The battle for elections
Parsha and its Implementation – Parashat Yitro - Rabbi Eliezer Shenvald - 5769
At the center of Parashat Yitro is the revelation at Mount Sinai and the giving of the Torah. What led to the acceptance of the Torah is the choice of the Jewish people in the Torah in the founding declaration of “Na’aseh v’Nishma; first “we’ll do” (obey), and then “we’ll listen” (learn).” Rabbi Elazar said: "When Israel anticipated we’ll do to we’ll listen, a voice came out and said to them: Who revealed to the children that the ministering angels use it:
בָּרֲכ֥וּ ה' מַלְאָ֫כָ֥יו גִּבֹּ֣רֵי כֹ֭חַ עֹשֵׂ֣י דְבָר֑וֹ לִ֝שְׁמֹ֗עַ בְּק֣וֹל דְּבָרֽוֹ׃"
"Bless Hashem, O His angels, mighty creatures who do His bidding, ever obedient to His bidding;" (Psalms 103;20) in the beginning, "Do," and then "obedient" (Shabbat 88a)
The people of Israel's choice of saying "Na’aseh v’Nishma", to choose to accept in advance, even before hearing, was the culmination of human election in history - a kind of mega-selection. We experience its effects and experience every day after so many generations.
The choice of the people of Israel preceded, according to Chazal, a process in which there was a real possibility, for all nations to choose the Torah. "When G-d revealed himself in order to give the Torah to Israel, not only to Israel did He reveal Himself but rather to all the nations. First, he went to the sons of Esav: He said to them would you like to accept the Torah? They answered – what is written in it? He said to them-"Thou shalt not murder”. They said – our national essence, going back to our father, is murder, as it says: “But the hands are the hands of Esav”, and “By your sword shall you live”. He went to the sons of Amon and Moav and said to them – Would you like to accept the Torah? They answered – What is written in it? He said to them– “Thou shall not commit adultery”. They said to Him – Our national essence comes straight from the semen of incest, as it says: “And the two daughters of Lot became pregnant from their father”. He went to the sons of Yishmael and said to them - would you like to accept the Torah? They answered Him – what is written in it? He said to them – “Thou shalt not steal”. They said –Our national essence and vitality comes from thievery and robbery, as it says: “And he will be a wild ass of a man”. And so, with all the nations; He asked them if they would like to accept the Torah, etc. When the Holy One Blessed be He saw this, He therefore gave them to Israel... "(Sifrei Devarim, piska 343). The Ramchal, unlike the Maharal, explains the words of Chazal literally, that the nations had the absolute possibility of choosing to accept the Torah (Ramchal Derech 4 Chelek 2 Perek 4).
Man's power of choice is the power that distinguishes him from all other creatures. He has "the image of G-d" in him. To decide and to choose in a completely free manner, according to internal self-will, not from dictation or external necessity, or coercion. Choice is the key to man's actions and conduct. And acceptance of his responsibility for his actions. As humanity progressed, it sought to anchor human freedom of choice and to reduce the external coercion that dictates to man his decisions.
However, progress has also been made in ways in which interested parties seek to influence the decisions of individuals and society. And to circumvent in various and sophisticated ways the mechanisms of choice. That the choice would only be apparent. The world of marketing, advertising, public relations and the shaping of public opinion has become a central and significant component in the seemingly free world, using various psychological tools and research on the structure of the mind and decision-making processes in order to bypass the mechanisms of free choice and influence choice. They have a variety of advertising, communication, and social networks that they use to promote their marketing interests. They use loud visibility to attract attention, create a sophisticated and attractive image for marketing, so that it can be chosen by different methods of indoctrination and brainwashing. Wants to take advantage of the information overload that causes short-term memory to forget unwanted things from the past. To draw attention to certain things and distract from the unwanted ones.
Spread news in the media to shape consciousness., spread false information - Fake News. And recently silencing to cause vagueness that conceals concepts that may be perceived as problematic and controversial.
The modern man is on a battlefield. Various bodies are fighting over his elections. But the battle is not only about what to choose but about the very ability to choose on its own, and to realize its freedom of choice. The great absurdity is that humanity is aware of the influences exerted on it and yet it finds itself time and time again falling into their net and losing its free choice.
The period of 'elections' is the great hour of public relations and public opinion makers who wish to market their political customers to us.
It is precisely at this hour that one is required to sharpen himself and his tools of choice to a free, calculated and genuine choice. So that it does not become a period of loss of choice.