May I Have A Few Weeks Off….Please?

I need to recover from this election

Rabbi Paul Plotkin
5 min readNov 10, 2020

I never thought I would ever say this, but I learned a lesson from Vice-President Pence today. He is leaving on a vacation and of course he is coming to Florida, albeit on the “Goyishe” side of the state. For those who do not know, most Jews live on the East coast, much fewer on the west coast or in a Seinfeld way of understanding Jews, East coast is for New Yorkers and west coast is for Midwesterners.

If you want a good kosher pastrami sandwich you drive across Alligator Alley to come to Ben’s in Boca Raton. If you want an alligator steak stay put on the west coast. Ok I exaggerate a bit and am up to my neck in stereotypes but my excuse is the title of this piece. I need a few weeks off.

Like most of you I have lived with great anxiety and minimal sleep for months. I have been elated or demoralized with each new poll. I have cursed at the tv, watching large mask less rallies of President Trump spewing lies like manna falling from heaven to a starving mob. My favorite lie was we are turning the corner on Covid while setting national records for new cases on a seemingly daily basis.

I watched low energy drive-in rallies and paid lip service to the restraint that showed a discipline to science and to our fellow man, while I secretly envied the energy of the Trump rallies. President Obama’s oratorical skills at similar drive-in rallies only underscored the weakest part of Joe Biden’s game, but I did enjoy digging into the dead files section of my memories to relive the drive in movie theaters that I attended in my youth. I don’t remember which was the more powerful memory, opening the window to hold the speaker that allowed an airborn division of mosquitos into the car, or the date I took and barely watched the movie at all.

I learned new terms like blue wave and red mirage. I got to know Secretaries of State in Pennsylvania and Georgia and Wisconsin and Arizona. I got to see the inside of people’s homes and see which Jews had Judaica of some kind on their bookshelves. One often interviewed doctor had a series of biographies of Israeli leaders and an Ellie Wiesel book. One lawyer had a Tzeded Tzedek Tirdoff poster on her wall. I got to know Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania and his chanukiah with Ruth Bader Ginsberg as the shamash. After his teenage son walked into the shot, realized his dad was on National TV and then walked out I found out that all of his kids go to Akiva Day School in Philly and they have a kosher home.

I opened a bottle of Aberlour12 year scotch for the first time and found a new steadying buddy. He got me through election night and to be perfectly honest most of election week. I became an expert on districts in many states that I have never even visited. I have never liked a nurd as much as Steve Kornacki. If it is possible to be a sexy nurd, Steve is the poster boy. Rumor has it that there is a run on khaki slacks.

I came to live for the next dump of votes and when they were bad news it felt like a dump. Good news felt like the relief after taking a good dump. ( I would suggest a new descriptive word in the future)

Finally, the news on shabbat that the networks called the election for Biden. I finally go to utter the phrase I had rehearsed for years, “ Our long national nightmare is over”. I was too emotionally drained to cry. All I wanted was some quiet time to rest and recharge.

Then I realized that if Biden was to succeed, he needed to control the senate and that was not looking good. The Jewish Democrat in Alaska who had shot a bear in his youth was losing. One runoff in Georgia was happening but that would not be enough. Then there were 2 runoffs in Georgia, and I thought here we go again. Another expensive nasty dragged out campaign. Can I not get a few weeks off?

Well at least the presidency is in the bag, till it was not. Suddenly there are challenges everywhere to the legitimacy of the election. Apparently, the Democrats stole the presidency, but they must be incompetent crooks as they allowed may congressional seats to flip to Republicans, and many Republican senators and state houses to remain Republican. I need a rest, but nooooo.

Democrats have started to have a very public autopsy over why they “underperformed”. I think they gave unity 2 days post-election before starting the self-consumption.

Meanwhile there was no concession speech only specious accusations about mass voter fraud. Lawsuits started to fly, and they all had one thing in common. There was no proof!

Judges were not asking for much only that there be some proof of the accusation to entertain the suit, but so far nothing.

Well at least the Republicans were now free of the yoke of Trump and his castrating threats. He is a lame duck, and no one wants to tell him. He is now out on an island somewhere rapidly sinking into irrelevance, until Mitch changed his tune and suddenly only 4 Republican Senators are willing to recognize the facts on the ground, that Biden won.

I need to take a vacation but if I leave the USA I may not have a country to come back to. ( Ok this is hypothetical because in Covid who is taking a vacation?) As of this writing the Secretary of Defense has been fired and by the time you read this, we may have new heads of the FBI and the CIA.

My usual pro-Israel Republicans, and some Pro- Israel Democrats are already curating a series of articles and opinion pieces on why we will soon enter the Obama era of US Israel relations, without at least noticing that the President elect is not called Obama. If he in fact replicates Obama’s positions on Iran and the Palestinians, there will be much to talk about but do not prejudge and condemn him before he gets into office. Before it was just campaign arguments, now give the man a chance.

I need a vacation!!!!

I do not have a bottomless bottle of Aberlour. Like medical care in ICU’s in many states, I may have to triage my medicine.

I genuinely believed that after the election I could stop writing about elections and politics and turn to other issues affecting our lives. I still hope that will be true but apparently not until the 20th of January. On the good news side, we may have an effective vaccine for use in the first half of 2021.

Maybe then I can take a real vacation!

Please share with your family and friends.



Rabbi Paul Plotkin

I am a retired Conservative Rabbi. I was a pulpit Rabbi for 40 years. I supervise a chain of kosher Delis called Ben's .