FULL DISCLOSURE: Reflections on Barack Obama

letter-447577_1280

Guest column by Chava Willig Levy

Full disclosure: I believe that God guides history. The improbable, meteoric rise of Barack Obama offers a case in point.

The facts are common knowledge: In 2000, Obama was a virtual unknown. He had to scrape together the airfare to attend that year’s Democratic National Convention, to which he had not been invited. Three months later, he was trounced in his run for an Illinois congressional seat. But in 2004, not yet a United States senator, he was the Democratic National Convention’s keynote speaker, an honor usually reserved for political icons; he became an overnight sensation. Just two years after he became Illinois’s junior senator, he announced his candidacy for president of the United States.

But here are some less well-known facts:

• Obama’s 2004 victory might never have occurred were it not for an unprecedented financing loophole. Because his opponent in the Democratic primary had financed his campaign with over $28 million of his own money, Obama was permitted to accept as much as $12,000 from each donor, or six times the limit at that time.

• Obama’s opponents for that coveted Senate seat evaporated at every turn like morning dew. As a 2004 New York Times editorial put it:

It’s been looking a little too easy lately for Barack Obama, the Democrat running for United States Senate in Illinois against whom? Let’s see. It’s a little complicated. The race has been a little like the football scene in a Marx Brothers movie, with the candidate sprinting past a squad of defenders who look mean and beefy but end up slipping, sliding, colliding and falling all over themselves.

Even Obama acknowledges his “spooky good fortune.”

It certainly looks as if God is guiding Mr. Obama straight to the White House. But if God is guiding his history, and ours, aren’t we mere spectators forced to watch passively — some might say helplessly — as it unfolds? Several of my coreligionists think so, fatalistically pointing to the fact that the secular date of Obama’s breakthrough keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention — July 27 — coincided with Tisha B’Av, a fast day commemorating the many seismic tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people.

I can understand their prediction of impending doom. Reasons abound:

• Barack Obama or, as New York Times columnist David Brooks has called him, “Fast Eddie Obama”:

He speaks so calmly and polysyllabically that people fail to appreciate the Machiavellian ambition inside. But he’s been giving us an education, for anybody who cares to pay attention. Just try to imagine Mister Rogers playing the agent Ari in Entourage and it all falls into place.

• He has inveigled his way into the hearts of diametrically opposed constituents. According to New York Times reporters Jo Becker and Christopher Drew, here’s how he did it:

He moved from his leftist Hyde Park base to more centrist circles; he forged early alliances with the good-government reform crowd only to be embraced later by the city’s all-powerful Democratic bosses; he railed against pork-barrel politics but engaged in it when needed; and he empathized with the views of his Palestinian friends before adroitly courting the city’s politically potent Jewish community.

His chameleon-like charisma reminds me of my favorite scene from Fiddler on the Roof. In it, Tevye and his friends are immersed in a debate. One villager expresses an opinion; Tevye, nodding, says, “He’s right.” “That’s nonsense,” another man retorts and refutes his friend’s idea. Tevye, nodding, says, “He’s right.” “He’s right and he’s right?” interrupts a third man. “How can they both be right?” “You know,” says Tevye, “you’re also right!” Back in 1966, I laughed uproariously at this bizarre interchange. But Obama’s run for the White House has given it an ominous overtone. For when a Broadway musical makes all characters — even those with opposite opinions — right, it is amusing. When a politician does the same thing, it’s no laughing matter.

• He is admired by untold numbers of American Jews, as well as millions of people who call for the destruction of not only Israel but of world Jewry as well.

• He is guilty of politically motivated flip-flopping to woo Jewish voters. Hours after securing the Democratic nomination, when the cameras were rolling, when the reporters were taking notes, when influential Jews were listening with rapt attention, Obama addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) annual policy conference and declared, to thunderous applause, “Now, let me be clear: Israel’s security is sacrosanct. It is nonnegotiable… And Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” Hours later, he issued a retraction, subsequently calling “undivided” a “poorly chosen” word.

• He favors talks — without preconditions — with Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who, in the words of Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, is a “Holocaust-denying, virulently anti-Semitic, aspiring genocidist,” the Hitler of our era.

• Hours after visiting Sderot, hours after a Palestinian terrorist wreaked havoc outside the Jerusalem hotel where Obama would be staying, the senator spoke to an adoring throng in Berlin, proclaiming, “We must defeat terror…in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York.” To glaringly omit cities in the country that has suffered the greatest number of terrorist casualties per capita in the world is hypocrisy and political expediency of the lowest order.

