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Jews: We Are Children of Avraham; Not Political Patrons

As the Torah portion of Noah of Ark-building fame faded into Lech Lecha and Vayeira, the first and second parshas telling the story of the first Jew, Avraham, I took note of the telling timing with regard to the U.S. presidential elections and the hub-bub therein globally among Jews and non-Jews, religious and non-religious, including among my immediate circle. In the Chabad synagogue where I daven in Tsfat, on the Erev Shabbos following election night, I thought I might find respite from talk focused on the momentous and unexpected political outcome. I thought maybe my own vulnerability to focus there and that of others might be overcome, washed over by the light of Shabbos and the moving might of the welcoming Shabbos prayers. The talk of the election outcome, however, took front seat. All was not lost. By the time I arrived at my Shabbos table for the evening meal, I was able to pull things together and used the politics vs prayer tug of war as an opportunity to talk about at the Shabbos table the importance of Jews letting go of concern and responsibility for worldly affairs from a mere material perspective and to instead steal attention whenever possible back to our main assignment and responsibility in the world - the study of Torah and performance of mitzvos in the world. It is not a subject or urging that is going to go over very well among secular audiences. But it is what our Torah says is our ultimate reason for being and not the other.

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