By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for

The headlines blasted how in today’s vote on Iron Dome funding – which passed 420-9, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) both cried and changed her vote.

Most people who both a] study Chumash and Rashi and b] read current headlines cannot help but make the comparison.  The pertinent biblical text, of course, is Bereishis 33:4. “And Esau ran towards him (Jacob) and he embraced him and fell upon his neck and he kissed him and they cried.”

Rashi explains:  There are dots on it [this word] and there is a disagreement about the matter. Some explain the dots to tell us that Aisav didn’t kiss him with his whole heart [crocodile kiss and crocodile tears]. Rashbi explains it otherwise: It is a given law – it is known that Aisav hates Yaakov. But at this time his mercy was aroused and he kissed him with his whole heart.

The parallels between today’s vote and the passage in Chumash are utterly fascinating.    There are five parallels – for those who are counting.  But it could be that there may also be a significant difference.

Both are perceived as anti-Semitic haters.
Both had previously wished to undermine the Jewish nation.
Both apparently changed their minds.
Both cried.
Both were accused of shedding crocodile tears.


Aisav wished in his heart to kill his brother. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has a strong record of supporting terrorists who murder innocent Israelis.
Aisav had four hundred armed men and was initially marching toward Jacob’s camp with the mission and purpose of wiping him out and his entire family.   Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) initially had a negative House vote – to deny money to restore its Iron Dome Missile Protection System that defends innocent children, women, and civilians from missiles directed at them – the Iron Dome which has saved countless lives of Israeli citizens, and Israeli Arabs as well.  This vote would help wipe out Jews and their families.
Aisav ended up hugging Yakov and not killing him. AOC changed her vote to “present” and not “a nay” to the funding.
Aisav cried and AOC cried.
Some are of the opinion that Aisav still hated Yaakov at that point. Some have accused AOC of shedding crocodile tears, as the following quotes indicate.

“But are the Jews really going to say ‘well, she didn’t vote no. She voted ‘present’ and cried about it which is totally different,” New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz questioned.

“AOC seems distraught. She is in the middle of the house floor wiping away tears, crying into her colleague’s shoulders,” journalist Jake Sherman wrote on Twitter.

“Theatre and bad theatre at that,” Meghan McCain responded.

Online users speculated that the lawmaker wanted “to vote No but was talked out of it for some strategic reason” as she sets her eyes on the Senate.

“If not voting ‘no’ is that upsetting, then vote ‘no.’ Otherwise these are crocodile tears,” The Intercepts'” Eoin Higgins reacted.

“She most likely changed her vote because there is a good chance her new district(due to redistricting) will include Riverdale which has a large pro-Israel/Jewish population,” another user speculated.


It could very well be that the first opinion in Rashi held that Aisav did, in fact, react emotionally, but it wasn’t full-hearted.  AOC could possibly have faked the tears entirely, because she was genuinely eyeing Schumer’s senate seat.  On the other hand, the Midrash does tell us that Aisav tried biting Yaakov at the time, but his neck had miraculously hardened.

This author took a brief poll of a number of people – who they think is worse – Aisav or AOC.  The overwhelming majority felt that they were the same.

The author can be reached at


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