Are you better off than four years ago? This is the question being posed today by both parties as we go into the last two months of an election year.
I don’t get involved in politics nor do I speak or write about it. But the question is a great one. The underlying foundation is that you should indeed be doing better today than you were four years ago.
What a wonderful idea. Every year should be better than the year before. And certainly things should be better than they were four years ago, eight years ago and 28 years ago.
Let’s turn the question around; are you a better person today than you were four years ago? Is your marriage better off than it was four years ago? Are you a better parent than you were four years ago? Do you have a better understanding of G-d and a better relationship with G-d than four years ago?
If the assumption is that the economy, national security etc. should be better off every year and certainly every four years then shouldn’t the same be true about you and I?
Well, our New Year is our election time. We look into our hearts and souls (yes we are a divided self) and we need to elect one part of our soul as the leader of our life.
Are we going to follow our animalistic self or our more sublime rational and G-dly self?
And we look back on the year and we see which side of us gave us a better year. Are we better off today because we followed our animalistic self or are we worse off or are we the same?
If we would have followed our more G-dly side would we have been better off? Worse off? The same?
Are our relationships better off because we allowed our animalistic side to lead or they would be better off if we let the G-dly side lead?
What future do you want for your country i.e. yourself and your future?
What is the result and outcome of your life?
Now is the time for you to hold your own personal conventions. So that you can hear both sides of the debate and make an informed choice.
The outcome of this debate is much more important than the election in November. This is your life.
Make your conventions, attend them, get good speakers and make up your mind.
This year make your vote count on your personal Election Day (Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year), and we will not only vote together but we will celebrate the victory of our better self winning the campaign.
When we make the proper choice and personally make next year better than four years ago or even last year, that will have a positive effect in the areas where we have limited or no direct control.
May your campaign go well (please keep it civil), a make next year much better than the past year.
Rabbi Zalman Marcus