Yesterday I posted about what bracha to make over voting. Last night, as I walked down the streets of Harlem, and witnessed the celebrations, the dancing in the streets, and the tears on the faces of young and old, and the words of an extraordinary man booming from out every open car and apartment window, I too spontaneously broke out into prayer. I made the bracha of She-hechiyanu, and I can’t recall ever having more kavana than last night. God bless America.
Recently, some of the blogs I visit have been posting this prayer, written by Rabbi David Seidenberg, founder of NeoHasid.org. Personally, I’m not so into it. For one, I have a strong preference for re-purposing existing prayers over composing new ones. Here’s my suggestion. When you come to the polling place, and prepare to cast your vote, say the following bracha: Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha-Olam, She-chalak Mi-Kvodo Li-Bnei Adam – Blessed are you, God, King of the World, Who has given a portion of His honor to mankind.
This bracha is the one you say when you see a king, and it is meant to be an acknowledgment that kingship stems from God and is reflected in mankind. In a democratic country, that blessing is appropriate for meeting the President. But on election day we are al kings. We vote and make the decision of who will rule over us, and in my opinion there is no greater Kiddush Hashem in secular society than Election Day. Seeing people freely choosing their government and peacefully transferring enormous power is a reflection of God’s honor as well. Each of us, each of us who votes, is a king, and a reflection of God’s glory in this world.
Now go out and vote!