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Let's Make America Kind Again!

Thursday, 10 November, 2016 - 12:05 pm

Blog.jpgThis week the US finally finished an extremely long and divisive election. Despite all the pundits and pollsters predicting a win for Clinton, after a mutually ugly, vitriolic race, Trump pulled off a win that will be remembered as the most stunning upset in American history thus far.

This election has divided us unlike any other. It has pitted friends and even family members against one another. Shul member against shul member. Brother against sister. Husband against wife. Families have been torn apart; friendships demolished.

I received dozens of phone calls and emails yesterday, from people on both sides—those wishing to celebrate Trumps win, and those looking for comfort after Clinton’s loss. And, as always, Facebook and Twitter provided a very public platform for everyone to air their feelings, whether jubilation or outrage.

And I found myself wondering, who really won the election? 

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As a young child, Reb Zalman Aharon (the “Raza”), the older brother of Rebbe Sholom DovBer of Lubavitch (the “Rashab”), often complained that he was noticeably shorter than his younger brother.

One day, the Raza snuck up behind his brother and pushed him lightly into a small ditch. As the Rashab stood up in surprise, the Raza seized the moment and pointed out that now he was taller.

Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch (the "Maharash"), the father of the two boys, observed the entire episode. The Rebbe asked for a chair, ordered the Raza to stand on it, and asked him, “Tell me, who’s taller now?”

The Raza answered excitedly that yet again he was taller.

 “Aha!” said Rabbi Shmuel. “There you are! To be bigger than your friend, there is no need to pull him down. Simply elevate yourself!”

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When it comes to our lives, we all ultimately want the same things—peace, security, jobs, healthcare, comfort. And when election time comes, we argue and debate endlessly about which path will bring us to that shared goal.

But all too often we get caught up in the debate, and make the mistake of degrading and belittling those who feel differently. We have extremely strong opinions about who should lead the country but Instead of lifting ourselves up, we push the other person down. We all have faults, and it's easier to point out the other person's faults than to elevate and fix our own.

So, in that sense, we all lost the election.

Now we are finally post-election and can begin the healing process. We need to rekindle the love we feel for each other, the love that may have become hidden over the last few months because we were so busy debating our election choices.

Let’s focus on what unites us—our love for each other!

We read about the covenant G-d made with Abraham, the first Jew, in this week’s parshah. The Covenant of Parts—a guarantee that no matter what comes between us, we will remain connected eternally. We are all part of the same family, we share the same destiny and the same G-d.

It’s time to remember that we’re in this together, for the long haul. By shaking off all the election drama, and reuniting with our brethren, we can and will make America kind again. 

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