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Our elections, our choices

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

1. Yes, even for the fifth time in four years, it is a privilege to vote in our democratic Jewish state where we change governments with ballots, not with tanks that roll up to the parliament building.

2. Yes, there is significance in every vote. First of all, significance for us, for who we are, but also in the final results. To everyone who is apathetic and minimizes the importance of voting, let us recall words of the Rambam: "Throughout the entire year, a person should always look at himself as equally balanced between merit and sin and the world as equally balanced between merit and sin. If he performs one sin, he tips his balance and that of the entire world to the side of guilt and brings destruction upon himself. if he performs one mitzvah, he tips his balance and that of the entire world to the side of merit and brings deliverance and salvation to himself and others."

3. Today is the seventh of Cheshvan.  Each year on this date in Israel (in the Diaspora, on the 4th or 5th of December), the wording of the daily prayers changes; we begin to pray for rain in making this request: "And give dew and rain for a blessing." The rain has not only a physical benefit but a spiritual one too, as everything is washed and made clean, so that the entire world and we, too, undergo a kind of purification.

4. Over the last few weeks, we have heard the word "choice" numerous times in regards to one activity -- the choice we make when voting. But this week's Torah portion, Lech Lecha, reminds us that free choice does not end when we cast our ballots, but is pertinent to every moment of our lives. Avraham Avinu and Sara Imeinu go up on the stage of world history as the first people who choose to do good, who choose faith and act with righteousness and integrity. This week's parasha describes the good and proper choices they make regarding their family, their neighbors, and even their enemies. And so we go to the polls to vote today but in getting there must consider how the way we choose to drive affects the safety of others, how the way we choose to act towards poll workers affects them, and how the way we choose to spend this free day (many offices and businesses are closed in Israel on election day) can enhance our lives.

Have a good election day.


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