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.