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How to Vote in the Elections

Question: What is the Torah outlook regarding Presidential elections? I cannot come to terms with either the Republican or Democratic candidate, as I feel they do not fully represent my interests and values. Should I stay home on Election Day?

Answer: I believe your issue is addressed by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein zt”l in a letter he wrote in the 1980’s. He writes, “The rights guaranteed by the constitution and the Bill of Rights have allowed us the freedom to practice our religion without interference and to live in this republic in safety. A fundamental principal in Judaism is Hakaras HaTov (gratitude); recognizing the benefits afforded us and giving expression to our appreciation. Therefore it is incumbent upon each Jewish citizen to participate in the democratic system which guards the freedoms we enjoy.”

It is interesting to note that Rabbi Feinstein spent the first half of his life in Communist Russia where faithful observance of the Torah could be a capital offense. Having to flee Russia and finding refuge in the United States, he was as keenly aware as anyone of the sense of gratitude to this country and its democratic system of governance.

I have heard that Rabbi Feinstein once commented, based on the words of King Solomon, “The heart of the king is in the hand of G-d” (Proverbs 21), that it’s not so important who you vote for. Just make sure to vote. Of course, from a practical standpoint, you should try to choose the candidate whose policies will be most beneficial to the values you stand for, including the benefit of the Jewish People.

All the Best,
Shlomo Soroka

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