("Zeh pachot ra m’zeh.")
Just to reiterate, when Rav Shach told people to vote for Netanyahu, it wasn't because Netanyahu was good or decent or covered in smileys.
Rav Shach merely stated that Netanyahu wasn’t as bad (or wicked, depending on how you translate “ra”) as Peres.
The truth is that with exception of gedolim like Rav Shach, it’s difficult for rabbis to know the truth about candidates. Theoretically, they don’t go digging into candidates’ backgrounds and may not even have access or know how to access the information necessary.
It’s also a problem when frum publications do a whole spread or even make a candidate their cover story, as the candidate's views may be only barely acceptable while maintaining other positions that can ultimately lead to the destruction of the place they want to lead. Or candidates who come off as pro-Israel and make compelling speeches about Israel's importance, but support a two-state solution.
I’m far from the first to express this opinion.
Frum Jews have being saying this for over a decade.
A positive example is when Rabbi Wallerstein agreed to do a robocall about a candidate. He was clear that it was regarding one pivotal issue and did not endorse anything else about that candidate—that’s the Rav Shach method: no frills or flattery, just straight to the point.
But you can form opinions totally on your own. You just have to know what you're seeing when you see it.
Bayit Yehudi immediately soared to glory. Yet the minute they turned their back on their halachically correct position of supporting IDF soldiers who refuse to clear out Jewish settlements, a great many of us knew they were just another blip on the wash-out screen.
This was a well-known act, yet some Orthodox rabbis continued to support them. It took more research to see how ridiculously far the party was willing to go. When pressed on this issue, one candidate insisted, “I am not a soldier, so I cannot comment on what soldiers should do in this situation.”
Does that mean since I am not a man, I cannot comment on whether Jewish men should wear tefillin? I am a Jew, so I cannot comment on whether a non-Jew is allowed to commit murder? I am white, so I cannot comment on how blacks should have equal rights to me?
To give the benefit of the doubt, I think many frum voters assumed that Bayit Yehudi used this position as subterfuge to get elected, and would return to their first position upon winning.
But what would we say about a Jew who pretended not to keep Shabbat in order to get elected? Or who pretended that treif restaurants in Jerusalem are okay—just to get elected?
And I can’t remember who said it first, but the point was made at that time that of course soldiers can refuse orders! For example, what if soldiers were told: “Go into the preemie ward and behead all the babies”? Or, “Go to the zoo and barbeque all the koala bears!”
Would Bayit Yehudi claim that since they are no longer soldiers, then they have no right to decide how soldiers should respond to such commands? And should you write off their noncommittal reply as clever subterfuge meant to win the election?
I mean, sheesh. It’s either manipulative or cowardly or heretical.
So while I wouldn’t expect a serious rabbi to dig into political interviews and the like, Bayit Yehudi made clear from the outset their fundamental insincerity and duplicity.
(And just for knowing, I refused to vote for several other religious parties for similar reasons. I went for Yachad instead.)
Like many others, I suspected Barak Obama from the beginning (because he was a Democrat). Yet upon learning of Obama’s active support in Kenya in favor of his cousin’s Sharia candidacy over a pro-Democracy candidate, it was obvious that Obama was no good at his core.
What remotely decent person would ever actively campaign for a Sharia candidate over a Democracy candidate?
(Not that I would believe for a minute that a Third World democracy would be anything like a First World democracy, but in these cases, it’s the thought that counts.)
And unlike many other American Leftist bobble-heads, Obama grew up in an Islamic environment. He knows about FGM, honor killings, thief amputations, floggings, wife-beating, and all that.
Expectedly, carnage followed when the Democracy party won, with hundreds of pro-Democracy Christians being burned in churches by the pro-Sharia poor losers. While you can’t blame Obama directly for the resulting massacre, this kind of thing always happens in the Third World. Are you going to try to tell me that Obama had no idea the party he supported was capable of this? If I, suburban-raised, Israel-dwelling housewife knew, then he for sure knew.
Obama sure knows how to pick a winner, I guess.
Anyway, America either knew or chose not to know. And they voted for him anyway.
Her heinous history is so well-documented and easily researched.
We have audio, video, textual evidence of her heartlessness and hypocrisy going way, way back.
As far as I can tell, she is a malignant narcissist at best and a sociopath at worst.
But even without research, I think she revealed her true colors when she didn’t divorce Bill after his presidency ended. While it’s understandable why a woman wouldn’t initiate a divorce in the middle of her husband’s presidency, no self-respecting woman would ever stay with such a man (unless he forced her to in some way, which is clearly not the case with the Clintons).
There isn't much more to say because I haven’t heard of any serious frum rabbi who’d even dream of supporting her, so there's no need to debunk her here.
Even though I don't think Trump is quite as horrible as Obama or Hillary, I’m going to pick on Trump a bit because so many frum people back him for the wrong reasons.
If you plan to vote in the American elections (and I don't), then this would be a good time to follow Rav Shach’s dictum of voting for the “pachot ra” candidate.
However, there are many people I highly respect who warmly support Trump—and not as just the “pachot ra” choice.
I don’t fully understand the warm support of some frum journalists, bloggers, rabbis etc., for Trump. I have a feeling it has to do with not wanting to see just how bad things are when you live there and don’t want/can’t see a way to leave.
But maybe there are other reasons.
And please don’t think I am knocking any particular rabbi or journalist or blogger. Over the last several months, I’ve had almost no opportunity to listen to shiurim, even to my beloved Rabbi Wallerstein shiurim. I’m reading less and less news/blogs and haven’t read a frum magazine or newspaper in ages. But things have been going in a certain direction for years and I’ve glimpsed things even if I haven’t thoroughly explored them.
