Blue and White: Shmuel Sackett

Israeli Elections - Round Five

Israelis head to the polls next week (Tuesday, November 1) for the fifth time since 2019. Many...

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By the time you read this, we may well know the result of the Special Election for the City Council. But if you think there will be a respite from politics, guess again. The big election this year will be the Primary on June 22. The winner has already started running for re-election and potential opponents are already gearing up. They will start collecting signatures to get on the ballot in less than three weeks.

Israelis head to the polls next week (Tuesday, November 1) for the fifth time since 2019. Many people have asked me why this happens, and my answer is always the same: Israelis just want a day off! Election Day in Israel is similar to the one thing I miss about life in America: Sunday! No work, no school – just a day to spend with the family. Since the act of voting takes less than ten minutes, which includes schmoozing with friends on the voting line and yelling at the leftists who are campaigning to destroy the country, a whole day is left to enjoy with the kids and grandkids.

Many of us would not consider ourselves political individuals and do not put going to the polls on our list of priorities. Nonetheless, casting your ballot gives you a voice on issues ranging from housing and education to employment and healthcare. Being involved in the voting process allows you make a real difference in the makeup and decisions within your community. Casting a vote has dire consequences for the quality of life that both you and your family experience today and in the years ahead. From riding the bus or train to raising minimum wage to getting better textbooks in school, your vote decides how these issues will play out. Casting your ballot affords you the opportunity to delegate how your hard-earned tax dollars are divvied out for necessities like medical expenses and social services that many take for granted.

I am currently in New York celebrating a family simchah. As I walked into shul this past Friday night, the gabbai ran over to me and said, “Shmuel, we’d love for you to daven for us tonight. Can you daven fast?” I looked him straight in the eye and said, “You asked the wrong question. It’s not about if I can daven fast – it’s about if I can daven b’simchah.” He looked at me, smiled cordially and said, “Maybe next time.”

Everyone is congratulating Bibi Netanyahu on his victory in the recent Israeli elections. President Biden called him, and the world is getting ready for another term of Netanyahu as Prime Minister. There’s only one problem: Contrary to what everyone is saying and everything you are reading, Bibi did not win these elections! Think I’m crazy? (Don’t answer that!) Allow me to explain.

I’ve never been a fan of Kabbalah. I acknowledge that it is based in tremendous holiness and wisdom, but it’s simply way over my head. I have tried to understand it – several times – but it goes in one ear and out the other. I think the reason for this is because I am a Jew who is deeply rooted in the world of action. You want me to shake a lulav, put on t’filin, eat matzah, and lend money to the poor? No problem – tell me how. Explain the details of the commandment and I will gladly perform the task. It is an honor and an amazing privilege to serve the King of Kings, but I need proper instructions and guidelines. Telling me, on the other hand, that the left side of my body is affected while simultaneously connecting me to the attribute of splendor makes me ask the great question: Huh?