Full disclosure: With pundits predicting a landslide victory for Obama, I feel pessimistic not infrequently — but never permanently. Here’s why: God may guide history, but He does so without full disclosure. Part of what the Almighty hides from us is how we, in tandem with Him, can guide history too. The question isn’t: What does God want? The question is: What does God want of us?

Esther, heroine of the holiday of Purim, guides us to our answer. We just need to examine a pivotal point in the book that bears her name.

In Chapter 4, things are looking pretty dismal for her fellow Jews. It looks as if the smooth-talking Haman, whose ambitions have been fulfilled at every turn, who has been blessed with “spooky good fortune,” is destined to succeed. It looks as if God is guiding his history so that he will have his way. But Mordechai knows that, at this juncture, fatalism would be fatal. He beseeches Esther to intervene, to help halt history in its tracks. And when she demurs, Mordechai upbraids her (Esther 4:14): “Who knows whether it was for just such an opportunity as this that you attained your royal position?”

In the absence of full disclosure, Esther has to resist her temptation to follow protocol, to be politically correct. But she accedes to Mordechai’s demand only after he agrees to accede to hers (Esther 4:16): “Go and gather all the Jews in Shushan, and fast on my behalf for the three days…My maidens and I will also fast.”

We have no Esther today. But over 2,400 years after she left the world’s stage, her example remains. We must emulate her two-pronged strategy: politics and prayer.

Full disclosure: Come Election Day, I will not be voting for Barack Obama, a man who sold out on full disclosure long ago. Furthermore, whatever the election’s outcome, I will watch the White House vigilantly, lifting my pen and voice whenever necessary to help safeguard the welfare and security of Americans and Jews worldwide. And finally, I will remember that God rules the rulers. He is the King of all kings, and no one rises to or falls from power unless He wills it.

Chava Willig Levy is a New York-based writer, editor and lecturer who zips around in a motorized wheelchair and communicates about the quality and meaning of life. She can be reached via her web site: www.chavawilliglevy.com.

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47 Responses

  1. dovid says:

    “you could have done your own homework”

    This year’s presidential elections pitted two candidates whose credentials (or lack thereof) made the choice easy. Nevertheless, the majority of Jews voted for the wrong candidate. There have been even charedim who voted for the wrong candidate. You may say they didn’t do their homework, or got carried away by promises of hope and change, or who know what. You can safely assume that not one of the charedim that voted for Obama ask his/her rov whom to vote. Do you remember when Bill Clinton came out of nowhere and ran against Bush Sr.? Bush had a reputation of being inimical to Israel. His cabinet included several openly anti-semitic influential members such as James Baker. One’s gut reaction was to vote for anyone but Bush Sr. Homework didn’t help much because not much was known of Bill Clinton at that time. I asked the shaila and was advised to vote for Bush Sr. Let’s play safe and ask, notwithstanding our homework or gut feelings.

  2. Bob Miller says:

    Dovid, just possibly, you did not need to find out for whom to vote in this way. Just possibly, you could have done your own homework to dig up the relevant facts and make an informed decision.

  3. dovid says:

    “the shaila volume exceeds the available resources”

    When I needed to find out whom to vote, I didn’t call Rabbi M. Kotler or Rabbi S. Kamenetsky, but the rov that I ask such shailos on an ongoing basis. As such, the system doesn’t get clogged. As a matter of fact, I don’t contact the gedolim because my problems can be solved at the level of שרי חמשים ושרי עשרת (leaders of fifties and leader of tens). A rov of a shul, or a maggid shiur in a good yeshiva are excellent resources that we should avail ourselves of, for both technical shailos like kashrus, taharas hamishpacha, chinuch banim, as well voting for the right candidates. They typically are in synch with what the gedolim hold with regards to current social and political issues.

    “blurring here of the distinctions between…”

    I don’t understand why you make distinctions between different types of shailos. Granted, rabbanim become experts in certain fields. Poskim routinely refer us to those who acquired expertise in those fields. For instance, Rabbi Dovid Feinstein, Rosh Yeshiva of Tiferes Yerushalaim, is a בקי (expert) in shailos related to the medical field. When I had such a shaila, my rov promptly sent me to him. But as far as voting is concerned, I think any rov that we routinely ask our shailos from, could competently answer our questions.

  4. Bob Miller says:

    I think there is some blurring here of the distinctions between:

    1. A posek rendering a halachic judgment on a halachic issue, and

    2. A posek rendering a personal judgment on another type of pressing issue (e.g., how to vote in 2008) using his “daas Torah”.

