Is it recommended for Jews to get involved in politics?
It depends what you mean by involved in politics. Jews have to be involved only in avodas Hashem. In politics per se we have no interest. However, when we see an issue that involves morality, we should always vote. And it’s a mitzvah. You have to know that Hakadosh Baruch Hu expects Jews to participate in improving the moral environment. If your vote can help out, it’s your job to vote for morality.
Whom to vote for, that’s something that depends on the circumstances. But in general voting is not an act of secular activity. It’s not chullin. Voting is kodesh.
The gemara tells a story. A chacham of the gemara was walking in a certain marketplace and he encountered Eliyahu Hanavi. He said to Eliyahu Hanavi, “Is there anybody in this marketplace who is a ben Olam Habah?”
Eliyahu said “Yes.”
The chacham said “Can you point him out to me.”
So Eliyahu led him to a clown that was dancing in the corner of the market and he said “This clown is a ben Olam Habah.”
So the chacham approached the clown and said “Tell me, what good things do you do?”
So the man said “Well, I’m a clown by profession. But when I hear of somebody who is discouraged, who is in a depression, I visit him and I clown before him to make him laugh and cheer him up.”
You hear that? That’s what Eliyahu Hanavi said caused that man to be a ben Olam Habah.
Now where does it say that clowning is one of the ways of serving Hashem?
The answer is that when it’s necessary to serve Hashem, you do it any way that’s necessary. If you have to be a clown and go to the polls and vote, so you do it. And Hakadosh Baruch Hu will give you reward for it.
Don’t say “I’m only oved Hashem by putting on tefillin, by davening, by doing the mitzvos that everybody else does.” Sometimes avodas Hashem requires you to do queer things.
And therefore if you can help out in the great battle against gays, against pornography, against any form of wickedness, by putting your vote in the right place, then you surely are oved Hashem by you doing it.
TAPE # 760 (October 1989)