Shaarei Shamayim

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Are you suffering from post-election blues? Are you one of those who can’t bear to listen to the post-election news but, at the same time, can’t stop watching it? According to the Pew Research Center Hillary Clinton received 71% of the Jewish vote—that leaves 71% of America’s Jews disappointed.

However, Jews were not among those protesting in the streets last week. What were they protesting? That the election was rigged? That’s what Trump claimed! And who were they protesting against? The American people? The majority of American people voted against Donald Trump! It may have been only a few hundred thousand votes, but from most accounts, it seems that Trump lost the popular vote! Some were protesting against the Wall Street elite influencing Washington. But it was Hillary Clinton that beholden to Wall Street donations.

So what’s with these protesters? If they want to protest, I’ll them what they should do…they should go to the home of Colin Kaepernick—the backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers—who in protest against America’s racial issues, refuses to stand for the Star Bangled Banner. Do you know who Kaepernick voted for? He didn’t vote! He thinks he can change America by sitting on his behind. It’s people like him the protestors should be crying out against! 

The fact is, America is greatly divided. Those whose voted for Hillary Clinton are fearful over what the next 4 years may bring. But let’s not forget that just 8 years ago, nearly half of America was also upset and concerned with the transfer of power taking place from conservative George Bush to a strongly liberal Barack Obama. They managed to survive that. And Trump’s opponents will also manage to survive him. But that’s not what you would think from reading through the press:

- David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, refers to the election as an “American tragedy.”

- Paul Krugman, op-ed columnist for the New York Times, writes: “Is America a failed state?”

- Peter Beinart writes in the Atlantic Magazine: “I still love America to my core but I don’t trust it [now] in the same way.”

- Neal Gabler, author and critic, proclaims: “America died on Nov 8, 2016…not with a bang or a whimper but at its own hand via electoral suicide.”

- Jane Eisner, editor of The Forward newspaper, concludes: “America is a new place and I don’t know where, as a Jew, I fit in. All I know is that my daughter is crying and I don’t know what to say.”

- Dana Milbank, in the Washington Post, also expresses concern for his daughter: “As I watched the returns and Donald Trump’s celebration on Tuesday night the hardest part was trying to reassure my 2nd grade daughter…that she would be okay.”

In case you didn’t notice, all these writers are Jewish. It reached a point where the Israeli newspaper Haaretz carried a headline describing a phenomenon in some liberal American synagogues last week: “U.S. Synagogues Invite Grieving Jews to Sit Shiva Together after Trump Victory!” Shiva? Really? This is so demeaning to a meaningful and holy Jewish mourning ritual.

As you may remember, I didn’t have a lot of good things to say about Donald Trump over the course of the campaign. But I say to these writers and to those who voted for Hillary: Yes, this election was very important, but your lives and the lives of your children are not going to be much different in 4 years than it is right now just as the lives of those who voted against Barak Obama didn’t change that much. I hope it doesn’t seem too harsh from me to say to you: Get a life and deal with it!

Let me help with the words of Rabbi Anchelle Perl who gives us some sagely advice: When one mourns and laments hopelessly he has erased Gd from the equation and fails to trust in His presence and His divine plan. Both excessive mourning and extreme celebration presume to fully understand the meaning and implications of a particular event or experience.

          We recognize that ultimately it is the Master of the Universe who orchestrates domestic, foreign and all policies and their consequences. Whether we are Democratic or Republican, on every bill in our currency and adorning the House of Representatives is the phrase “In Gd We Trust.”

          So yes, we campaign, lobby, and advocate for our candidate and on behalf of the policies that we think are best. But when the election is over, when the dust settles, it is with deep humility and profound modesty that we place our trust in Gd.

It’s no secret that I didn’t vote for Barak Obama because I feared he would not be good for Israel. Although I was profoundly disappointed and fearful when he won twice, I just put my faith in Gd saying, “If this is Your will Hashem, than I accept that it is for the best.” As I’m fond of saying—I just let go and let Gd. As it says in the Book of Daniel (5:21): “The Supreme Gd rules over the kingdom of men and whomever He wishes, He appoints over it.” Ultimately, this verse teaches us, the major leaders of the world are in power—for reasons known only to Gd—because Gd wants them there. And guess what? After 8 years of Barak Obama Israel is still here—as prosperous and as strong as ever. Yes, Israel now faces difficult challenges it didn’t have before Obama—like the Iran nuclear deal—but I have faith that Gd will help guide her with this as well.

Israeli mystic, Rabbi Pinchas Winston, sees confirmation of Donald Trump’s presidency in this past week’s astronomical phenomenon of the “Supermoon.” Did you notice that on Monday night the moon appeared much larger? This was because it was closer to the earth than it had been in 68 years and so it appeared about 15-20% larger? Rabbi Winston writes: In Talmudic thought, a lunar eclipse is a bad omen, whereas a full moon reflects the strength of the Jewish people, who represent Gd’s Word in the world…The Supermoon coming out at this time could be a Divine confirmation of sorts that Gd is behind all this [to strengthen Israel]—the very fact that Trump was elected, despite all the scandalous reports of his behavior during the campaign, could be intended to make it clear that Gd is behind his win.

          It’s very significant that the last Supermoon was in 1948, a prelude to the Jewish people prevailing over the Nazi effort to destroy them and the establishment of the State of Israel.

At the end of October, Russian/Israeli mathematician Eliyahu Ripps—who has done the pioneering work on the Torah Codes—revealed a code in the Book of Numbers where the name Donald Trump—spelled in Hebrew—was next to the word bocheyr (chosen or elected). Also in proximity were the words nasi (president), Artzot haBrit (United States) and 7 Cheshvan 5777—which was Tuesday, November 8, 2016, Election Day.

I don’t know how much faith you may put in the musings of these mystics. I find it somewhat reassuring—despite the fact that Donald Trump was not my choice for president. But I hope I won’t offend anyone if I say that I believe—just as I did with the election of Barack Obama—that Donald Trump—for reasons only known to Gd—is ultimately Gd’s choice for president.

Last week in the Torah we read about another election—the election of Abraham to be Gd’s chosen leader to create the people of Gd who will walk in His ways and follow His commandments. This election is confirmed in this week’s parsha as Abraham is tested as he agrees and attempts to carry out the Akeda, the sacrifice of his son Isaac. As Gd stops him He tells Abraham (Gen. 22:12): “Now I know that you are a Gd-fearing man, since you have not withheld your son, your only one, from Me.” Donald Trump will be severely tested as well—as most presidents are. We can only pray the he will choose the Gdly path.

This week all Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving. As Americans, we need to be thankful that we are living in the greatest country in the history of Gd’s green earth. Despite our differences and despite the hateful rhetoric this presidential campaign has produced, we are all Americans sharing the same values of justice and freedom for all.

As Jews, America gave us a safe harbor when no one else would—from colonial times till our parents and grandparents came here—a harbor free from persecution that has allowed us to prosper. And for that alone we Jews will always be grateful.

Donald Trump is now our president-elect. Whether you voted for him or not, I’m sure you will join me in praying, “May Gd help him successfully face the challenges ahead and bring peace and prosperity for all Americans. Amen!

                                                Rabbi Mark Hillel Kunis


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