    We have to consider carefully which things a Jew should do with consultation and which without. If the balance is wrong, the leading poskim can be so overwhelmed with inquiries as to guarantee that:

    1. Many important questions will be unable to get a hearing
    2. The posek himself will not have the time to investigate properly, so his judgment about the issue in question will be weakened by too-incomplete information

    The idealized referral mechanism Dovid described can also break down when the shaila volume exceeds the available resources or when (for wahtever reason)referrals are not made as appropriate.

  5. dovid says:

    Dear Bob Miller:

    If you are asking whether I contend that every major life decision of a Jew requires a shaila, that means that I didn’t come across correctly. In my comments above, I was championing the cause of asking shailos in all decisions that have an immediate or less immediate effect in the life of the people concerned, “regardless of that Jew’s level of knowledge about the issue at hand”. Just as attorneys will hire attorneys to defend them in court, and surgeons have other surgeons operate on their family members, we should be wise enough, regardless of our level of knowledge about the issue at hand, to ask for daas Torah.

    “Do you believe that poskim at the highest level have the necessary knowledge about American politics to be able to tell all Jews how to vote each time? Or only in really clear-cut cases?

    Poskim in America have the necessary knowledge to guide us in matters pertaining to American politics. Those poskim who don’t have the necessary knowledge, will defer the shaila to ones who do have. The poskim of EY will also refer the shaila to American poskim who have the necessary expertise. There have been circumstances in which poskim couldn’t poskin. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939 from the west, and the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east, there were thousands of Jewish families streaming eastward, fleeing the Nazis, as well as thousands of Jewish families streaming westward, fleeing the Communists. The Dayan of Brisk, a gaon and a tzaddik, could not poskin which of the two invaders presented a lesser danger, i.e., in which direction to try to escape. (Brisk was at time at the Russian-Polish border). Let’s hope we should not find ourselves in circumstances in which poskim cannot help us.

  6. Bob Miller says:

    Dovid,

    1. Do you contend that every major life decision of a Jew requires a shaila, regardless of that Jew’s level of knowldege about the issue at hand?

    2. Do you believe that poskim at the highest level have the necessary knowledge about American politics to be able to tell all Jews how to vote each time? Or only in really clear-cut cases?

  7. dovid says:

    “normative Judaism” meaning what? That this is mere pontificating but never practiced? I always asked whom to vote for before elections.

  8. LOberstein says:

    “I decide what condiments to spice my cholent with, but I won’t decide whom to vote in national elections. That’s what rabbis are for, to provide daas Torah”
    I am curious as to how many of the readers of Cross-Currents agree that the above statement is normative Judaism.

  9. dovid says:

    “Talk about going overboard.”

    You are off again. I decide what condiments to spice my cholent with, but I won’t decide whom to vote in national elections. That’s what rabbis are for, to provide daas Torah. Jews went to the feast of Achashverosh because it was the “in” thing to do (everyone else went) and because it was the PC thing to do just as it was PC to vote for Obama. They thought of Mordechai as sort of an old fellow, out of touch with the political realities, one who “sometimes goes way overboard” as you put it. The food and wine they had at the feast were kosher l’Mehadrin and for seven years nothing happened which only reinforced their thinking that they were right, they knew the ways of the world, and that Mordechai was off the wall. After Achashverosh enacted the decree to annihilate all Jews, no one to this day denied that Mordechai was correct and everyone else was wrong. For those who may argue that we don’t have leaders of Mordechai’s stature today and therefore, there is no one to ask for guidance, Torah’s answer is that just as Hashem gave Mordechai the mandate to lead the Jews of his generation, Hashem gave the Torah leaders of our generation the mandate to lead and give us guidance. And we do know who those leaders are, both here in America and in Eretz Yisrael.

  10. LOberstein says:

    We orthodox Jews have our own sets of complexes and issues that even the wise among us sometimes go way overboard.”

    LOberstein, the above quote suggests that you believe you are wiser than the wise. My hunch is you didn’t think it was necessary to ask a שאלה as to whom to vote because “even the wise among us sometimes go way overboard.” Where do you look for answers in circumstances such as this? NYTimes? LATimes? If that’s the case, don’t delude yourself into believing you are an Orthodox Jew. You are not.”

    Talk about going overboard. I guess my food is now treif and my wine is forbidden and I don’t count for a minyan if I voted in the United States for someone other than the one you decided I should vote for. Wow!

  11. Toby Katz says:

    “I am certain that John McCain is not a bigot or a racist or an anti-Semite, but it is clear that some of his supporters are.”
    Charles B. Hall

    ——–
    The vast majority of those in attendance at both McCain and Obama rallies were well-behaved, well-spoken, decent people.

