A young man went to his rabbi to discuss a serious issue. The rabbi listened intently and afterward suggested that the young man focus on the matter with intensity during his daily prayers. A few weeks later, the man returned to the rabbi to report that he had been davening with passion, but there did not seem to be any response from Hashem.
The rabbi leaned back in his chair and offered a sobering analysis on the matter: “Hashem did respond to you, my friend, but the answer was no.”
From our vantage point today it looks like the United States is headed in the direction of political chaos by design. Joe Biden may be sworn in as this country’s 46th president on January 20, but it also looks like he may be mired in serious legal trouble from the very start.
Has all this been plotted and choreographed in advance? That would mean withholding the Biden family corruption stories so that once Biden is sworn in on January 20, he is soon thereafter forced to abdicate, paving the way for a Kamala Harris presidency.
One of the things we are witnessing here is the wisdom of the founders of this country in the prescribed passage of time between Election Day (which was a long time ago, on November 3) and the inauguration of a president, which is scheduled, per the 20th Amendment, for January 20.
The passage of time has the ability to allow those closest to the action to place matters in context and to deliberate and consider the consequences of actions. Even President Trump, who believed he had the election won handily, may come to realize that there may be an even more effective role for him to play in the future from outside government. That new role might be more satisfying and even enjoyable. We will see.
At the same time, while there are numerous dates and times that advance the process of picking and inaugurating a president, it seems that those days are not sacrosanct and not necessarily mandated by the Constitution. So whether it was this past Monday or next week or even the first week in January, all those dates may have legal portability.
There is a similar type of dynamic that takes place in this week’s Torah portion where Yaakov Avinu and one of his children are involved in at least two incidents that are all about timing and scheduling.
First there is Yosef who seemed to be regarded by his brothers in a fashion not too dissimilar from the way Democrats have been handling Mr. Trump these past five years. Of course, there is no comparison between the personalities involved, but one cannot ignore the parallel nuances in the way each group decided to deal with the individual whom they regarded as a nemesis.
It seems rather clear that if Democrats and even some Republicans could have had their way, they would not have minded at all to toss Mr. Trump into a pit populated with snakes and scorpions.
After Yosef was sold to Egyptian merchants, he ended up in Pharaoh’s prison for two years. While he was incarcerated, he had to wait for Pharaoh’s butler to fall out of the good graces of the Egyptian leader, for the butler to be imprisoned, to have a dream while in prison, and to be released. And even after Yosef asked the butler to put in a good word for him with the powers that be, the butler promptly forgot about him for two years. That is, until one night Pharaoh had his own inexplicable dream.
Pharaoh could have had the dreams earlier; after all, the dreams were about events yet to take place. But the great Yosef HaTzaddik was imprisoned for a period that was designated long before any of these events began to unfold.
Also in this week’s Torah portion, as long as we are on the subject of timing, Yaakov desired to reveal to his children when the end of days and the redemption of the Jewish people will occur. The information was momentarily lost to him so he was unable to share it with them. Was he going to tell them that Mashiach is going to come and take us all to Eretz Yisrael in 3,500 years? What kind of encouraging news would that have been? More likely it would have been the opposite of encouraging.
The point of all this is that we are not privy to Divine calculus. We don’t know why Yosef had to linger in limbo in jail for two years. We don’t know why the Jewish people had to serve as slaves in Egypt for 400 years (that ultimately was reduced to 210 depending on the mathematical formulas you’d like to use). We don’t understand why such important information as the “keitz,” the end of the Jewish exile, was blocked from being revealed to Yaakov Avinu.
And we are also at a loss, on a smaller scale, to understand what will indeed unfold over these next few weeks until the date of the presidential inauguration. We would all like things of this nature to happen quickly. But when it comes to Donald Trump, one thing we learned is that very few things are predictable or go easy.
Some prefer simplifying what took place here, and that does become easier for many as time goes on. That is another brilliant aspect of the fashion in which the passage of time helps us accept and synthesize changes we were not anticipating.
This week, President-elect Biden criticized Mr. Trump for constitutionally not accepting what he characterized as the will of the people in the November 3rd vote. However, the exact opposite is the truth. President Trump and his attorneys are pursuing all legal and constitutional recourse that exists as he attempts to reverse the results of what he and his people believe was an election fraught with a massive amount of fraud. They have a right to believe that, just as others have a right not to.
Rosie Ruiz was a young long-distance runner who crossed the finish line first in the 1979 New York Marathon. She accomplished the same feat in the 1980 Boston Marathon. But when runners who finished after her observed that she wasn’t sweating or panting like the others and that she could not recall certain landmarks along route, suspicions kicked in. Over the next few weeks it was discovered that Ruiz started the race just like the others but then at some point dashed into the subway station and rode the trains to a half-mile before the marathon finish line. Then she ran the last half-mile and was declared the female winner of both the New York and the Boston races in record-breaking time.
Joe Biden didn’t ride the subway but sat in his Delaware basement for most of the presidential campaign; there is no denying that — this is what he was known for, more than anything else throughout the campaign. Still, he received the most votes of any presidential candidate in the history of the United States. He crossed the finish line and was declared the winner.
President Biden will be sworn in as president on January 20. But the clock does not stop at that point. Information about the voting irregularities in key states will continue to spill out. And then, one day, time will be up.
Contact Larry Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow 5 Towns Jewish Times on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates and live videos. Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome at 5TJT.com and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.