Rav Chaim Soloveichik on the Beit Shemesh Elections

Rav Soloveichik
Rav Chaim Soloveichik

I am not expressing my thoughts in order to let people know for whom I intend to vote. I believe that for whom one vote’s is a personal decision. I signed a letter in support of a specific candidate merely in order to convey that one may feel free to vote for the candidate whom one sees as being the better one. This is not my personal chiddush, but the Mesorah that I received from my father, HaRav Aharon Soloveichik, a Gadol who had the respect of the Gedolim from the previous generation.
I am dismayed by the behavior of the perceived Torah community. Let me be clear. this election campaign did not become a religious conflict as a result of the actions of non-observant Jews. A war has indeed been waged by the same people who tout the values of Torah and Shabbos. The current campaign started with signs about להקהל ולעמד על נפשם  , implying that the elections in Bet Shemesh are similar to the war against Haman and his cohorts from the days of Mordechai.
We also heard slander about a plan to have buses run in Bet Shemesh on Shabbos. Besides the fact such an intention never existed, it was and is completely absurd to imagine that a company would send buses even to the older parts of Bet Shemesh on Shabbos. As an aside, on Nachal HaYarkon street all the residents suffered on Shabbos over the years, hearing construction in R.B.S. Gimmel. All complaints to city officials did not succeed in stopping the construction until someone was able to speak to the Chief Rabbi about the Shabbos construction which brought merely a temporary reprieve. This happened during the previous administration. I am mentioning this for the purpose of pointing out that those who speak arrogantly and imperiously in the name of Torah need to be more introspective and speak with greater modesty when deeming to decide for all of our fine community which candidate so clearly better serves the cause of frumkeit.
I also have heard that there are plans for music to be played in R.B.S. on Shabbos That’s right, I guess it must be reasonable to suppose that unless one particular candidate wins, then a band will be hired to play at every park in the Ramah for two hours on a Friday night, just as a payback against religious Jews. What kind of a person could believe such an accusation, and even worse, what type of person could invent such an accusation.
Why am I writing today? Because, when I was out, I saw the latest election poster: “I love G-d and therefore I won’t vote for people who hate G-d.” What can I say? If a group of Torah Jews acts in such a fashion  then I can only say: תורה תורה חגרי שק.  I think that some people in our community are for some reason so afraid of the outcome of the elections that they have accepted the notion that “the ends justify the means”. This means that one may do anything one wants: lie, cheat ,denigrate as long as the Torah tzibur will get what it needs. I was raised differently. My mother, Rebbetzin Ella Soloveichik, obm, who came from forty nine generations of Rabbonim, taught me that you cannot build Torah by destroying it first . My father, zt’l in very strong terms always taught that we must learn and practice Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof. As the Targum Yonasan explains: one should pursue justice with justice. We should never resort to unjust ways in order to pursue justice because the idea of the ends justifying the means is repugnant to Torah.
I hope that with Purim approaching all the Jews of Bet Shemesh will allow the Torah to influence all of their actions, not just how they learn or keep Shabbos. May all of our other actions be sanctified as well with the spirit of the Torah and may we be zocheh to bring a true Kiddush Hashem in our community.

Chayim Soloveichik


  1. פוליטקה and עֲמָלֵק have the same Gematria. This is only when spelled with one Yud, however when you add the second Yud פוליטיקה it includes Hashems name.

    Now at first I though this was a remez that we must have torah based values in the govt because by adding Hashems Name to it its not the same gemtria any more and that means its not Amalek. so based on that I think we should vote for Abutbul.. (or so I thought) to bring torah to the govt and sort of be mekarev amalek...

    until I heard about a Rabbi having a dicussion with another rabbi that turned violent on the streets of beit shemesh, in one of the most religious neighborhoods in the world.. this is what happens when you try to mekarev Amalek..

    We are not aloud to try and mekarev amalek THAT IS ASSUR we need to obliterate the name of amalek and distance ourselves from amalek, we must forget Amalek and never make peace with amalek. Destroy Amalek, Kill amalek.. anything but make peace with amalek and try to mekarev them...

    Going into Govt is the downfall of every religious leader.. not once has a leader taken office and fulfilled his obligations. Not once has an elected member of the govt ever do what they said they were setting out to do.. not one.

    This isnt any differernt - I have to say I am a bit of a Satmar when it comes to the elections and think that if you are "religous" or Torah Observant you should distance yourself from the elections... Forget the elections..

    And at what time - its purim, they got it right there is a case of haman and amalek but its not who they say it is.. is it.

    1. If according to you a religious Jew should distance himself from elections, then he should definitely not run for office.

  2. The problem with the letter he is endorsing the non religious candidate by complaining about the flaws of the religious. Like there is nothing wrong with other side. How petty politics are used because of financial considerations for their institutions.


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