    Both candidates also had some more fringe supporters. It would be hard to count exactly how many fringies there were, but my impression is that Obama had more of those unsavory characters at his rallies than McCain had at his rallies. The pro-Obama blogs have also tended more to the vicious side than the pro-McCain blogs, but anonymous blogging does seem to bring out the worst in fringies on both sides.

    I’ve seen a lot of anti-Semitism from Obama supporters, especially from blacks.

  12. Marty Bluke says:

    Charlie Hall wrote:
    But this is irrelevant! The Constitution requires that a President be a “natural born” citizen. Because his mother was unquestionably a US Citizen at the time of his birth, Obama is a natural born citizen.

    You are absolutely wrong. A baby born outside of the US to a US citizen does not automatically become a US citizen.

    Here is what the US State Department says (http://usembassy-israel.org.il/consular/acs/Report.aspx):

    Children born abroad to U.S. citizen parents may have a claim to U.S. citizenship. If the parent(s) lived in the U.S. long enough to transmit citizenship …

    Proving Physical Presence in the United States

    * If only one parent is an American citizen and your child was born before November 14, 1986, the American parent must prove that he or she resided in the United States for a total of 10 years prior to the birth of the child, at least 5 of those years after the parent turned 14 years old.

    Since Barack Obama was born before 1986 for his mother to pass on citizenship she would have had to have lived in the US for 5 years after the age of 14. Since Barack Obama was born when his mother was only 18 (less then 5 years after the age of 14) she would not be able to pass on her citizenship to him. Therefore if he was born outside of the US he would not be a natural born citizen.

  13. dovid says:

    “I will be voting for him because his economic policies and his health care policies are superior to those of John McCain”

    Let’s set aside the soundness of these policies for now and assume they are what the American people need.

    First, what makes you believe he will carry out these policies? He flip-flopped so many times. Second, suppose he does want to carry out his electoral promises, what makes you so sure he will succeed? There is nothing that we know about Obama to believe he can do it. His track record of formulating and carry out a sound policy is ZERO.

    Hitler was voted into power because of his economic policies at a time Germany’s economy was experiencing hyperinflation and staggering unemployment. To this day, Germans will tell you that Hitler was good for the economy, he built the Reichsautobahn, reduced unemployment, and attempted to rein in inflation. Where they justified in voting for him? The current elections are taking place with a background of major turmoil in the capital markets, rising unemployment, and dissatisfaction with the US accomplishments in its foreign affairs. Is Obama qualified to handle any of these challenges?

    Up to this point, I assert that based on the above, you are daydreaming and your vote is a gamble.

    Let’s take a look at what we do know about Obama: his association with radical and terrorist movements and sympathizers, his 20-year membership in Wright’s church who repeatedly cursed America, attacked whites, Jews and others in Obama’s presence without Obama ever protesting. Doesn’t this bother you? Are you at peace voting for such a person? I assert that Obama doesn’t have the moral fiber to lead others.

    I further assert that based on the above, your vote is no longer a gamble, but an irresponsible act.

  14. dovid says:

    Re: Comment by One Christian’s perspective — Nov. 4, 2008 @ 8:59 am

    I fully subscribe to your comments re. Governor Sarah Palin. She is a person of principles, with the strength to carry out her convictions. That’s why she is a worthy member of McCain’s team. Obama is everything Sarah Palin is not. In addition, I don’t understand why lack of experience is a major drawback by Sarah Palin but not by Obama. If Obama becomes president, he will need to make far-reaching decisions from day one. IF McCain wins, Sarah Palin as a VP is sheltered from such decisions at least until she learns the ropes.

  15. Chava Willig Levy says:

    Naomi asks:

    “Are you comparing Haman to Obama? I just want to be clear on this. Or, are you merely pointing out parallels in the megillah to the current election?”

    I am merely pointing out parallels in the megillah to the current election. And, as one who believes that God guides history, I am saying that regardless of the election’s outcome, the improbable, meteoric rise of both individuals is a clear indication of God’s hidden hand at work.

    And, as my essay states, belief in Divine providence is NOT incompatible with the conviction that our actions – in the voting booth, in the synagogue, in the supermarket – shape history as well.

    Thank you for both the content and the tone of your question.

  16. Charles B. Hall says:

    Garnel #13,

    Obama does have a birth certificate:

    http://www.starbulletin.com/news/20081101_officials_verify_birth_certificate_of_obama.html

    Andy Martin, who has been spreading the rumor you fell for, is a first class anti-Semite who once ran for congress on a platform of opposing “Jew Power”.

