This Passover, vote with G-d
TorahParshat Metzora

This Passover, vote with G-d

Leviticus 14:1–15:33

Tuesday is primary election day in Pennsylvania. It will also mark the first day of Pesach.

Yes, voting was scheduled in our state to occur between the two seders.

If you already voted with your absentee ballot, kudos to you! If you have not, then according to G-d’s Torah, commandments and Jewish tradition, you should abstain, as voting on this sacred day of Passover is prohibited.

Leviticus 23:6-7 explicitly states: “And on the fifteenth day of this (first) month a festival of Matzot shall be for G-d; On the first day it shall be for you a day you call sacred, and you shall do no work of labor.”

It’s ironic that some who claim to protect the rights of all peoples, especially minorities and the oppressed, find it acceptable to silence the vote of Jews throughout the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

And silenced we must be (if you did not already vote) on this day of Passover, for so does G-d command!

With the rise of antisemitism across the world and a war raging in Israel, one may ask: How can I stay silent, and how can we, as Jews, believe that silence at such a time is acceptable?

So let’s take a moment to stop and think. Were the framers of the Constitution trying to build a country where their own opinions would dominate the discourse or a place where the majority forces the submission of the minority? Or were they trying to give each person a voice and even a choice to stay silent that would be protected?

Extremists in both of the dominant political parties easily throw around the words “evil” and “wicked” about others. The vitriol and hatred are poisonous to America and civilization.

Some of these are the very people elected to protect our Constitution. Yet, to maintain their power or advance their agendas, they label others as wicked and evil, refuse to engage and worse, they try to cancel the voices and people they disagree with.

Think about the seders we will attend on Monday and Tuesday night, our nights of freedom as a Jewish people, and notice the difference. There, at the seder, we ensure that even the “evil” or “wicked” son joins us. His presence is vital to our holiday and our identity as Jews. We remind him and ourselves that prior to the exodus from Egypt, he might have been forgotten and rejected, but not today.

Since the exodus and the giving of the Torah, each and every Jew is vital and celebrated by G-d and the Jewish people. Even those labeled as wicked must be at our seder, for they are an irreplaceable part of the Jewish people. Our celebration is not about the opinions voiced but rather the inherent value of being a Jew. They may choose to remain silent, and we will respect and value them, for our exodus from Egypt signifies the value that G-d places on each and every Jew individually. This is a true, G-d-given, inalienable right and voice.

The framers of the Constitution were probably trying to advance the ideas we celebrate at the seder, protecting each human being made in the image of G-d. But sadly this idea is being destroyed from within in the name of morality and self-righteousness.

So, if you haven’t already voted before Pesach, make the true and proper choice. Pass over your vote and vote with G-d. Eat some matzo and bitter herbs, spend time in shul, celebrate, and uplift your family and fellow Jew at a seder. Invite the “wicked” son and celebrate the gift that G-d has given each of us: true, endless and unlimited love and value.

Don’t trade your own values for a man-made political agenda. And please do not vote for anyone whose agenda and platforms claim to be so important that they can trample and suppress the G-d-given value of humans and other G-dly creations.

Vote for the rights and values that G-d has given you and you will be truly free. Free from the notion that it is constitutions and
politicians that grant you rights or value; free from the poison of today’s political vitriol; free from the daily worries about negative
influences in our world.

Free to declare that true value comes from G-d and not from man, for man will perish and change, but G-d’s value is eternal and true. I pray that the people of America will hear the vote of silence.

Have a kosher and joyous Passover and may we experience true freedom for all Jews the world over. PJC

Rabbi Elchonon Friedman is the spiritual leader of Bnai Emunoh Chabad. This column is a service of the Vaad Harabonim of Greater Pittsburgh.

read more: