After The Election is Over

My sincere apologies to all who take offense to the expression of my concerns about the fateful election that now is upon us. I echo the sentiments of Abe
Foxman, who led the ADL for decades and maintained political neutrality for over 50 years but felt morally compelled to speak out against a President who he believes represents a clear and present danger to democracy and to all the Jewish values that we hold dear. I look forward to continued honest discussion to people on all sides of this and every other issue and to an outpouring of Jewish unity once this nightmare is finally over.”

After the election, the “party” is over for American Jews

As November approaches, our minds turn to thoughts of turkey, where in 17th century Smyrna Turkey, Kabbalist Sabbatai Tzvi taught the Torah as God’s word, and proclaimed himself God’s Messiah. Sabbatai means “Saturn”, and this planet is associated with the Messiah. Initially excommunicated as a heretic, Sabbatai was later heralded as the harbinger of the “world to come” by credulous Jewish masses across Europe and West Asia who abandoned their homes, their possessions and their rational minds to follow a deluded leader.

Support for Sabbatai reached fever pitch by the Jewish faithful, who believed the long-awaited Kingdom of God was at hand, but they had to wait a bit longer when Sabbatai was imprisoned by the grand vizier Ahmed Pasha and given an ultimatum by the Turkish Sultan of conversion to Islam or death. Seeking to avoid the fate of a previous crucified Messiah, Sabbatai chose apostasy over death, donned a turban and announced his conversion to Islam. Many followers could not believe they had been misled, so they followed his lead and also adopted Islam. Unhinged from reality, they viewed Sabbatai’s conversion as proof of his Messianic credentials rationalizing that a convert to Islam could unite Jews and Muslims to follow God’s ways.

Misplaced faith in false Messiahs by traditional Jews has plagued our people throughout history. In the Torah, Korah led deranged followers into Sheol, as they descended alive into the bowels of the Earth, other Jews followed Bar Kokhba, (son of the star) in an ill-fated Messianic revolt against Rome in 135 CE, which resulted in massive carnage and nearly 2000 years of exile. Some traditional Jews today regard Rabbi Schneerson as their Messiah, even though he died a natural death and performed no miracles.

Such misplaced trust by some traditional Jews continues today. With characteristic hubris that is always punished by the gods, Trump passed along a bizarre tweet to credulous admirers, proclaiming himself King of the Jews and the second coming of God. Sadly, his Jewish followers condoned rather than condemned such blasphemy, and continue to bend the knee in craven allegiance to one who mocks Jewish beliefs, separates children from parents and refers to humanity’s greatest threats of climate change and the coronavirus, as hoaxes. As loyalists of Sabbatai Tzvi threatened his foes with violence, Trump encourages his legions to assault his opponents, carry out dissenters on a stretcher, reject a peaceful transition to power and encourages anti-Semitic white supremacist thugs to kidnap and murder governors who act responsibly towards a lethal pandemic and “stand by” to await further instructions from their Commandant in chief.

Like our President, Sabbatai Tzvi loved prostitutes, which his deluded followers cited as evidence of his Messianic ability to redeem the fallen. Eventually, most Jews realized that Sabbatai Tzvi was a fraud and the Jewish community finally reunited and rebuilt their shattered communities, but only after many Jewish lives were destroyed. Like the followers of Jim Jones, Trump’s followers court death as Trump sows “mask” confusion at super spreader rallies and his top medical adviser, Scott Atlas shrugged at over ¼ million pandemic deaths.

Faith in Jewish ideals of love, truth and justice are preferable to blind faith in false Messiahs. As I write this article, I do not know who will win the election, but fervently hope that a climate change and coronavirus denier who courts servility over civility will be defeated.

As we approach November, it is time to talk turkey. However the election turns out, may all Jews realize that the “party is over” and instead of blind faith in political parties or false Messiahs, let us place our faith in reason, prophetic ideals, Jewish solidarity, and love of family, friends and all creation. Let us not respond with hate but love to the venomous attacks of our President and some of his followers against rational thinkers. As Martin Luther King taught, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” In 5781, may the Jewish people fulfill our sacred role as a light to the nations, and now that the election is over, unite with the power of love and the focus of a laser, to become the light that dispels darkness, hate and fear from the world.

Rabbi Silver and his InspiRational approach to Judaism can be reached at barryboca@aol.com.
This article appeared in the Jewish Journal