    But this is irrelevant! The Constitution requires that a President be a “natural born” citizen. Because his mother was unquestionably a US Citizen at the time of his birth, Obama is a natural born citizen. Sort of like the halachah for who is a Jew. Note that John McCain was born outside the United States, in the Panama Canal Zone. His father was in the navy, stationed there.

    #21 Reb Yid,

    You are correct. I am certain that John McCain is not a bigot or a racist or an anti-Semite, but it is clear that some of his supporters are. And unfortunately, some of the worst ones make comments on other frum blogs. I could not believe the awful stuff people posted to another site I will not mention about Obama’s grandmother ON THE DAY SHE DIED. I was embarassed to be a Jew.

  17. Moishe Potemkin says:

    I will be voting for him because his economic policies and his health care policies are superior to those of John McCain, who can’t shake loose from the rigid ideological near worship of free markets and tax cuts that seems to dominate Republican thinking today.

    It could also reflect his assessment of the empirical evidence demonstrating that nationalised health care leads to lower quality care. Obama similarly seems to be unable to “shake loose from the rigid ideological near worship” of governmental intervention.

    I also see Sen. Obama’s foreign policy as being more flexible and more in touch with reality than the bellicosity that Sen. McCain has often expressed.

    The reality is that there are incorrigibly evil people out there who can be defeated, but not persuaded.

    Finally, it is quite clear that Sarah Palin simply does not have adequate understanding of world conditions to be President, and her anti-intellectualism makes it appear that she is even interested in learning. Sen. McCain’s selection of her as his running mate casts doubt on his ability to choose good people to serve in his adminstration.

    I hesitate to respond to this, because it is a baseless (and, uncharacteristically for Charlie, quite snotty) personal attack on Sarah Palin. But following her admittedly poor initial interviews, she has actually shown a solid penchant for learning quite a lot in a short time, and, perhaps more importantly, she seems to have the appropriate instincts for distinguishing between good and bad ideas.

    I leave the evaluation and interpretation of Senator Obama’s selection of friends and mentors to others.

  18. dovid says:

    “We orthodox Jews have our own sets of complexes and issues that even the wise among us sometimes go way overboard.”

    LOberstein, the above quote suggests that you believe you are wiser than the wise. My hunch is you didn’t think it was necessary to ask a שאלה as to whom to vote because “even the wise among us sometimes go way overboard.” Where do you look for answers in circumstances such as this? NYTimes? LATimes? If that’s the case, don’t delude yourself into believing you are an Orthodox Jew. You are not.

    “The election will soon be over and time will tell is the sky does indeed fall with the election of a Democrat.”

    The sky may or may not fall. But the earth will certainly shake and Israel and Orthodox Jews (with whom you identify) will be hurting. With (or w/o) your permission, I will call on you to re-evaluate the situation in 6-12 months. With your vote, you brought it on us.

  19. Reb Yid says:

    Somehow, we’ve managed (barely) to survive one of the worst Administrations ever according to a poll of eminent historians, along with Buchanan (I’d add Harding to that list).

    I see references to Haman here and one can’t help but think of our current Vice President, who was behind much of the worst of this administration’s abuses of power.

    So yes, we’ll be getting something far different if Obama is elected…away from the “comfort zone” of this administration.

    Thank God.

  20. dovid says:

    Comment by YM: “G-d’s ways are unfathomable, as it says in numerous places in the Torah.”

    Absolutely true. But this does not mean we should freeze into inaction. Nor is our job to second guess G-d’s will, but to ask daas Torah. We have gedolim to elucidate for us what we need to do even in such circumstances.

  21. dovid says:

    To Naomi:

    Let’s get this clear. Obama is neither Haman nor Hitler. But given his lack of principles, clueliness (the state of being without a clue), and his sympathies for radical and terrorist movements and personalities will create fertile ground for the rise of 21st century Haman.

  22. dovid says:

    “a simple question from a Canadian”

    You are absolutely right. If he wants to run for president, the burden of proof that he qualifies should be on him. In addition, we know so little about Obama and what we know is damning that normally he couldn’t obtain security clearance necessary even for an entry level job at the New York Police Department.

  23. One Christian's perspective says:

    “Finally, it is quite clear that Sarah Palin simply does not have adequate understanding of world conditions to be President, and her anti-intellectualism makes it appear that she is even interested in learning. Sen. McCain’s selection of her as his running mate casts doubt on his ability to choose good people to serve in his adminstration. I shudder what faces the United States should she become President and have to deal with a major crisis.”

