Colors: Green Color

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.

I can live to be 1,000 and will never understand how Memorial Day is commemorated in the United States. According to the website Military.com, “Since the Revolutionary War ended, 646,596 American troops have died in battle.” Many other sources give numbers higher than that, but let’s use that one for this article. This past week was Memorial Day, and the country was being asked to honor the memory of those 646,596 heroes. How was that done? Let’s check it out.

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.

Allow me to answer the question right away: We pray for both! Our daily t’filos are filled with requests for peace. In Shacharis alone, we mention the word “shalom” about 20 times. Yet, in those same morning prayers, we recite chapter 149 of T’hilim with the words, “To exact vengeance among the nations.” On certain days throughout the year, we say “Avinu Malkeinu,” which includes the request: “Our Father, our King, avenge before our eyes the spilled blood of Your servants.” On Shabbos, just prior to returning the Torah to the ark, we say; “May He (Hashem) before our eyes, exact retribution for the spilled blood of His servants, as is written in the Torah of Moshe, the man of G-d, ‘Oh nations, sing the praise of His people for He will avenge the blood of His servants and bring retribution upon His foes’… Why should the nations say, ‘Where is their G-d?’ Let there be known among the nations, before our eyes, revenge for Your servants’ spilled blood…”

I want you to think about a concept that nobody talks about. You won’t hear your rav speak about this on Shabbos. You won’t read an article on this subject in any Jewish magazine, and you certainly won’t hear any politician speak this way. I am referring to the important aspect of fighting the Jewish enemy and, while extremely difficult and painful, how it is an integral – and necessary – part of our national life.