What can we learn from the lack of clarity in the thirty-six days since the election with regards to who will be the next President, Bush or Gore?
What can we learn from the postponement of the recognition of the election of Bush? The answer is that we must learn that the world is rodef achar hakavod. People crave kavod and poor Gore just can’t bear to see it slip out of his hands by such a small amount – it hurts him terribly.
Now, if Gore would have been in competition with Bush about learning Mishnayis let’s say, and Bush would have learned one more mesichta than Gore, then Gore wouldn’t have felt so bad about it. But Gore wanted this kavod.
You should know however that the kavod of being President is actually hevel va’rik. There’s nothing to it. Nothing to it at all. We said before that the time will come when even the best President will go down into the dust. He will be yoreid la’afar; that’s all – he’s finished. And even though there might be statues and monuments, the statues can’t speak for them. They’re not here anymore. They became dust. And that’s in the best case scenario for them. Sometimes they’re not lucky enough to just be dust. They have to go to Gehenim too, you know.
And therefore it’s hevel va’rik. So we watch them run after this kavod and we must remind ourselves that it’s nothing. I’ll give you a mashal. In this rug right here there are millions of germs. Suppose I told you that the germs all came together and elected you President. And with a full majority. The popular vote and the Electoral College. Would you be excited about that?! Would you be excited about being chosen by millions of germs?!
So people voted for Bush or Gore. So what? It’s nothing but germs. It’s nothing at all. Hashem wanted Bush to be in the White House for a certain amount of time so He put him there. He has His good reasons so He put him there. But it’s nothing to be excited about.
Now, Bush is surely excited about it. He’s terribly excited about it. Oy vey is he excited! And maybe we get excited as well. Alright, could be. But Hashem is not excited about it at all. What is Hashem excited about? If a man is sitting and learning Mesillas Yesharim. A man who is making progress in learning gemara. If a girl is trying to become more and more of an oived Hashem. Someone who is midakdeik b’mitzvos. That’s what He loves! That’s what He’s excited about!
And therefore you have to know what to get excited about in this world. You have to know what really counts in this world. You have to learn to get excited only about what Hashem gets excited about. Shleimus, perfection in coming close to Hashem; greatness of character and greatness of seichel. That’s what counts. All the other things are hevel va’rik. They’re nothing at all.
TAPE # E-257 (December 2000)