    Comment by Charles B. Hall — November 2, 2008 @ 10:01 pm

    In our nation, every eligible person has a vote and that is praise to G-d. In regard to Governor Palin, I believe she is a real person – what you see is without glitter or facade – and her convictions are matched by her actions. Who really does know how to deal with a major crisis ? Is it intellectual ability that holds the highest card….or something else ? Sarah Palin is a woman of faith and she has practiced her faith through-out her entire life. I know in any crisis, above all experts, theories and intelligence data , she will first seek G-d and His wisdom, skill, and knowledge as many of her fellow believers do on a daily basis not out of rote or ritual but because G-d is real and He does draw near to those who draw near to Him and He does grant wisdom freely without pause. Whoever wins this election, I will still place my trust in G-d and pray for our new Presdent.

  24. Jason Berg says:

    Ussar to vote for McCain. He is the one that has attempted to scare and deceive at every turn.
    Shameful to fear anyone but His Majesty.
    You think Israel depends on a President??
    Obama isn’t a Muslim and Biden has real experience as a friend of Israel.
    I wanted so badly to vote for McCain but I won’t condone fear mongering and Palin couldn’t go toe to toe with Ahmadenijad, let alone Putin.
    Trust Hashem and never support those that would lie and deceive about another.

  25. Naomi says:

    Are you comparing Haman to Obama? I just want to be clear on this. Or, are you merely pointing out parallels in the megillah to the current election? Please tell me. Thanks.

  26. One Christian's perspective says:

    “So if Obama wins that’s what G-d wanted? ” – Comment by Chaim Fisher — October 31, 2008

    If you believe G-d is sovereign, then the answer is yes but don’t stop there. Remember G-d raised up Pharaoh for the purpose of showing His Power and so the entire world would hear and know His Glory. All leaders whom G-d raises up will be accountable to Him for those deeds they committed while in office both good and bad. Evil leaders in modern times have met violent endings. Seeking a position of higher office isn’t something to be taken lightly and with the wrong motive. I am going to remember that after King Saul came King David in G-d’s mercy.

  27. Reb Yid says:

    Judging people by their associations is a dangerous and futile game to play. Because if you start playing that game–

    Based on the people who have been attending the McCain/Palin rallies, and some of the racist and bigoted remarks they have been uttering (i.e., “vote McCain, not Hussein”, one of the far milder ones I have heard), one can then ask, why would you want to vote for the same person/ticket as these bigots, racists and anti-Semites?

  28. YM says:

    Whether Mr. Obama or Mr. McCain wins the election tomorrow, it is impossible to know that this is the result G-d “wanted” (in the positive sense of what the word “wanted” means). G-d’s ways are unfathomable, as it says in numerous places in the Torah.

  29. dovid says:

    “In any case, I am voting for McCain, not for Sarah Palin.”

    If the choice was to vote for either Sarah Palin or Barak Obama, I would vote for Sarah Palin with no hesitation. Like in the case of John McCain, the choice is between a person with sound moral principles and one with no principles.

  30. Evan Steele says:

    Mrs. Katz writes that “no white man could ever get away with attending a racist church for twenty years.” Unless, of course, that white man was a frum Jew. For us, apparantly, it’s perfectly OK to, from the pulpit, talk about “filthy Arabs,” or “schvartzas.” Among congregants, moreover, it’s perfectly OK to speak of non-Jews and blacks in particular in the most derogetory, hostile, infantile manner. The hypocracy is impressive indeed.

  31. Toby Katz says:

    Dovid,

    Don’t worry, your post did not sound “derogatory” to me.

    In any case, I am voting for McCain, not for Sarah Palin.

    Anonymous (Comment #9): I do not believe that Obama is a Muslim. I don’t believe he’s a believing Christian, either. He attended a racist, anti-Semitic, leftist, lunatic fringe church for twenty years because that’s what he had to do to be a successful black polician in Chicago. His Harvard friends know he is fundamentally secular. Liberals hate devout Christians but they have no fear of Obama, they know his “Christianity” is only skin deep. Literally, skin deep.

    Of course no Republican and no white man could ever get away with attending a racist church for twenty years, but that’s part of the liberal racism we know so well — they are oh-so-condescending and patronizing to their “little black friends,” whom they consider to be perpetual children, never to be held responsible for anything they do and forever in need of help from their white liberal Big Brother.

