We are standing at the crossroads of exile and redemption. Slavery to our past and the freedom of the future. We are standing at the proverbial Red Sea. Are you ready to jump in?
Although the threat of attack by hostile neighbors constantly hangs over Israel’s very existance, the underlying message of the times for the Jewish people is to leave the pre-Holocaust period of constant fear and apprehension, and with great courage create a “new world,” one that will hasten the Messianic era. For this to occur we need an enlightened leadership graced by God with the “spirit of counsel and might.”
Excerpt from Awakening the Spark Within by Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh
We understand that Knesset Yisrael, the people of Israel, in a very deep sense are the vessel that on a national and personal level has been given a misson to enable the Divine presence to rest here as it desires to do. How does that jive with our current political system? After all we often look at politics as a divisive arena, where loshon hora and personal vilification reign supreme. It does not need to be that way. Rav Ginsburgh recently pointed out: The HaYom Yom of the 26th of Adar, which was the date of the latest Elections (as well as the elections within Derech Chaim) says the following:
With three instruments of service – love of G-d, love of Torah and love of Israel – must young students of Torah approach their Avoda in the vineyard of the L-rd of Hosts, to bring the hearts of their brothers closer to observing practical mitzvot and to designating regular time for Torah study. They must do this without paying any attention to the affliction of factions. The absolute truth is that the heart of Israel is a wellspring, a source of living waters,and there is a “covenant” with effort and publicity – that they shall never be fruitless.
The “affliction of factions” literally uses the words in Hebrew: מחלות מפלגות. The מפלגות is the modern word for Parties (political). One root of this strife we see in our present system and that goes for almost all Democracies, is the false Left Right paradigm. It is true, there are varrying view points. These view points create disunity when viewed inside a left right context. Afterall the Tree of Life, which is reflected in the ten sefirot chart shows unity between the right and left.
One gematria Rav Ginsburgh brought down in a teaching just over two years ago is the gematria of
שמאלני (Rightwing) + ימני (Leftwing) = (Israel) ישראל
True Jewish leadership seeks unity amongst Am Yisrael and like the Ha Yom says, it must be done through Ahavat Yisrael.
Each one of us has the power to change the World. Why Because each of us has a piece of the Creator within. This spark is the potential to rule over our surroundings and establish the Kingship of the Creator here.
Let’s take this a little deeper.
Within each of us is a King. King in Hebrew is מלך.
Brain = מ = מח
Heart = ל = לב
Liver = ך = כבד
Our Kingship is part of us. The true King or Leader pushes each one us and integrates each one of us into the Kingdom of Israel in order to actualize this spark of leadership, which is specially designed to express the Kingship of the Creator in the World.
The Jewish Bible is replete with statements concerning te Ultimate Leader that is to appear at the end of days and rescue us from exile. There seems to be two opposing avenues in reaching this goal: miraculous or natural. The sages of the Talmud were aware of this internal conflict within the Jewish Bible to the point where they commented on daf 98:a in tractate Sanhedrin.
And behold, one like the son of man came with the clouds of heavenwhilst [elsewhere] it is written, [behold, thy king cometh unto thee … ] lowly, and riding upon a donkey! (Zechariah 9:7) — if they are meritorious, [he will come] with the clouds of heaven;(Daniel 7:13) if not, lowly and riding upon a donkey.
So which is it? In order to warrant “with the clouds of heaven” we have to have merit within our actions and if not then the Ultimate Leader comes naturally in order to lead us to refine ourselves and the world which will in turn bring us to a truly miraculous future.
Derech Chaim was established to enable all of us together to build Beit David in a real way, hoping for the miraculous, but aware that we have to work in the physical world.
The Jewish people are more than just a State. We are a collective entity whose influence is felt globally, far beyond the borders of the modern State of Israel. Its true the State of Israel holds more Jews than anyother singe country, but authentic Judaism in the modern age calls for a global movement where the individual Jew within the broader collective can feel his or her voice creating and changing the Nation’s future.
To truly change the Jewish People’s immediate situation, the necessity to look towards Israel as the center of World Jewry but not the exclusive representation of World Jewry is paramount for real sovereignty in a global sense. To better understand how this can be achieved, one has to first accept that a Jew no matter where they are represents the true King, G-d. Through a Jew’s actions his personal kingship is revealed in that place and with the personal kingship comes the National. To the degree a Jew is connected to this idea he can extend the National boundry no matter where he is in the world.
For World Jewry to truly achieve it’s Divine potential we need a new outlook on sovereignty and global unity.
Given the Western world’s emphasis on the need to spread Democracy throughout the world and the importance it places on this goal, it is necessary to discuss how and if Democracy is Jewish. Afterall some of the Jewish world’s past and present political leaders fully accept the principal that Democracy is not only just, but Jewish.
Let’s take Wikipedia’s following definition of democracy:
“Democracy is a form of government based upon four elements: 1) The citizens choose and replace the government through free and fair elections; 2) There is active participation of the citizens in politics and civic life; 3) There is protection of the human rights of all citizens; and 4) There is rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens. Eligible citizens are able to: 1) vote for the passing/rejecting of laws or run for office during elections, 2) join political parties, sit on boards or committees, and criticize or protest, 3) feel that some of their rights are protected, and 4) receive a fair trial if accused of breaking the countries laws. Politicians represent their constituents in the proposal, development and establishment of the laws by which their society is run.”
There are many forms of governing according to the above, but let’s take the most well known, which is the American version. What makes America’s form of Democracy or at least the intended form at the time of the enactment of the constitution was that the founding fathers of the USA had an affinity to Jewish sources such as the Talmud and Bible.
Separation of Powers and the Three Crowns
Perhaps one of the greatest contributions to modern statecraft is the idea of separation of powers. This means that all three branches of governement are equal, this preventing dictatorial take over. We can see the same idea within the Jewish version of government.
Perkei Avot (Ethics of Our Fathers) states that there are three crowns: the Crown of the Priests, Crown of the Torah, and the Crown of the King. One only has to take a cursory glance in the Rambam’s Mishne Torah to understand that these three crowns are expressed in the halacha (rules) of state craft. There are the Priests of the Temple, the Sanhedrin or assemby of wise men who legislate the laws for the Nation, and the King.
It does not take much to see the parallels:
The priests can be analagous to the Supreme Court, the Sanhedrin to the Congress, and the King to the Executive branch.
A King is Not Democratic
Of course and what is important to understand is the comparison above is really where Democracy and Judaism start and finish. It is true that Judaism places a tremndous emphasis on respecting one’s fellow Tzelem Elokim, but this should never be construed as a rights based ideology, which Democracy espouses. There is now voting on a National scale in Judaism. One does not vote for the King, the Priest, nor the members of the Sanhedrin. It is true there are local councils and in many ways one can find similar expressions in the colonial days of the USA, but those are long gone.
There are other instances of similarities to the early days of the American Republic and a pure Jewish governship, such as an electoral college or that voting be reserved to Land owners, but in today’s narrative of Democracy equalling one vote per citizen, the Torah and Judaism do not agree.
One can argue that American Democracy as we see it today more closely resembles that which grew out of the French Revolution of 1789 rather than the Founding Fathers which intended a Republic closer to a Jewish model, but that narrative never played out.
Essentially when one looks at the National construct represented in Judaism, the idea of a King no matter how restrained he is, puts the system at odds with Democracy.