The boards have been going up for quite some time now.
Not just storefronts, but the windows of our soul have been shuttered.
Hiding from diseases and dissent we’ve locked ourselves away into the false safety of echo-chambers and seclusion.
But it all ends tonight, doesn’t it?
Of course not.
It ends when we choose for it to end.
Noach’s attempt to silently escape the evils of the world was unsuccessful, so too, the attempt to build a world with one unified voice. That tower came crumbling down.
We now know this from experience, from anyone brave enough to experience –
that the secluded teivah-ark is stifling and the tower of Truth is so tall that dizziness bleeds into arrogance.
Our hero is Avraham Ha-Ivri. Ivri, explains Rashi, from the word, eiver/side. “Avraham stood on one side of the world while everyone else stood on the other.” He was true to himself and his beliefs, and yet, still cared deeply about the many ‘others.’ Avraham fought injustice and yet, prayed for the wellbeing of his spiritual foes. One man against the world, armed with nothing but faith and kindness, and here we are, thousands of years later, that one man won. So enough with the towers and teivahs. They’re still not working. It’s time to dust off those ancient values.
Yes, every vote counts, but as descendants of Avraham we know that…
So does every prayer.
So does every mitzvah.
So does every attempt to understand a viewpoint other than our own.
So does every step towards people of a different persuasion, color, faith.
So does every rejection of falsehood.
So does every embrace of truth, even when it hurts.
We’ve dropped off our ballots, the outcome of the election is completely out of our hands,
but instead of spending the next hours in anxious wait, why don’t we do something meaningful tonight?
Instead of checking the voting tally every ten minutes, why not pray for a peaceful outcome?
Instead of going down the rabbit hole of possible electoral maps, why not pause for a moment to reflect on how much is not in our hands?
Instead of doubling down on our candidate and why they absolutely must win, why not reflect for a moment on why almost 50% of this country disagrees with you?
There is, after all, more at stake here than who will reside on Pennsylvania Avenue. The outcome of this country doesn’t end at the voting booth, nor in the electoral college, and not even on January 20th. This toxicity ends when enough individuals decide it’s time. Like Avraham Ha-Ivri, your actions can make a difference, and that’s true regardless of what state you live in; one man or woman alone can really change the world.