  32. Charles B. Hall says:

    I will be voting for Barack Obama on Tuesday. I will be voting for him because his economic policies and his health care policies are superior to those of John McCain, who can’t shake loose from the rigid ideological near worship of free markets and tax cuts that seems to dominate Republican thinking today. I also see Sen. Obama’s foreign policy as being more flexible and more in touch with reality than the bellicosity that Sen. McCain has often expressed.

    Finally, it is quite clear that Sarah Palin simply does not have adequate understanding of world conditions to be President, and her anti-intellectualism makes it appear that she is even interested in learning. Sen. McCain’s selection of her as his running mate casts doubt on his ability to choose good people to serve in his adminstration. I shudder what faces the United States should she become President and have to deal with a major crisis.

  33. One Christian's perspective says:

    “Full disclosure: Come Election Day, I will not be voting for Barack Obama, a man who sold out on full disclosure long ago. Furthermore, whatever the election’s outcome, I will watch the White House vigilantly, lifting my pen and voice whenever necessary to help safeguard the welfare and security of Americans and Jews worldwide. And finally, I will remember that God rules the rulers. He is the King of all kings, and no one rises to or falls from power unless He wills it.”

    Amen to that ! I too will not be voting for Obama because a) he changes who he was yesterday b) throws under the bus, those who would impede his progress to the White House c) he refuses to take responsibility as an adult to being friends with terrorists d) the family he takes care of is his immediate family e) follows Black Liberation theology and marxism theories as an agenda. I know Mc Cain has been tested and in that testing turned to G-d. I am not sure who Obama would turn to in a crisis and that scares me. I prefer a President who is sincere and humble and who knows they cannot be a good steward of our nation without spending time with G-d and seeking His wisdom. King David did not have a Harvard degree but he was a man after G-d’s own heart. I want a man like David not Saul – sorry if that offends anyone.

  34. Aaron says:

    The KKK and neo-nazis of the US are politically insignificant. There is no safer harbor for antisemitic rhetoric than American college campuses where the left and the Islamic apologists like Khalidi are welcome and encouraged to invite the likes of Ahmadinejad. If one fears American Christians more than 1.4 billion militant Muslims, one is a fool. The only Jews endangered by Christians since 1950 are the ignorant. How many Orthodox Jews have converted to Christianity? The threat from Christianity is easily countered with minimal effort applied in Jewish education and parents taking Judaism somewhat seriously.

    On the other hand, Khomeini’s Islamic revolution was birthed under enthusiastic midwife Dhimmi Carter. It gestated without resistance under Slick Willie. There are no more Scoop Jacksons in the Democratic Party. One must assess the party circa 2008, not circa 1948. McCain, the crossover king, is about as right-wing as Hubert Humphrey.

    Ayers and Khalidi and the return of Brzezinski will have mainstream influence under an Obamanation, moreso if (G-d forbid!) the Dhimmicrats achieve a supermajority in the Senate.

    Remember, don’t write in Palin. The vote will be uncounted and will help Obama.

  35. Garnel Ironheart says:

    Forgive a simple question from a Canadian, but i was wondering, eh?

    Y’all have a law that says a president must have been born in the U.S. I’d always assumed that meant that anyone wanting to run for president had to present some kind of proof of age and birthplace.

    Obama has no birth certificate. It seems to have gone missing. He does have a direct family member who is willing to testify that he was born in Africa, not America.

    Why is this not an issue? Why aren’t people wondering how he became a presidential candidate without proving that he’s legally qualified to be president?

  36. dovid says:

    Regarding my comment on November 1, 2008 @ 11:49 pm

    When I re-read my post, I got a sense that it may come across as derogatory towards Mrs. Toby Katz. I had no such intention.

  37. LOberstein says:

    We orthodox Jews have our own sets of complexes and issues that even the wise among us sometimes go way overboard. The election will soon be over and time will tell is the sky does indeed fall with the election of a Democrat. We need to mature and curb our emotionalism and sense of doom. The United States is not Germany in the 1930’s and the two parties are not polar opposites. Lighten up already.

  38. dovid says:

    “I assume that Toby and most of the authors here will be voting for Sarah Palin.”

    I am neither Toby nor an author of CC, but I plan to vote for Sarah Palin.

