In what can be described as a sweeping kiddush Hashem, one of America’s most well-known statesmen has called on all of his fellow countrymen to lower the temperature and try to live by the ideals of the Chofetz Chaim whose yahrzeit is being marked this week.
In a fascinating article on the Fox News website, Governor Huckabee, a former Presidential candidate and Governor of Arkansas, bemoaned the strife and acrimony so prevalent in our times and urged civility, even in disagreement.
Huckabee wrote his Fox op-ed article against the backdrop of ‘A Day of Jewish Unity’, that is slated to be held this coming Friday 27 Elul/September 7 under the auspices of ‘Acheinu’, the kiruv arm of Dirshu.
He writes, “On Sept. 7, I will be joining people across the globe to pray for peace and stability in Israel and for a return to civility for all mankind.
“Each year, Acheinu – the outreach arm of the nonprofit educational organization Dirshu – holds a Day of Jewish Unity. On this day, individuals – Jews and non-Jews alike – are asked to come together and promise to be kinder and more caring, while praying for peace.
“There are too many forces in our world trying to destroy the Jewish people and the Holy Land, but Jews need to stay strong and united – and we must join them.”
Huckabee explained that The Day of Jewish Unity, is designed to serve as a light to all of mankind by emulating the teachings of the Chofetz Chaim.
“Acheinu promotes this day of prayer in honor of Rabbi Israel Meir Kagan, who devoted his entire life to promoting respect and civility and cautioning about the evils of gossip. Though Rabbi Kagan died in 1933, his teachings live on.
“I think if Rabbi Kagan was alive today to see how divided the world still is, he would be disappointed. And yet, through the rabbi’s teachings, I also know that he would not give up hope but would continue to call for courtesy, understanding and cohesion.
Huckabee, explains that the right to Free Speech, is not necessarily license to abuse speech.
“As Americans, we are blessed to have the right to speak our minds and voice opposition to the government without fear of reprisal. But there is a difference between articulating your views and spreading vitriol.
“We can disagree with one another, yet remain courteous. A disagreement does not have to be a fight…
“But, as Americans, we must remember that we are “one nation, under G-d.” Just as the Jewish people, though divided… so must we as Americans come together.
“We must unite against those who would wish to destroy all that we – and our forefathers – stand for. We can disagree, but we should also be proud that together we make the strongest democracy in the world.”
Huckabee has tapped into the innate desire for achdus and for an end to the seemingly endless spiral of heated rhetoric of personal destruction that is so prevalent today. Mike Huckabee understands that in today’s world, the teachings of the Chofetz Chaim must occupy a central place in our lives. How much more should we Yidden who are intimately familiar with the Chofetz Chaim and his teachings, feel obligated to emulate the life’s lessons that he taught.
Huckabee concludes his remarkable article saying, “On Sept. 7, please join me in praying to G-d for peace and the continued prosperity of Israel and all mankind. And back up your prayers with your interactions with others by reminding yourself to be kind, courteous and always civil.”