January 6 – A Few (Orthodox) Thoughts

Erev Shabbos Parshas Shemos

A few brief thoughts.

  1. Social unrest/ instability has always been an unsafe condition for Jews. To gin it up is foolhardy at best.
  2. Beware of conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists. Anti-Semitism is the mother of all conspiracy theories. When people suspect secret plots by powerful hidden people to control the world, that’s just where they end up eventually.  Note:  Q-Anon is virulently anti-Semitic and violent.  Look it up if you don’t believe me.
  3. It is not patriotic to storm the capitol of your own country. It’s messed up.
    1. Waving an American flag while smashing the windows of the Capitol doesn’t make it patriotic. Chanting “U.S.A.” while injuring cops with fire extinguishers, lead pipes, and pepper spray doesn’t make it patriotic.
    2. American patriots do not wave Confederate flags or wear sweatshirts that say Camp Auschwitz.
  4. Violence is not a legitimate form of “expressing frustration” just because other groups have also engaged in violence. So please stop deflecting.
    1. It is not legitimate even if the media is unfair. It is not legitimate even if it is denounced by “libtards” or “thought police” or any other group you detest.  It is not legitimate whether you are black or white, Republican or Democrat.   Stop justifying it.
  5. The rioters in the pair of marked-up photos circulating on the Internet have been identified. They are not Antifa activists.  They are not foreign agents.
    1. There is no evidence yet that any of the rioters are anything other than what they loudly declared themselves to be. Pretending otherwise may feel good, but it is not rooted in fact.  It’s really important to be rooted in fact.
  6. Many went to DC on January 6 simply to rally in support of the President. As always, it is important to distinguish between (a) protesters peacefully attending a rally, (b) crowds of thousands of trespassers who breached police barricades and illegally occupied the Capitol grounds, and (c) mobs of rioters who swarmed into the Capitol building, damaged property, compromised national security, and terrorized and threatened the safety of the people inside.  It is wrong and escalatory to refer to everyone who participated as a terrorist.  It is also wrong to dismiss the entire debacle as a peace-loving protest.
  7. The January 6 attack on the US Capitol was a profound national security failure. Explosives, weapons, and zip ties were brought into the seat of legislation in this country while the entire House, Senate, and the VP were all in one building.  Offices with classified information were ransacked.  We will learn over time how it happened, probably via a commission set up to investigate.  This is absolutely necessary.
  8. Yes: There is such a thing as voting fraud.  It is exceedingly difficult to pull off and is almost always caught by standard election security procedures – but it exists.  We must keep getting smarter about preventing it.  No: Suspicious circumstances, rumors and anecdotes, a theory about how it could easily have happened, the presence of the factors that could have allowed it to happen – none of these is evidence that voting fraud actually happened.
  9. The infamous “statistical anomaly” proves that votes are not randomly distributed. That’s it.  There is no mathematical proof of fake updates, no calculation of the probability of a stolen election.  Although it has the aura of being unassailable because it is filled with numbers, mathematical terms, and equations, the anonymous anomaly article is a scam.
    1. If you don’t believe me, I will explain in full. Or ask any mathematician or statistician who does not publish articles anonymously.
  10. A state’s voting laws and legislative decisions are not treated as illegal unless a court rules them illegal. Shouting lawyers are irrelevant, whether they serve in Congress or represent a political campaign at rallies, mock trials, or actual courtrooms.  The job of lawyers is to argue; the job of judges is to rule.  They did.
  11. No, judges didn’t dismiss cases without assessing the evidence. They responded to the actual case being made, each time.  Read the legal briefs – which included the evidence – and the judicial decisions.  They are all online. Don’t believe me; read them yourself.  (e.g. https://punchbowl.news/wp-content/uploads/1.4.20-2020-Presidential-Election-Challenges-in-Arizona-Georgia-Michigan-Nevada-Pennsylvania-and-Wisconsin-and-Our-Const.pdf)
  12. The myth of President Trump’s landslide 2020 victory exists in his brain. It didn’t happen.  It’s not real.
  13. Railing against the imaginary theft of an imaginary victory is pointless. Committing crimes to “avenge” that imaginary theft is delusional as well as criminal.
  14. A yid in golus does not take part in a supposed revolution or insurrection against a medinah shel chesed like the United States of America.

Our parsha launches the prototypical Jewish exile/golus.  The fear of Jewish ascendancy or conspiracy plays a key role in motivating Pharaoh’s enslavement and torture of the nascent Jewish People.   Let’s not get carried away, folks.

Good Shabbos.

About the Author
Dr. Shani Bechhofer is an independent Jewish education consultant and researcher in Monsey, NY. In addition to working with schools on strategic leadership, training and coaching principals, evaluating agency and foundation programs, and researching the Bais Yaakov movement, she is a local community advocate for good government and intercultural dialogue in Ramapo, NY.
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