  39. anonymous says:

    I find it difficult if almost impossible to believe a man could give up his religion at the insistence of his wife in order that “he should climb higher in politics” and actually truly believe the dictates of his new “found” religion.
    Barack Hussein Obama is most likely still a Muslim. In an interview with George Stephanopolous Obama claimed that he is “deep in his Muslim faith” for which Mr. Stephanopolous had to correct Obama that Obama meant Christian faith. For those who do not think that Hashem is allowing the Jews as well as the Americans to hear Obama’s true words- wake up! He is saying them loud and clear.
    I also do not want a president who will talk with those who incite murder and those who truly wish and call for the wipe out of the Jewish people. How difficult is it for people-especially Jews to see this?
    Mr Evan Steele, I really honestly don’t care what the KKK or any of the neo- natzis think about an Obama defeat. The study isn’t worthy of anyones’ useful time.

  40. Menachem Lipkin says:

    Toby, thank you for posting this article by Ms. Willig-Levy. It is an important addition to the voices warning of a Barack presidency.

    Unfortunately, there are way too many people that are so desperate for “change and hope” that all it takes is a charismatic, poised, articulate young candidate voicing just those two words over and over ad-nausium for these desperate souls to completely suspend there disbelief and their ability for critical thinking. Never mind that the candidate has virtually no experience (he makes Sarah Palin look like a seasoned politician), never mind that he has accomplished virtually nothing, and never mind a lifetime of Marxist/radical black associations that formed the basis of his world view.

    He offers “Change and Hope” as if dangling a hypnotist’s watch. Well, if he’s elected, things are sure as heck going to CHANGE, and you’d better HOPE to G-d that we all survive these changes. (Especially those of us here in Israel).

  41. SM says:

    We get the victor God wants?

    The question as to how we vote is what God wants from us?

    It might be better to ask questions we can answer. Like who we believe will serve the country best, who articulates our hopes and dreams better, who we trust as a team. People will have different answers to these questions but they are reached through sincere reflection and a determination to exercise our individual rights – which is the moral obligation democracy imposes upon us.

  42. Ori says:

    Barry: I assume that Toby and most of the authors here will be voting for Sarah Palin. I do thank G-d that a majority of the American People will have more sense.

    Ori: Without getting into the question of whether Sarah Palin is a good choice or not, are you insane? I assume the answer is not, and therefore you’re not a prophet. Why do you think you already know the election results? IIRC in 2004 the pre-election polls showed that John Kerry would win. He did not.

  43. Barry says:

    I assume that Toby and most of the authors here will be voting for Sarah Palin. I do thank G-d that a majority of the American People will have more sense.

  44. Evan Steele says:

    Sorry, one more thing. Mrs. Willig is concerned that enemies of the Jews will be happy with an Obama victory. How does she think the KKK would feel about an Obama defeat? How about the neo-Nazis? After we lived through Fascism, does she really believe that only the far left is anti-semitic?

  45. Evan Steele says:

    Full disclosure: Come Election Day, I will be voting for Barack Obama. Let’s see. Mrs. Levy accuses Obama of being ambitious. Imagine that, a politician being ambitious and seeking power. Call me cynical, but I’ve never met one who isn’t “Machiavellian.” She notes his benefitting from increased fundraising. It is laughable to see Republicans complain about this. First of all, Republicans have enjoyed massive fundraising advantages over Democracts for decades. Prior to campaign finance reform, Republicans raked in the money from special interests that were and are repayed handsomly (see no-bid contracts in Iraq). The ultimate irony, however, is that many who criticize Obama’s fundraising opposed campaign finance reform itself. Apparantly fundraising is only an issue if it helps Democrats. Mrs. Levy accuses him of moderating his viewpoints for the general election. Here I go being cynical again, but this is typical of virtually every candidate for president. Indeed, George W. made much of his moderate, bipartisanship as a candidate, and then took a sharp right turn as President. I’m not thrilled about his willingness to talk to Iran, but the right offers no coherent alternative policy. Simply opposing dialogue is not a policy, in Iran or Israel. Finally, I, for one, find it pretty scary when people claim G-d is on their side in partisan political matters. This suggests an intolerance, and anti-intellectualism that I associate with radical Islam. No where in this or most other Jewish forums I have encountered is there rational, reasoned dialogue about this election. We, the people who’s rationality is meant to rule our emotions, can muster only emotional, largely irrational, and often infantile discourse. I don’t pretend that blogging will change anyone’s mind, but I feel it is important to make a statement that conformity of thought is not a virtue, and certainly not a Jewish value.

  46. Garnel Ironheart says:

    L’havdil (I sure hope) but consider how Haman rose from being Mordechai’s slave to the prime minister of Persia. Or how an failed Austrian painter became the chancellor of the Third Reich. Sadly, when something like this happens, there are plenty of negative precedents to scare one into thinking of its implications.

  47. Chaim Fisher says:

    So if Obama wins that’s what G-d wanted?