Saturday, August 16, 2008

Chatting with Moses, Vol. 1: Voting & Democracy

Had some fun tonight with a rabbi over @ I've removed the rabbi's name for the sake of anonymity; anyways, check it out:

Me: Who should I vote for? Barack Obama or John McCain?

Rabbi: Welcome. Please type your question and I will respond shortly.*

Rabbi: How do you know that I am the right person to ask?

Me: Halachically speaking, that is. Politics aside.

Rabbi: The shulchan aruch says nothing about it

Me: Clearly. But based on the knowledge gained from studying the Torah and other sources, which of the two are the "better" choice. Who would Moses vote for? ;D

Rabbi: Moses didn't believe in democracy

Me: That's true. I've once been told by a rabbi that in fact, democracy is incompatible with the Torah to begin with.

Me: So does that mean that frum Jews shouldn't vote? I believe the Pirkei Avot also mention straying from government, correct?

Rabbi: We don't give voting advice here one way or the other

Me: I'm not really asking for advice. Strictly based on the blueprint set forth by halachah of various sources, is it preferable that we disassociate ourselves with government and/or voting, or should we in fact get involved (by voting, supporting candidates etc.)?

Rabbi: We are still connected. As I am currently chatting with 5 people please be patient.*

Rabbi: I have not forgotten about you. We are currently experiencing high volume of traffic, please continue to hold.*

Rabbi: I will not give opinions on this matter

Warning : You have been inactive for 4 minutes. Unless there is a resumption of activity, in one minute you will be automatically disconnected from the AskMoses chat system.*

Me: But I thought you said that Moses opposed (or "didn't believe in") democracy. So that would lead me to believe that we should oppose it too. Right?

Rabbi: I just made a statement it wasn't meant to direct you on your voting

Me: Fine. So forget voting, then. On the issue of democracy: is it true that it is incompatible with the way in which the Torah and other scholars teach us to structure our lives as a community

Me: ?

Rabbi: In some ways yes

Me: How do we reconcile this conflict?

Rabbi: We don't have a choice in the matter

Me: What do you mean? Even Yisroel is ruled as a democracy, and that's supposed to be our homeland. Would it be too far-fetched for frum Jews in Yisroel to demand the abolishment of democracy in the homeland?

Me: Surely we have a choice in THAT matter: Israel.

Rabbi: I really don't want to continue this conversation

Me: I understand it's an uncomfortable topic of discussion, but wouldn't you admit that it's a fair question to be asking? The fact that no one is willing to answer these questions (I've asked other Rebbeim as well) is very unnerving...

Me: Hello?

Me: Alright..... well, shavua tov........... ;-|

* automated/computer response