Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Benefit of the Doubt

"Barack, which means 'blessing'; Hussein - don't ask! - and Obama, which is an old Kenyan word for 'Kennedy'..."
- Robin Williams

"After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."
- Spock, "Amok Time"

As anyone not sealed in cryogenic freeze knows by now, today the sun rose for the first time on a 44th US President, Barack Obama. After all the hype and hoopla, all the hints, hypotheses and huzzahs, it's time to see what our new president is really made of, and how he'll deal with the great many genuine, serious issues facing our country and the world as a whole.

I certainly was not among Obama's admirers, supporters, or voters, for a variety of reasons articulated over the past year by commentators too numerous to list. But the time for such considerations, for criticism and negativity, is, in my mind, past. Perhaps, it will be future as well. But for today, I'm willing to give President Obama the benefit of my (many) doubts, and continue to hold on to the hopes I articulated right after the election.

Perhaps you disagree. Then let me at least say this: our Sages tell us to pray for the welfare of the government. This rule was articulated during a time period of far more despotic, destructive, and yes, Jew-hating regimes than any US administration could conceivably ever become. If it applied to them, how much more so does it apply to our new POTUS? So let me end by echoing words from the contemporary US version of that prayer:
He Who grants salvation to kings and dominion to rulers, Whose kingdom is a kingdom spanning all eternities... may He bless the President, the Vice President, and all the constituted officers of government of this land. The King Who reigns over kings, in His mercy may He sustain them and protect them from every trouble, woe and injury. May He rescue them; and put into their heart and into the heart of all their counselors compassion to do good with us and with all Israel, our brethren. In their days and in ours, may Judah be saved and may Israel dwell securely, and may the Redeemer come to Zion. So may it be His will, and let us respond: Amen.


At 1/26/09, 5:33 PM, Blogger trn said...

It upsets me when because of their dislike for an administration people refuse to take part in such a prayer.

The prayer is asking for the driver of the bus to be kept safe and do a good job by us and is not some song of praise.

It is perhaps almost more important to include this prayer when one has doubts, keeping in mind the hope to be proven wrong.

I always liked coming to the point during tefilah of the prayer for our country.

At 1/26/09, 5:40 PM, Blogger Elie said...

Thanks for the comment - thought this post would pass into oblivion without any. I suppose my point wasn't all that controversial. But I did want an excuse to quote that Robin Williams line!

And I do feel tefila for the government is important, no matter who is in charge. It's hard to imagine any US leader being as bad as Nebuchadnezzar, for whom it was first instituted! (see Jeremiah 29:7)

At 1/26/09, 6:07 PM, Blogger trn said...

The Robin Williams line is a good one!

I liked the post very much. I've been playing catchup online. I wanted to comment on this but felt commenting on the birthday post was a priority. I finally did the latter, second-guessing my comment there since. Then out came Musical Monday.

Thank you for the post, for your appreciation and follow-up comment, and for the historical information.


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