Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
How are we supposed to deal with yet another round of elections? Rav Yehuda Henkin passed away just over a week ago. He made aliyah from the United States and was a prominent educator and authority on Jewish law. He was also the father of Rav Eitam Henkin who was murdered with his wife in a terrorist attack. In one of his articles, he wrote that election day is supposed to be a day of prayer and Torah study, as follows:
“For some reason, elections are considered to be a strictly secular matter. Every resource is drawn upon to propagandize, to recruit voters, to organize rallies and all the rest. We do not minimize any of these efforts. On the other hand, there is nothing that demands more guidance from above than election of our leaders.
“Who among us can predict the future, and who can see into the hearts of the candidates? And if we were to know what is in their hearts, we do not know — and the candidates themselves do not know — what will happen tomorrow and how they will react to future events. We have already known those who have been elected due to a certain platform yet, in practice, they did the opposite. Leadership that looks good today may be revealed as a disaster tomorrow and vice versa. We require an enormous amount of heavenly assistance regarding elections.
“Elections are no less important than war, and sometimes are even more fateful. Whoever thinks that the lexicon of elections begins with ‘rally’ and ends with ‘propaganda’ is in error. To this vocabulary we need to add ‘Torah,’ ‘prayer,’ ‘teshuva,’ and ‘tzedakah.'”