For each of us, this election represented something different. For some, this election was a referendum on the status quo. For some, it was a referendum on the political establishment. For many this election was a statement on how we should treat the vulnerable among us.
This past political cycle has been one of anger and frustration — feelings that have crossed party lines. In the days and months ahead, the dust will settle and tempers will be calmed, but the question will remain: “What lessons can we reap from what has passed?”
While we can be sure that the lessons reaped will be many, what is clear is that our country is in pain and fiercely divided. For years, we have been complaining of partisan gridlock and an inability to come together as a nation. It is time for us to guide our politicians in how to come together as a nation. It is easy for us to believe the views of another are wrong and backward and should be ignored or rejected. However, as our teacher Rav Kook reminds us, “All the defects of the world, the material and the spiritual, all derive from the fact that every individual sees only the one aspect of existence that pleases him, and all other aspects that are uncomprehended by him seem to deserve purging from the world. And the thought leaves its imprint in individuals and groups, on generations and epochs, that whatever is outside one’s own is destructive and disturbing. The result is a multiplication of conflict.” (Orot Ha-Kadosh I, 120; translation from Rabbi Ben Zion Bokser’s The Essential Writings of Abraham Isaac Kook)
If we want to be able to help heal the wounds of our fellow citizens, wounds that are felt by members of every spectrum of political allegiance, it means having to meet each other where we are and acknowledge that we each have a different way of viewing and experiencing the world and that we each carry an element of the Divine Spark within.
At the same time we are also called by our tradition to constantly pursue justice. Therefore, as we move forward, let us always work to preserve that Divine Spark within us all. Let us use our voices for tools of shalom and let our actions be the example of the shalom bayit we wish to find within our borders and let us be unafraid to stand up for the principles we believe in.
May we each find the strength to find hope instead of despair; to find love instead of hate; and to always walk justly, particularly when it is hard to do so.
Rabbi Philip Bazeley | Rabbi Joshua Finkelstein | Rabbi Eli Garfinkel | Rabbi Dov Goldberg | Rabbi Bryan Kinzbrunner | Rabbi Marc Kline | Rabbi Nathan Langer | Rabbi Ben Levy | Rabbi Laurence Malinger | Rabbi Eliot Malomet | Rabbi Bennett Miller | Rabbi Joel Mishkin | Rabbi Kerry Olitzky | Rabbi Melinda Panken | Rabbi Robert Pilavin | Rabbi Michael Pont | Rabbi Esther Reed | Rabbi Bernhard Rosenberg | Rabbi Eric Rosin | Rabbi Ari Yehuda Saks | Rabbi Aaron Schonbrun | Rabbi Ellie Shemtov | Rabbi Shira Stern | Rabbi David Vaisberg | Rabbi Don Weber | Rabbi Robert Wolkoff | Rabbi Gerald Zelizer