It’s been a long time, way too long since I posted. I missed you guys. But what a College Rabbi parshah did I pick to come back. Noah is one of the most controversial figures in all of Tanakh (the Bible) and we’ve got mad controversy these days. It’s always the case that the parshah always somehow speaks to currents, and nothing could be more connected to parshat Noah than the complete meltdown that represents the end of this presidential election.
Many people on both sides of the political aisle want it to end, ALL of it. The idea of a huge meteor coming and ending life as we know it has become such a popular idea that even the Huffington Post endorsed it. It is obviously an enticing idea, given people’s sentiments about both of the two people most likely to run this country for the next four years.
This isn’t a new idea though. Actually, the idea is over 4,000 years old. Noah, to a certain extent, took this position with his generation. When G-d threatened to destroy the world through a flood, Noah complied with His instructions to build the Ark, thus only saving those fit to be saved on their own merits. The SMOD of his day, the Flood, did in fact destroy the world with only Noah’s family surviving. The Hatam Sofer contrasts his behavior with Avraham, who went out of his way to pray for those who were unfit on their own merits to live, and who did enable people to repent. Noah presided over a destroyed world; Avraham became the Father of Nations. All of this due to their perceptions of their responsibilities toward the world.
I, like many of you, are most displeased with our candidates. I can tell you volumes of literature and tons of speeches have been given by rabbis about how NOT to behave, using these two as examples. However, there is not only a civic duty to vote, but according to Rav Moshe Feinstein a fulfillment of the mitzvah (commandment) of hakarat hatov, recognizing the good others have done for us. He says that the United States is a kingdom of kindness, and we need to repay it by taking part in the democratic process. Voting for the Sweet Meteor of Death, as amusing as it sounds, is not a choice either. When voting, this election more than any other, we cannot vote based on to what extent the candidate’s personal life is consistent with Torah values. What we can do is use our Torah values to inform our voting: preserving the sanctity of Life, supporting policies that help our Torah and other charitable institutions, supporting our brothers and sisters in Israel, just to name a few.
May Hashem our G-d protect us, that the results of this election will make comparisons to the Flood hyperbole and melodrama only.