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Religion & Politics

Thursday, 17 September, 2020 - 4:44 pm

Everybody and their grandmother has an opinion of whether religion and politics are a good mix. For me, I avoid taking public stances on political issues, because my “job” is to encourage people to enhance their relationship with Hashem through Torah and Mitzvot, without getting involved in the distractions of political differences between folks.

That being said, I want to wade ever so slightly into the religion and politics connection strictly for the purpose of drawing a parallel. One of the certain things about politics, especially in our time, is that it evokes strong passion. Just take a peek at any social media platform, and you will find people passionately declaring that if you vote for this one, you are literally disavowing your G-d, your people, your family and the future of the universe. Then you will find people proclaiming the exact same thing about the other candidate. Even the people that are dispassionate about politics or the current political climate, are passionately dispassionate. They want ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with any of it.

Now politics is important and political decisions have ramifications – “elections matter.” Yet in the broad scope of things, our relationship with Hashem is so much more important. The ramifications on our lives, the universe, and history are far-reaching.

I would love to see people demonstrate the same passion, as they respectfully and tastefully discuss how important Judaism is to them, or how valuable it is to have a life of connection with Hashem. Not in a way of putting others down, but rather in a way that encourages others to explore that relationship with Hashem in their own lives. Talk about what excites you about something you studied in the Torah. Talk about how special it is for your family to celebrate this holiday or observe that tradition.

As we prepare for Rosh Hashanah and the high holidays of 5781, let’s get really passionate about Yiddishkeit. This will enhance our own experience of the holidays, and convey a powerful positive message to those around about what is important.

“As water reflects the face, so does the heart of one man reflect another.” (Proverbs, 27:19) Our expression of love and passion towards Hashem will generate a reflection of Hashem’s love and passion towards us. This brings with it the blessings of good health, prosperity, nachas, peace and meaningful spiritual growth for us and all of our loved ones.

Shana Tova Umesukah – wishing you a good and sweet year!
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

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