Of Candidates And The Promised Land

A Well-Rooted Perspective

The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.

Proverbs 20:5

For those of us who believe in the existence of a God who’s plan is yet moving through time and space—in fits and starts due to the gift of free will given to the human race—it is not Barack Obama or Mitt Romney who have the power to bring “tikkun ha olam,” repair of the world, to this planet. It is God working through you and I. To include through our vote in the coming election.

“The Chassidic masters explain: Before the Giving of the Torah there was a physical world, and a spiritual realm. You basically had a choice: you could live a physical life, or you could pursue a spiritual existence. Or you could alternate between the two. Maybe you could even be both simultaneously. But you could not integrate the two. At the Giving of the Torah, God rescinded the “decree” and “schism” that separated the two realms, enabling and empowering us to begin fulfillment of what our sages describe as the purpose for which God created the world in the first place: ‘God desired to have a dwelling in the lower realms.’” [Rabbi Tzvi Freeman, “A Dwelling Below”]

Jewish mysticism teaches that when man sinned and fell in the early days of Creation, he shattered the world. This shattering, according to Chasidic philosophy, sent “nitzotzot” (sparks of godliness) into the world. Man’s task in life is to find, reveal, and release the divine element in every aspect of life.

One man is absorbed in materialism. Another is eager to please God in order to merit reward in the world to come. And then there is a third type of man who serves God out of love for Him alone, bringing the divine sparks in creation back to their Source.

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are two very different people. Their political perspectives are at odds. But, asks the wise one: where are the hearts of both men? What are the motives of each?

The biblical view that I hold to be true embraces the notion that Israel is not just another nation. It is a promised land, in fact, the Promised Land. God writes to us through Moses, of Abraham: “… I will make of you a great nation… I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:2-3 ESV)

Along those lines, I am deeply concerned about President Obama’s view of, and behavior toward, Israel. As Anne Bayefsky, a senior fellow with Hudson Institute points out: “President Obama never visited Israel during his time in office, despite having been as close as thirty minutes away in Egypt, and managing to go to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iraq. He told Jewish leaders in July 2009 that he was deliberately adopting a policy of putting daylight between America and Israel. President Obama has legitimized the UN body most responsible for demonizing Israel as the world’s worst human rights violator. President Obama treated Israel’s Prime Minister to a series of insulting snubs during his visit to the White House in March 2010.” [“Obama’s real record on Israel,”  http://www.eyeontheun.org/articles-item.asp?a=7759&id=9757 ]

Only God can know a man’s heart. But his behavior projects an idea. As Messiah teaches: “…what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart…” (Matthew 15:8) And our words are ultimately defined, or re-defined, by our actions.

Shabbat shalom. May this presidential election prove to be good for the world. And may whatever is good for Israel be the ultimate result, as whatever is good for Israel, I would argue, is best for the world. May sparks of godliness emanating from our nation’s capital light the way to Israel’s being blessed.