There is a blessing for everything. We have blessings for the bad and the good. A blessing is, at its core, an acknowledgment. Some of our blessings give gratitude like when we recite the Motzi before eating bread, we recognize that many hands and a divine power were part of bringing food to our table. Other blessings ask for God’s intervention in our lives, like when we sing Mi Shebeirach for those in need of healing, we acknowledge our fragile health, the need we have for healing, and the gratitude we give to our doctors, nurses, caregivers, and ourselves to heal. So too do we offer a blessing, an acknowledgment, following the 2019 Israeli elections for the 21st Knesset.
As it stands right now, Benjamin Netanyahu will lead Israel’s government for an unprecedented 5th term. Our blessing for Israel and its future leaders must give gratitude for the democratic process, for free elections, and for the power of the people to choose their representatives. Yet, our blessing also acknowledges that Reform Jewish Israelis and LGBTQ Israelis lack the equality they deserve due to the power of the official Orthodox Rabbanut of the State of Israel. We also offer a blessing that this government will be leaders in mending any fissures and fractures between Diaspora Jews and Israelis in the years to come. As we enter Shabbat, we remind ourselves that our Reform Zionist values are not contingent on a particular prime minister. Our Reform Zionist values are determined by our deep love for Israel and are informed by our enduring understanding of Torah.
Let this be our blessing this Shabbat:
Tzur Yisrael, Rock of Israel, bless the State of Israel and its newly elected leaders. May those who govern our Home draw upon the wisdom of Torah to lead with justice, compassion, and equality for all citizens. May security and contentment reign within its borders, honor and integrity in the hearts of all its leaders. Most of all may peace flourish throughout the land, from the Negev to Mt. Hermon, from the shores of Tel Aviv to the hills of Jerusalem.
May this be our blessing. Amen.