Last Wednesday, following the invasion of the United States Capitol by Trump supporters, I posted on a rabbinic chat in which I participate that it looks like the Never-Trumpers have been vindicated. One of the rabbis on the chat, a longtime Never-Trumper, posted in response that he is impressed with my honesty in my admission. I then wrote that it would be nice to hear an admission from Never-Trumpers that he was the best (American) president Israel ever had. Of course, that was not forthcoming and never will be.
In the meantime, the country is left reeling, as the Democrats now are planning a second impeachment of the President with just over a week to go in his term. We are left saying to ourselves, “Who could have imagined…?”
Who could have imagined that the United States Capitol would be invaded by American citizens as police watch helplessly?
Who could have imagined that the FBI would issue warnings to protect State Capitol buildings from riots on Inauguration Day of the next president?
But we also need to ask:
Who could have imagined that half the population would be called “deplorable” by a presidential candidate?
Who could have imagined that freedom of the press as we knew it is terminating as the major players in the media conspire to squelch any expression of political thinking not to their liking?
Who could have imagined that cities, houses of worship, and courthouses would burn over the summer with little repercussion?
Who could have imagined that in a presidential debate, one candidate would say to the current president, “Shut up, man!”
Who could have imagined that the Speaker of the House would, with impunity, rip up the script of the President’s State of the Union address in front of all to see.
We are living in frightening times indeed. An unstable country is the worst situation that Jews could face. As Rabbi Chanina S’gan HaKohanim (Assistant of the High Priest) proclaimed in Pirkei Avos (3:2), “Pray for the welfare of the government, for if not for the fear of it, men would swallow each other alive.”
We have a lot to pray for. Let us pray for the unity of our country. Let us pray that Hashem grant President-Elect Biden the leadership qualities and commitment to lead us back to civility. Amen.
Rabbi Yoel Schonfeld is the Rabbi of the Young Israel of Kew Gardens Hills, Vice President of the Coalition for Jewish Values, former President of the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, and the Rabbinic Consultant for the Queens Jewish Link.