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Please Get Out and Vote on Election Day
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

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11/1/10

Please Get Out and Vote on Election Day

If we don’t vote, we don’t exist. It is as simple as that.

In this malchus shel chesed (benevolent country), we ought to be model citizens and exercise our civic duty by voting each Election Day.

But even if that does not motivate you to get to the polls, you ought to vote in your personal self-interest and those of our community.

Which candidate you vote for doesn’t matter much in the broader scheme of things. Just that you vote regularly. The level of sophistication in today’s data collection allows elected officials to track voting patterns, and almost effortlessly find out how many voters our dedicated heads of communal organizations represents each time they advocate for us. Not how many people, but rather how many voters.

Because if you don’t vote, you don’t matter. If you don’t vote, you don’t exist. If you don’t vote, you don’t have an elected official caring about your existence or needs. Rallies and protests get headlines, but they are merely sideshows. Elected officials direct their attention to the main event – Election Day.

Especially now, with the very real and terrifying threats faced by our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel, I feel that it is almost pikuach nefesh (a life-and-death matter) for each of us to vote and be heard.

I was only eight years old in 1967, but I clearly recall the raw fear that gripped the adults in my life during the build-up to the Six-Day War. Gamal Abdel Nasser, the President of Egypt, fashioned a coalition of the Arab states. Egypt, Jordan and Syria massed their troops on the borders surrounding Eretz Yisroel and announced their intention to “Push the Jews into the sea.” And by all accounts, they seemed to have had the ability to do just that, Hashem yeracheim. Russia, then in its heyday, was supplying the Arabs with seemingly limitless numbers of tanks and weapons, and the Arab troops combined outnumbered the Israeli soldiers by many multiples of ten.

Here in America, things were far from normal during those days and weeks. Survivors of the churban in Europe (most of the adults in those days) cried unabashedly in shul during davening as they pleaded with Hashem to spare the lives of our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel. Mass tefilah gatherings, not a common thing forty years ago, were held.

My most vivid memories from those frightening weeks was awakening each morning and seeing my parents huddled around the kitchen radio with drawn faces, listening to the reports of events in Eretz Yisroel. There was a tangible feeling of an existential threat to Klal Yisroel – one that, with the chesed of Hashem was removed with the stunning victory that became known as the Six-Day War.

Sadly, history is repeating itself once again. Our brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel are surrounded by a sea of enemies sworn to our destruction. The leader of Iran, who is in the process of creating a nuclear arsenal, repeatedly calls for the eradication r’l of Israel, and publicly stated that, “Israel’s destruction is the solution [to the conflict].”

We hope that Hashem will be merciful to us and remove these threats to our existence. But if there is, chas v’shalom, an escalation of the nuclear threat from Iran, or another war in Eretz Yisroel; dedicated leaders of Jewish organizations will be called upon to rally support from elected officials in every level of government to support the defense of our brothers and sisters.

With the burgeoning Arab population in the United States and Europe, elected officials have many voices whispering in their ears. They will rightfully wonder how many voters our leaders represent. Remember – not how many people, but how many voters.

So I ask you; will you exist, should Klal Yisroel need your help? Only you can answer that question – on Election Day, Tuesday, November 2nd.

Please, please take the time to vote; for yourself, for your community, and for Klal Yisroel.

Vote as if Jewish lives depend on your involvement. Because . . . they may.

© 2010 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved



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