Colors: Yellow Color

Everyone is congratulating Bibi Netanyahu on his victory in the recent Israeli elections. President Biden called him, and the world is getting ready for another term of Netanyahu as Prime Minister. There’s only one problem: Contrary to what everyone is saying and everything you are reading, Bibi did not win these elections! Think I’m crazy? (Don’t answer that!) Allow me to explain.

I’ve never been a fan of Kabbalah. I acknowledge that it is based in tremendous holiness and wisdom, but it’s simply way over my head. I have tried to understand it – several times – but it goes in one ear and out the other. I think the reason for this is because I am a Jew who is deeply rooted in the world of action. You want me to shake a lulav, put on t’filin, eat matzah, and lend money to the poor? No problem – tell me how. Explain the details of the commandment and I will gladly perform the task. It is an honor and an amazing privilege to serve the King of Kings, but I need proper instructions and guidelines. Telling me, on the other hand, that the left side of my body is affected while simultaneously connecting me to the attribute of splendor makes me ask the great question: Huh?

Israelis head to the polls next week (Tuesday, November 1) for the fifth time since 2019. Many people have asked me why this happens, and my answer is always the same: Israelis just want a day off! Election Day in Israel is similar to the one thing I miss about life in America: Sunday! No work, no school – just a day to spend with the family. Since the act of voting takes less than ten minutes, which includes schmoozing with friends on the voting line and yelling at the leftists who are campaigning to destroy the country, a whole day is left to enjoy with the kids and grandkids.

My wife and I were eating Friday night Shabbat dinner in one of the Israeli hotels, when we noticed a family sitting next to us who were clearly not religious. The kids – and parents – were on their phones, and the father had more tattoos than most NBA players. However, even though everyone else was pushing his/her way to the buffet, this family was just sitting and waiting, until the father put a napkin on his head and said, “Time to make Kiddush.” Two of the boys put a napkin-kipah on, as well, and they all stood at the table. The father then recited a beautiful Kiddush – while reading the text from his iPhone! After Kiddush, the father and the boys went to wash “n’tilas yadayim” while the mother and girls sat and waited. A few moments later, the fellows came back, and the father made a loud HaMotzi brachah (this time by heart – no need for the phone). They all had some bread, took the napkins off their heads and proceeded to the buffet.

I am currently in New York celebrating a family simchah. As I walked into shul this past Friday night, the gabbai ran over to me and said, “Shmuel, we’d love for you to daven for us tonight. Can you daven fast?” I looked him straight in the eye and said, “You asked the wrong question. It’s not about if I can daven fast – it’s about if I can daven b’simchah.” He looked at me, smiled cordially and said, “Maybe next time.”

We are currently in the middle of “The Seven Weeks of Comfort,” the period after Tish’ah B’Av where we focus on how to rise from the ashes and rebuild our lives. The talk of death, destruction, and tragedy is over, and we have turned our attention to t’shuvah, t’filah, and tz’dakah. However, as we enter the world of Elul, allow me to make one final point about the period we just concluded. If all you did during the last two months was say kinos, and not shave or listen to music, you missed the point!