Shabbat Infusion: The Torah is Political

ballot boxOn my first trip to the State Fair I had my first taste of state politics, not just fried pickles on a stick. Candidates mingled with fair-goers at the great Minnesota get together to discuss a wide range of issues.
I don’t believe the Torah is registered in a partisan way, DFL or Republican, but shines a bright light on politics, the art and science of shaping policy for us to be an “or la’goyyim,” a light to the nations. The Torah narrates a story about liberation, of our people enslaved by Pharaoh, and the power unleashed in crossing the Red Sea to freedom. That story continues to inspire liberation movements and experiences of people of color to the LGBT community. The Torah presents stories of land conquest and war and creates standards for eating, farming, caring for the orphan, widow and those neglected on the margins of society. Today, our expressions of support for Israel or concern for world Jewry are political acts, as are the ways we become involved with other noble efforts.
Politics, whether local or global, deals with how we believe society should reflect certain ideals. But politics has become a dirty word.
Can’t the Torah, Jewish tradition, inspire us to give voice to our values with respect, imagination, and creativity? How does Judaism affect you at the ballot box?
Rabbi Aaron Weininger is an assistant rabbi at Adath Jeshurun Congregation. Aaron founded Makom, a young vibrant community for down-to-earth Judaism in the Twin Cities. Aaron is passionate about connecting the spark of each person to the warmth of community. Continue the conversation next week at Third Fridays.
(Photo: Bracknell Forest Council)