In the incredible book A Sun and a Shield, the Illeander Rav was one of the only Jews to escape the Dej ghetto with his family. The other was a young widow and her son. The Illeander Rav Yosef Paneth's daughter, Brandele, got caught in Poland under Nazi occupation and was eyewitness to years of Nazi atrocities before she managed to escape back to her family in Dej, Transylvania.
The Illeander Rav's brother, the Dejer Rebbe, was a tzaddik in his own right, yet he did not believe the testimony of his niece nor the persuasions of his holy brother. (pg. 176)
Even after the two tzaddikim were dumped with over 7500 fellow Jews in a forest with just a few planks for shelter and surrounded by barbed wire, the Dejer Rebbe said to his brother, "I can't believe what I'm hearing. Why would anyone want to kill innocent people?" He added that he also couldn't leave his community and his weaker family members.
The Illeander Rav begged his brother to let him save at least one child from the Dejer Rebbe's family. But no. Later, the Dejer Rebbe said, "What is it with my brother?...What could happen to us? The Magyars are not the Poles. They have been very decent to us all these years...."
On the cattle trains to Auschwitz, the Dejer Rebbe never lost his faith or his composure. He remained a source of comfort and encouragement to his fellow passengers the entire nightmarish journey that ended in the gas chambers.
So please don't think that by disagreeing with rabbis and people cleverer than me that I think I'm better than them or that I'm such a smartypants or whatever. We see throughout history that for incomprehensible reasons, Hashem sometimes chooses to blind even the wisest people. But that doesn't mean He's blinding you, too.
My point is that when a rabbi talks political situations, he doesn't necessarily know. It depends. In the above example, the Illeander Rav knew. The Dejer Rebbe didn't.
My research led me to avoid voting altogether.
Okay, so first of all, there are things that are well-known about Trump that I remember from my teens.
- Like how he dumped Wife #1 to marry Wife #2, with whom he cheated on with Wife #1.
- Then he dumped her and went on to Wife #3.
- His failed business enterprises that led to serious financial loss are not unknown in the frum community, primarily because some of the people hit were frum people hired by Trump for one thing or another. Trump lives in New York, home to the largest Diaspora population of frummies. And Trump is hard to miss.
And with only a tiny bit of digging, Trump’s liberal positions come to light. His history shows that in contrast to his support base, he is socially VERY liberal. And immoral.
If you've ever studied Narcissism, you've probably seen that Trump clearly displays all the classic attributes of a Narcissist, even down to the way he treats his children.
And this next point is very important:
Narcissists are always self-destructive. ALWAYS.
Even when they succeed for a while, they always end up self-destructing—and taking others with them.
This means that Trump will not do what’s good for America just because it’ll be good for his ego or whatever. He will not fight for America the way he fights for himself.
Narcissists have the same weird masochistic streak as suicide bombers.
Figuratively speaking, Narcissists will drill under their own seat in a boat and then try to escape when it starts sinking, stomping over everyone else in their way while vehemently declaring their innocence and victimhood, and insisting that others need to risk their lives to save them from the damage they themselves caused.
But don’t take my word for it. Ask anyone who has ever grown up with, married, or worked for a Narcissist.
When someone praised his children’s support of him, Trump scoffed that of course they support him, declaring they want his money, after all.
That is such a classically typical statement for a Narcissist parent to make. They either subscribe their children’s kindness towards them as some kind of bribe or ulterior motive, or they’re completely ungrateful, stating that of course their child does XY&Z for them! After all, the Narcissist parent deserves it after all he or she has done for that child—the child owes them. Constantly. Forever.
And what about this well-publicized statement?:
“I don't like to have to ask for forgiveness. And I am good. I don't do a lot of things that are bad. I try to do nothing that is bad."
This is also classical Narcissist talk. Trump has not only done many bad things, but he’s also done major “bad things.” But he doesn’t view them as bad.
Here’s another: "I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't."
Yet Trump has shown throughout his life that he is a poor judge of right and wrong. Also, people should be disturbed by a man portraying himself as religious stating unapologetically that he never brings God into “that picture.”
Interestingly, if you read the Torah commentaries, Trump also evokes a toned-down version of Esav, right down to his ruddiness.
And wouldn’t Esav make the same statement Trump made in his book The Art of the Deal?:
“If I told the real stories of my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women, this book would be a guaranteed best-seller.”
Trump appeared on a talk show with his daughter when one of the hostesses asked Trump how he would feel if his daughter posed in a famous pritzah magazine.
First he said, “I would be disappointed--well, not really…”
Then he said, “I don’t think Ivanka would do that. Although she does have a very nice figure. I've said that if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I would be dating her.”
And yes, this all took place right in front of his daughter.
Do people know about this?
And in researching this, I discovered that’s not the only inappropriate thing he has said about his daughter. There’s worse, but I didn’t have the stomach to look into it that much. There are also cringe-inducing photos of them together.
(By the way, this is also typical of Narcissistic parents. They have very poor and completely inappropriate boundaries with their children—usually not physically, but emotionally, yes.)
If people want to vote for Trump because Hillary is even worse, then that’s legitimate. But can we please stop this wackiness about Trump being a halfway decent candidate/human being?
He’s clearly not!
Well, that's it. As you can see, Hashem gives us a whopping clue or two to guide our way. All we have to do is use our brains and our tefillah to come to the obvious conclusions.
Note: If you have the stomach for it, I hope you'll feel free to do your own research. Everything there is to know about Trump, Hillary, and Narcissism is widely available.