Becoming a healthier pastor
A Biblical page-turner

Super Tuesday Eve

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday, and for once it feels to me that voting in my party's primary is actually a relevant act. (For me as a liberal here in blue-state Massachusetts, most years it's easy to imagine that my vote doesn't make much difference; but this year I think it does, and that's exciting.) According to the Jewish way of measuring time, tomorrow begins this evening at sundown; so it's erev Super Tuesday now, "Super Tuesday Eve."

Talking with my friends about the candidates, I've been struck by the extent to which each of us tends to have a few issues that we really care about, and how we each tend to evaluate candidates through the lens of those issues. For me, one of those issues is the place where politics and faith meet; I want a candidate who has faith in our ability to create a better world, and who genuinely respects this nation's range of beliefs and practices. Another of those issues is internationalism; I want a candidate who feels called to restore America's relationships with the rest of the world, and who thinks in international terms. On both of those fronts, I'm drawn to Barack Obama.

For many of you who read this blog, that litmus test issue may be Israel. Which is why I wanted to point my readers toward Why Obama is good for Israel, an editorial by Jay Michaelson (yes, the very same one whose collection of poetry I just reviewed.) Jay writes, "an Obama presidency would be of enormous benefit to a 21st century Israel, not because Clinton is dangerous in some way, but because Obama could reverse eight years of deepening hatred of America." Regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, the article is worth reading, and I recommend it highly.

I want to mention one more reason that I'm drawn to Obama: he fills me with hope. I feel called, even commanded, to relate to the world from a position of hope. Jewish tradition teaches me that the work of perfecting creation is work we are all obligated to do, and hope for a better future is a necessary prerequisite for that. The last seven years of American politics have not made that hope easy for me, and I've succumbed to cynicism and despair more often than I would like. The prospect of an Obama presidency gives me hope. To think that we could have a president who would say, and mean, things like this:

I'm hopeful because I think there's an awakening taking place in America. People are coming together around a simple truth - that we are all connected, that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper. And that it's not enough to just believe this - we have to do our part to make it a reality...

We can recognize the truth that... [t]he conversation is not over; that our roles are not defined; that through ancient texts and modern voices, God is still speaking, challenging us to change not just our own lives, but the world around us. [source]

AMEN! So, for those who'll be casting votes tomorrow, I offer the one-line blessing for voting that I posted on the cusp of the last Presidential election:

ברוך אתה ה' אלוהינו מלך העולם, אשר חונן לאדם דעת להבין ולבחור

Baruch atah Hashem eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher chonein l'adam da'at l'havin v'livchor.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, source of all being, who fills human beings with insight and knowledge, enabling us to understand and to choose.

And here's Rabbi David Seidenberg's beautiful prayer for voting (link goes to English text; you can also download a Hebrew .pdf from that site.) May we who are casting votes tomorrow be blessed to approach voting as a holy act -- and may we all do our part toward co-creating a healed and transformed world, now and always.

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