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Mar 10, 2014

Some pre - election thoughts

A guest post by Rav Chayim Soloveichik 

 I am not expressing my thoughts in order to let people know for whom I intend to vote. I believe that for whom one vote’s is a personal decision. I signed a letter in support of a specific candidate merely in order to convey that one may feel free to vote for the candidate whom one sees as being the better one. This is not my personal chiddush, but the Mesorah that I received from my father, HaRav Aharon Soloveichik, a Gadol who had the respect of the Gedolim from the previous generation.

I am dismayed by the behavior of the perceived Torah community. Let me be clear. this election campaign did not become a religious conflict as a result of the actions of non-observant Jews. A war has indeed been waged by the same people who tout the values of Torah and Shabbos. The current campaign started with signs about להקהל ולעמד על נפשם  , implying that the elections in Bet Shemesh are similar to the war against Haman and his cohorts from the days of Mordechai.

We also heard slander about a plan to have buses run in Bet Shemesh on Shabbos. Besides the fact such an intention never existed, it was and is completely absurd to imagine that a company would send buses even to the older parts of Bet Shemesh on Shabbos. As an aside, on Nachal HaYarkon street all the residents suffered on Shabbos over the years, hearing construction in R.B.S. Gimmel. All complaints to city officials did not succeed in stopping the construction until someone was able to speak to the Chief Rabbi about the Shabbos construction which brought merely a temporary reprieve. This happened during the previous administration. I am mentioning this for the purpose of pointing out that those who speak arrogantly and imperiously in the name of Torah need to be more introspective and speak with greater modesty when deeming to decide for all of our fine community which candidate so clearly better serves the cause of frumkeit.

I also have heard that there are plans for music to be played in R.B.S. on Shabbos That’s right, I guess it must be reasonable to suppose that unless one particular candidate wins, then a band will be hired to play at every park in the Ramah for two hours on a Friday night, just as a payback against religious Jews. What kind of a person could believe such an accusation, and even worse, what type of person could invent such an accusation.

Why am I writing today? Because, when I was out, I saw the latest election poster: “I love G-d and therefore I won’t vote for people who hate G-d.” What can I say? If a group of Torah Jews acts in such a fashion  then I can only say: תורה תורה חגרי שק.  I think that some people in our community are for some reason so afraid of the outcome of the elections that they have accepted the notion that “the ends justify the means”. This means that one may do anything one wants: lie, cheat ,denigrate as long as the Torah tzibur will get what it needs. I was raised differently. My mother, Rebbetzin Ella Soloveichik, obm, who came from forty nine generations of Rabbonim, taught me that you cannot build Torah by destroying it first . My father, zt’l in very strong terms always taught that we must learn and practice Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof. As the Targum Yonasan explains: one should pursue justice with justice. We should never resort to unjust ways in order to pursue justice because the idea of the ends justifying the means is repugnant to Torah. 

I hope that with Purim approaching all the Jews of Bet Shemesh will allow the Torah to influence all of their actions, not just how they learn or keep Shabbos. May all of our other actions be sanctified as well with the spirit of the Torah and may we be zocheh to bring a true Kiddush Hashem in our community.

Chayim Soloveichik

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  1. Maybe the posters were put up by an individual and dont reflect a group?
    All I know is soldiers have been getting calls at base, telling them we can get you out of base to vote. By the way, r you voting Eli Cohen?
    Trickery at its finest. Manipulation of soldiers.............................................

    1. why is that any different or worse than any party offering rides to vote or anythign else they do to help the voter?

    2. Manipulation? You've really got to be kidding me. In the first election, the army was set up to enable soldiers to vote on their bases. This time, because it's only two cities voting, the logistics are more difficult. For many units and soldiers, it means releasing an individual soldier in the middle of who knows what place, and in the middle of who knows what task, to find transportation home and back for a few hours to vote. And you're really suggesting that there's something wrong with the Cohen campaign trying to ensure that the soldier vote isn't lost because of these logistics? Do you have no limit to your chutzpah? Written by the father of a soldier who would very much like to get home, after several difficult weeks without time off, in order to exercise his democratic right to vote.

  2. How about taking people out of yeshiva to vote? Last election Abutbol bussed them in by the hundreds, they gave up learning to come to BS. Soldiers can't legally get a break to come vote?

    1. the misrad hapnim instructed the army to release soldiers to vote. it is perfectly legal.

  3. Interesting... a post implying whom not to support based on an aversion to their tactics, invoking a father's legacy; if Rav Aharon ztz"l were still with us, who knows exactly what he'd rule in this instance? I guess it's a bit late for a response from another community rabbi.

    1. I bet I know. And his son knows. He wouldn't, to emphasize your term, *rule*. He might share his opinion if asked; but he wouldn't *pasken* that anyone *must* vote one way or the other. You just have to go back and reread the first paragraph Rav Chayim wrote above. And Rav Aharon's brother was known to have the same approach. It's a hutzpah to say a son, who is a devoted talmud of his father, doesn't know what mesorah he received from his father and rav. Really ridiculous.

    2. Dear Mordechai,
      Thank you for responding to anonymous I agree with you write and I would like to add one point . Rav Ahron would not approve of someone knocking someone and then have the nerve of not signing his name.

      All the best,
      Baruch Kelman

  4. It is very good to see a Rav writing in terms of moderation. I also saw the referenced poster tonight: “I love G-d and therefore I won’t vote for people who hate G-d.” My reaction is that if the forces of light (i.e., Abutbul) really wish to make this into a holy war, they should elevate their rhetoric. There is a wealth of literature on which to draw. I suggest the following from Paradise Lost, Part I, lines 663 through 669:

    He [Satan, aka the supporters of Cohen, Lapid, Lipman, and others of their ilk from the forces of darkness] spake; and to confirm his words, out flew
    Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs
    Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze
    Far round illumined Hell. Highly they raged
    Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms
    Clashed on their sounding shields the din of war,
    Hurling defiance toward the vault of Heaven.

    Now that's rhetoric. C'mon, guys, there's only a few hours left, lets get it going!

  5. Kol hakavod to Rabbi Chayim Soloveichik who has proven himself to be the true community leader of RBS.

  6. We need more Jews to wake up from their brainwashed "daas torah" stupor and follow the letter and spirit of the Torah.

  7. Learn as much as you can about the candidates and their actual positions and vote accordingly.


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