pasken hashkafa. Of course there a few certain essential thoughts that are universally required eg Torah MinHashamayim, that there is a God with Schar Vonesh, and that there is a halachik process which is eternal-but not much more.
Eliyahu, Because of agreement on negotiating stance vis-a-vis the palestinian issue, they favor yesh atid. Bayit Yehudi is too far to the “right” on that issue.
Rabbi Beckerman, I think our positions are clear.
dr. bill. Because of the palestinian issue, which is almost entirely moot anyway and where all past concessions have blown up in israel’s face, they are willing to support bills enabling euthanasia and the like?
Eliyahu, whether the Palestinian issue is mute, as you say, and your negotiating stance in any case, is a rather serious matter. Some argue that Palestinians walking away from Herzog/Livni will bring other players in the middle east and elsewhere closer to Israel’s corner. Where it might lead, I cannot predict, but it does motivate some people to choose yesh atid over bayit yehudi.
If you want to vote for a party whose MKs have never been indicted for anything, you have only two choices – Yesh Atid (over 20 months) and UTJ (over 67 years).
You’ve mentioned only Charedi/Chardal parties…
You don’t have to know every last minhag. You need to know Divrei Chazal with the Rishonim and primary Acharonim, Shulchan Aruch with the primary Nosei Keilim, the primary works of Machshavah and Mussar, have a very good head, and a very pure heart. There are people like that today, Baruch Hashem.
An interesting postscript for Yesh Atid voters:
In one of Menachem Lipkin’s responses to me, he cited MK Lipman to the effect that Netanyahu was scared of the 0% VAT on apartments because of the amazing effect this would have on people’s lives.
Turns out that aside from the chief economist quitting his post over the 0% VAT bill (as I mentioned), he went to the Knesset Finance Committee to testify against it, and took a bunch of the top economists in the country with him. After their statements, the head of the committee asked for an opposing view from a top economist. Problem: They couldn’t find any…