We are all busy preparing for Pesach: shopping, cleaning, learning the Haggadah, packing for the hotel in Aruba… Trust me: We are all doing something for the upcoming holiday. So while you are getting ready, I want to ask you a question: If Hashem wanted us to be slaves in Egypt and then free us, why did He wait 210 years? Why weren’t we slaves for “just” 42 years… or 133 years… or 209 years, 51 weeks and three days? That wouldn’t have been enough? Why the enslavement for a full and back-breaking 210 years… and not a day less?
The answer is simple: Hashem has His reasons and calculations and we will never understand them. Yes, you will probably hear some wild g’matria about the number 210, but those are nothing more than cute explanations. The real answer is what I just wrote: Hashem’s clock is different from ours (get the pun?) and when we think that it’s “game over,” Hashem says, “Not just yet, My children. A little longer…”
This thought has been going through my head ever since Election Day ended in Israel. For the last 100 days, I have worked 16+ hours a day on the campaign to get the new Zehut party elected to the Knesset. It started slowly, with most people doubting us. It was hard to get people to listen and even harder for them to contribute funds (which was my main area of work). We kept pushing the heavy load uphill and, in the beginning of February, things started to turn positive. Polls showed us crossing the “electoral threshold” and people’s eyes opened. By the end of February we were in a totally different place. The media, which had slammed the phone on us multiple times, began calling and begging that our leader, Moshe Feiglin, be interviewed on prime time shows. Our 344-page platform became the #1 bestselling book in Israel, and thousands identified with our vision and ideology. Our conferences were packed with people eager to listen, culminating with an event in Tel Aviv unprecedented in Israeli politics: 2,500 people – from all walks of life – filling up “Hangar 11” to catch some of our electricity and energy. Our Facebook pages, YouTube channels, and websites were breaking records, and people searched for us on Google more than all other Israeli political parties combined! Articles were written about us in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times of London, and Newsweek! Simply put, a political revolution was brewing and it was called “Zehut.” Things couldn’t have been better.
Naturally, we were expecting great results on election night. We rented a big ballroom in a hotel in Ramat Gan and were planning on dancing all night. Our dreams of what Israel needed to do in Education, Economy, Security, and Health Care were about to be realized, and the words from our platform were about to be put into action. We were tired from a long campaign, but so excited that we couldn’t walk… we were running and jumping! And then came the results:
No Knesset seats for Zehut. Nothing. The polls – which had us getting between six and eight seats – were all wrong. The nation loved our ideas but they did not give us their vote. For several hours, we were in a state of disbelief. We were stunned, shocked, and our hearts were broken. Many of us were angry, some were sad, and all of us were frustrated. We went home with our heads down. We had expected victory yet received defeat and it wasn’t pleasant.
I am writing this article 36 hours after the results were announced and – to be perfectly honest – it still hurts but I found an explanation: We were ready but Hashem was not. For whatever reason, Hashem decided that it wasn’t the right time for Zehut to begin making changes in Israel. We thought it was, but Hashem runs the world and does not have to explain Himself to us. I trust our Father in Heaven 100 percent, and just as He wanted us to be slaves for 210 years – when we thought 197 was enough – Hashem said “not yet.”
Yes, I feel like I have been punched in the face by Mike Tyson and will be seeing stars for the next 11 days. My nose will have to be pulled out of the back of my head and nine teeth will have to be replaced, but I’ll be fine – and so will everybody else who is involved in Zehut. We accept the decree of our Father and King and have only love for everything He does.
There’s just one more question that needs to be answered: What now? Well, the first thing that needs to be done is the oven and then the stove top. After that, I will clean the refrigerator, freezer, and then all the cabinets. Yes, I am the Pesach kitchen-cleaning man. My wife and I have a great partnership. She cleans the kitchen 51 weeks a year, and I clean it for Pesach. Don’t worry; on the cooking side it’s her all 52 weeks and, believe me, you don’t want me ever on that side of the kitchen!
As far as the “what now” for Zehut, allow me to simply state that we are down but far from out. Our election defeat will not stop us from bringing our positive message to the people of Israel. We are not in the demonstration business, nor are we complainers, kvetchers, or whiners. We have solutions for many of Israel’s problems and we will continue spreading our ideology and vision for the values of Liberty, Strength, and, of course, Torah. Am Yisrael is not finished with Zehut; we will keep working and praying and will be ready for when Hashem says, “NOW!”
Am Yisrael Chai!
Shmuel Sackett is a product of Queens. Born in Middle Village, a graduate of YCQ and YHSQ, he served as Havurat Yisrael’s first youth director and was the founder of two NCSY chapters in Forest Hills. In 1990, Sackett made aliyah and is the co-founder of the Israeli political party “Zehut” (ZehutInterntional.com). He and his wife make their home in Herzliya Pituach and are blessed with six children and many grandchildren.