("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.
An Israeli Example
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 barbecue 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.)
And Meanwhile, Back in the Goldeneh Medinah...
Like many others, I suspected Barak Obama from the beginning.
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 in the same league as Obama or Hillary, I just want to point out that 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.
However, there are many people I respect who warmly support Trump—and not necessarily for the right reasons.
I don’t fully understand the warm support of some frum journalists, bloggers, rabbis etc., for Trump.
2020 UPDATE: President Trump has surpassed the low expectations. I'm not going to start swooning over a politician, but he definitely has done some good things. Much, much better than Obama for sure.
A Machloket between 2 Righteous Brothers
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.
Although it's worth pointing out that, in the above example, Hashem was not blinding the Illeander Rav, who was a real Gadol.
The Information is at Your Fingertips
You're either aware or you aren't.
So I’m going to assume that at the bare minimum, the frum Trump supporters know whatever they need to know and ignore whatever's convenient.
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.
Yes, he is much better than the Democrat options. But we needn't glue rose-colored glasses to our faces.
The Esav Narcissist
Even when they succeed for a while, they always end up self-destructing—and taking others with them.
This means that a narcissist will not do what’s good for America just because it’ll be good for his or her ego or whatever. S/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.
Many popular politicians on either side of the aisle demonstrate narcissism.
It's easy enough to see in their speeches and books.
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 any big-time politician and Narcissism is widely available.