National Unity Then and Now
As millions of Israeli citizens go to the polls in a few days to choose the political party they wish to represent them in the 16th Knesset there will be unfortunately a significant number of voters casting their ballots strictly on the basis of which party promises to do the most harm to the Torah community in Israel. Even those for whom this is not their sole motivation will have a hard time trying to figure out which one of the close to 30 slates to select as the candidates most likely to achieve the "unity of the people" which appears as a motto in virtually every other party platform.
What a far cry from the first election held by the Jewish people 3315 years ago! In this weeks Torah portion we recall the scene at Mount Sinai where millions of Jews the entire nation stood "as one man with one heart" and unhesitatingly declared their readiness to accept G-ds offer of the Torah sight unseen. This was the greatest demonstration of national unity in all of human history and it should serve as a model for all of todays politicians who sanctimoniously preach unity.
A nation is united "as one man with one heart" only when every one of its members submits his will to the will of the Creator. Only then is the corrupting competition between individuals replaced by the uplifting recognition of every human as a creation of G-d and the bonding affection for every Jew as a fellow member of the Chosen People.
How sad that at a time when national unity is so vital for coping with the security and economic problems facing the Jews in Israel there are so many descendants of those who stood at Sinai who choose to ignore the commitment made by their ancestors and place small-minded political opportunism above the Heaven-oriented unity which alone can safeguard Israel forever.