March 17, 2015
Dear Friend of The Fellowship,
The British writer Charles Moore once described Israel as “a noisy democracy.”
Seldom has the “noisy” nature of Israel’s democracy been more apparent than it is now, as the Jewish state votes in today’s elections. Campaign signs seem to have been posted on every public space, and the television and radio are dominated by political ads.
Sometimes this public conversation can become overly partisan and bitter, and shed more heat than light. But, though it can be an annoyance, I look at this as a sign of overall societal strength. Such passionate public dialogue can only flourish in democracies like Israel or Canada. Under totalitarian regimes, where speech and action are tightly regulated and restricted, there is silence.
Let us never forget the words of the Bible: “Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save … Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God” (Psalm 146: 3, 5). I don’t believe this verse encourages cynical mistrust of all those in power as much as it admonishes us that divine power is infinitely greater than human power. Often, we look to our worldly leaders for every solution, while forgetting the One who is all-powerful; we look at the loss by the political candidate we favour as the ultimate catastrophe, while forgetting that God is still sovereign over the world and all that is in it.
And also, let us never forget that true freedom is found in acting in faith and courage, trusting in God, and acknowledging His sovereignty and dominion over our lives.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein