empty Blue and White: Shmuel Sackett

Why I Offered A 50,000 Shekel Reward

Three weeks ago, I saw a video that broke my heart. A chareidi mother and father were standing in...

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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 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.

Three weeks ago, I saw a video that broke my heart. A chareidi mother and father were standing in their apartment, begging for help in finding their 16-year-old son. The boy’s name is Moishe Kleinerman, and he has now been missing for 100 days. His parents, Shmuel and Gitty, are heartbroken (who wouldn’t be?) and they are trying everything possible to publicize his picture and his story.

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…”