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A Child Tantrums, A Capitol Burns
In the previous post, I wrote about how the modern mass-kollel phenomenon has to be understood as the result of a complex array of factors. In complete contrast to this is yesterday's appalling events at the US Capitol, which were due to one very simple cause: The tantrum of a man-child who does not care about the consequences of his actions for others. The readership of this website includes the full range of political views, so I will immediately address those readers who will protest this condemnation.
"But the election was stolen!"
I don't know anything about the intricacies of the vote-counting process. I don't need to. All one needs to know is that the Republican-appointed electoral officials and federal judges and senators and congressmen all agree that Biden won and that there was no widespread fraud. And to claim that all these Republican appointees and representatives are part of a conspiracy to undermine the Republican party is ridiculous.
At the same time, it is completely reasonable to believe that Trump fabricated the "stolen election" story. Because this is a man-child with the most extraordinarily narcissistic fragile ego. He cannot possibly ever accept that he made any mistakes or did anything wrong or is flawed in any way. The way he sees things, if he lost the election, it must be that it was stolen from him. And his tribalist supporters are all too eager to delude themselves into thinking that he must be correct. And like the tantrum-throwing child who smashes everything when he loses the game, Trump doesn't care how much harm he causes to the United States; the only thing he cares about is his bruised ego.
"But they didn't actually burn anything! They weren't like the BLM rioters!"
When Titus entered the Temple, the only one who was killed was a pig. But the symbolic significance of that event was appalling. Storming the Capitol is more than the equivalent of looting and burning stores.
"But Trump told them to stop!"
Yeah, right. That was after he had spent weeks riling them up. It's like the charedi rabbonim who constantly describe (or tolerate the descriptions of) their opponents as Amalek and then profess no responsibility for the acts of zealots.
"But Trump has done so much good for Israel!"
Yes, he has; the Abraham Accords have completely revolutionized the paradigm for the Middle East. Hopefully the events of yesterday have not undermined them. But in the same way as Trump's actions should not negate the value of the Abraham Accords, the Abraham Accords should not negate the terrible destruction to the fabric of the United States that Trump's madness has wrought - nor our obligation to condemn it.
"But the Democrats/ Liberals/ Progressives have done so many terrible things!"
So? That is irrelevant.
I would like to conclude with the following insight from Rabbi Zev Reichman of East Hill Synagogue in Englewood:
In Pirkei Avot, Rabbi Chanina Segan Hakohanim declared that we are to pray Lishlomah Shel Malchut, for the peace of the Government, She’ilmalei Mora’ah Ish Et Rei’eihu Chayim Bala’u, for without its fear man would swallow his friend. Why was Rabbi Chanina the one to teach us this lesson? Rav Meir Shapiro asked another question. Segan means assistant. Why was he Segan Hakohanim, assistant to many High Priests? Wouldn’t the assistant serve as understudy for a High Priest and upon the High Priest's passing, he would then assume the role of High Priest? Rav Shapiro answered that during the Second Temple era the Romans controlled Jerusalem. They would sell the position of High Priest to the highest bidder. Rav Chanina was not a man of means. The Romans continually passed over him by awarding the role of Kohen Gadol to other Kohanim, not deserving of the position. Even though the Romans repeatedly snubbed and hurt Rav Chanina, the eternal assistant to High Priests, he was the one who taught by example and declared that praying for the welfare of government was of paramount importance.
Today's desecration of the Capitol reminds us that we need to pray for the welfare of our beloved country and its citizens. Please choose to pray for our Republic and Constitution. Tehilim chapters 121 and 130 are appropriate to recite.
May Hashem hear our pleas and bless this wonderful country with respect, civility, and peace.
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