Avidan Freedman

62/929 An Election Day “Serenity” Prayer

The great gift God offers to a nation of slaves is not actually freedom

God, grant us the wisdom to vote for our vision

But also the courage to accept the vision of others, and to accept the decision of the nation.

Give me those, God, and I’ll withdraw the request for serenity.

(In this neighborhood, everything’s a negotiation.)

For the courage, I draw inspiration from Shemot, chapter 12. The Torah records God’s strange opening words at the dawn of Jewish national identity. “This month for you is the head of all months, it is first for you to all months of the year” (Shemot 12:2). These words, in rabbinic understanding, hold a radical gesture of faith in the Jewish people that I’m praying for today.

These are the meeting times of God, holy convocations, that you will call in their time- You will call them- whether at their proper time or not, these are the only meeting times I have. God said to Israel- these used to be in my hands, as it says “He made the moon for the setting of times” but from now on, it is given over to your hands. If you say yes, yes, if you say no, no- no matter what the case- this month is for you  (Shemot Rabba 15:2)

To a nation of slaves, the great gift God offers is not freedom, but responsibility, and he does it out of the deepest faith. But it’s not the faith that they’ll “get it right”, that He will agree with every decision they make. It’s a faith that demands what the Kabbalists call ‘ tzimtzum‘, the secret of limiting oneself, the strength of humility, the strength of the moon. It’s absolutely impossible to understand how God can do it. It’s only a little bit less hard for people to do. To organize mass “unity” rallies of people who all agree with one another is easy. Our challenge will be to have faith in people who we are sure are wrong. If God can, with God’s help, so can we.


This is my own little insight about the 929 chapter of the day, in 300 words or so. Chapter 12 was yesterday. I’d love to hear your comments and start a conversation

What’s 929? A near-impossible challenge of consistency. A song of Jewish unity. A beautiful project worth checking out. Learn more at

About the Author
Avidan Freedman is the co-founder and director of Yanshoof (, an organization dedicated to stopping Israeli arms sales to human rights violators, and an educator at the Shalom Hartman Institute's high school and post-high school programs. He lives in Efrat with his wife Devorah and their 5 children.
Related Topics
Related Posts