Fame sure is fleeting. A year and a half after his election
by a impressive majority, Ehud Barak has vanished from the
political map. 800 thousand people who voted for him in '99
shifted their support this time to Sharon. What does all
Chareidi Jewry has opposed in the past and still opposes the
current electoral method, which idolizes one person.
Shomayim arranges things so that these idols are
quickly cut down, just like idols of wood and stone in which
some people believe until they are stolen or burnt. So it
was with the two former leaders, Netanyahu and Barak, whom
the masses believed achieved their fame as a result of their
own efforts. However, it quickly became apparent that they,
like those who voted for them, are merely flesh and blood.
Today they on top of the world: tomorrow at the bottom.
Today they are the leaders of e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e,
tomorrow, objects of pity of e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e.
800 thousand people drastically changed their minds and went
from idolization of Barak -- whose image is that of someone
fighting for peace -- to Sharon, whose image over the years
has been of one who makes peace with war. This indicates the
extent to which we can rely on the veneration of the masses,
and in general, on the folly of the thought, ". . .my might
and the strength of my hand have done all this." The recent
elections were eternal proof that, "not with might nor with
force, but with My spirit Hashem has said . . . "
These elections have proved once again that anyone who sets
out to battle Hashem and His Torah will be crushed: such as
Dov Tabori (one-time anti-religious mayor of Petach Tikvah,
remember?), Shulamit Aloni, Refael Eitan, and now, Ehud
Barak. We must state this again and again: One who fights
against Hashem and His Torah as well as against Shabbos
observance and Torah study, will be routed quickly. It is a
pity that the secular don't see this self-evident truth.
Perhaps all of these case studies could be compiled in a
pamphlet and be presented as food for thought to every
elected official, so that they won't even think of acting
against the Creator of the world.
Over the years, the media has been espousing the erroneous
assumption that the chareidi sector can be categorized as
part of the extreme Right, and opposes the return of
territories and peace.
This erroneous assumption is rooted in a combination of the
viciousness of the media and a misinterpretation of the
chareidi tendency to vote for the Right. Although we have
constantly explained that voting for the Right stems from
religious, not nationalist, motives, they refuse to believe
As I wrote last week, in the recent elections, the secular
journalists assumed at the outset that the chareidim would
vote for Sharon, supposedly because they think so highly of
him. There were some who went so far as to claim that the
chareidi sector would vote even if the gedolei
haTorah did not instruct them to do so.
In order to prove their claims, the Leftists always pointed
to certain chareidim on the periphery: those who
participated in Right-wing demonstrations or groveled before
Sharon (and Netanyahu). This was supposedly proof of
chareidi esteem for Sharon.
Chareidi representatives always claim that the chareidi
sector isn't afflicted with any sort of fondness for secular
figures, and that the entire chareidi sector listens only to
the guidelines of gedolei hador.
The elections have proved this unequivocally.
In past elections, avreichim and bnei yeshiva
began to work for the party at dawn on election day, because
the gedolei hador instructed us to do our utmost for
the success of UTJ. In the latest elections, however, there
was no call to get excited over any particular candidate
thanks to his good deeds nor to work on his behalf. Instead,
there was a call to get rid of a leader who threatened our
existence and to replace him with one who, it is hoped, will
not behave in the same way.
Note what the chareidi public did: precisely as the
gedolei hador instructed them. It voted, and its
voting patterns proved clearly showed that its vote was
because of the rabbonim's summons and not because of its
support of either the Right or Ariel Sharon.
From the early hours of the morning, the media reported
minimal percentages of voter turnout among chareidim. At
2:00 P.M., the voting rate among chareidim was only 10% (as
opposed to an overall rate of 45%). In Jerusalem the voting
rate was even lower: not exactly the behavior of a sector
which was said to admire Sharon. The media said, "The Arabs
and the chareidim aren't voting," and one commentator even
added that the chareidim were not, after all, heeding the
call of the rabbonim. Suddenly they were neither Rightists
nor nationalists nor even fans of Sharon. What happened?
At the end of the day, large percentages of chareidim turned
out to vote: in percentages much higher than the national
average. But they voted in order to fulfill the direct
guidelines of the gedolei Yisroel -- not as
enthusiastic fans of a particular candidate. They came out
to vote en masse, and this fact was a double and even triple
kiddush Hashem. The chareidi sector proved that it
isn't Rightist, and surely not extreme. Only one thing
concerns it: religious matters. It went out to vote as one
only because the gedolei Yisroel had instructed it to
The fact that the chareidi sector, "as one man and one
heart" followed the rabbonim's directives gives it much more
power than having lots of seats in the Knesset. If a sector
is subject to outside influence, it stops being a
tzibbur and becomes a mob of individuals who can be
influenced by either the media or through other means. One
cannot ignore an entire sector. This message should be
internalized by those who permit themselves "independent
thought." Independent thought only lessens one's power,
changing him into a simple, non-influential citizen. It is
only our obedience to the gedolei haTorah that makes
us into a tzibbur and raises our strength tenfold.
Let us close with a story that I heard a few days ago in the
home of HaRav Aharon Leib Steinman, which testifies to the
extent to which obedience to the gedolei hador is the
only incentive that guides the chareidi sector.
On election day, an outstanding bochur came to the
home of HaRav Steinman and asked whether he should vote. He
claimed that he was working on shemiras ho'einayim
and tried to avoid places where there were stumbling blocks.
The Rosh Hayeshiva told him to go to vote. After a few
moments, the student returned and asked for a special
brocho from HaRav Steinman: that he not stumble with
shemiras ho'einayim. HaRav Steinman and those in his
home at the time were stirred by this, regarding the young
man's behavior as a kiddush Hashem and a limud
zechus for the Jewish Nation and the yeshiva world that
has borne such fruits.