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Thursday, 21 May 2015

Does your vote count?

Daf Yomi Kesubos 108
 
Do you bother voting in elections?  Why do you vote?  You do realize, don’t you, that your vote is meaningless?  No major election has ever been won on a single vote and so you might as well stay home, because your vote doesn’t count!

When the treasurers in the Holy Temple would withdraw from the fund of accumulated half-shekels to purchase communal sacrifices, they would include donations that had been lost en route, they would include donations that were still en route, and they would include donations that were yet to be collected. 

Of course if everyone had the attitude that their vote is meaningless, nobody would vote and the democratic system would break down.  So your vote is relevant inasmuch as it is part of the whole.  And that’s the message of the half-shekel – on its own it’s meaningless, it’s not even a whole shekel.  But add it to everyone else’s and you can pay for the nation’s communal sacrifices for the entire year.

But the half-shekel contribution is even more impactful than your vote at the ballot box.  Even if, for whatever reason, your contribution did not make it to the Temple coffers, you are still counted!  That means all you need to do is do your part and you’re included!  All too often, people think, ‘My contribution is meaningless, I’m nobody special.’  But guess what, you count!

There’s no such thing as a meaningless role.  Bothered that you’ll never be the next Moses?  Guess what.  Moses could only become Moses because there were millions of Israelites to lead out of Israel.  Without every Israelite playing their part, Moses could not have fulfilled his destiny and become the person he did. 

Don’t ever minimize the role you play.  Hillel the Elder used to say, ‘When Hillel is here, everyone is here,’ because if everyone imagined their contribution to be worthless, nobody would make any effort.  You don’t have to worry whether your contribution will arrive and make a difference – it’s counted from the moment you make the effort.  And as Rabbi Tarfon teaches in Ethics of the Fathers, “It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work.  But you are not free to desist from it either!”

Whether you’re the person who greets people in shul on Shabbos or the volunteer who puts away the food after the Kiddush or shaleshudos (third Shabbos meal), your contribution makes the shul and community work like clockwork and ultimately successful.  There’s no contribution that’s not important!


Make the effort, do your part.  That’s the only way it will all come together.  May you merit to be counted among those who serve the Almighty and His people faithfully!