"Place upon me a king." The Rabbis said: said Hashem, in this world you requested a king, and kings from Israel rose and made you fall by the sword. Shaul made them fall in Mount Gilboa, as it says (Shmuel I 4:17) "The Jews fled before the Plishtim..." David caused a plague, as it says (Shmuel II 24:15) "And Hashem placed a plague in Israel." Achav caused the rains to stop for them, as it says (Melachim I, 17:1) "If there will be in these years dew and rain..." Tzidkiyahu caused the Beis Hamikdash to be destroyed. When Israel saw what came upon them under the hands of their kings, they all started to scream, "We do not request a king from Israel, we request our first king! (Yeshaya 33:22) 'For Hashem is our judge, Hashem is our lawmaker, Hashem is our king, He will save us.'" Said Hashem to them, "I swear by your lives, so I will do!" How do we know? As it says (Zecharya 14:9) "And Hashem will be the king upon all the land..." (Midrash Rabba on Parshas Shoftim 11:5)
Are we there yet?
Just yesterday a left-leaning political leader shocked the political and media establishment by breaking ranks and joining with his right-leaning adversaries. Pundits right and left are furiously attempting to analyze the ramifications of this development, probing the machinations and calculations of all involved. Inevitably what these speculative analyses all take for granted is that those involved have been moving their chess pieces strictly for the sake of improving their political situation and achieving greater power now or down the road. It doesn't seem as if anyone is even entertaining the notion that these moves are being made for the best interests of the nation, or even their own voters. Is anyone even suggesting that this politician broke ranks because he is willing to sacrifice his goals to achieve greater unity in a time of crisis? Would anyone even believe that?
I am not suggesting that these are or are not his motives, and I presume no insight into the psyches of any of these actors. I am simply raising the point that virtually no one even contemplates the possibility that our leaders are making any decisions out of virtue and self-sacrifice, for the sake of the greater good. It has reached that low point where one who suggests that would be laughed off as a sucker, and for good reason.
I am also not suggesting that we would be better off with no government at all, at least in pre-Messianic times, as Chazal were adamant that even a corrupt government (as all governments are, more or less) is better than anarchy. However, I do believe that the gradual breakdown of our political system, the manner in which our politicians and leaders across the political spectrum are exposed ever more clearly as self-interested connivers, bumblers who cannot even get out of their own way, people who cannot give straight answers to questions, who cannot be trusted to keep their word, who form and break commitments faster than the most casual dater, who fail to impress us, inspire us, and serve as role models... I believe that all of this is meant to rouse within us a desire to cry out to Hashem to be our judge, our lawmaker, our king, and to save us.
This cry should emanate even from secular Jews who preach respect for the law and its institutions while claiming that the Torah's laws and institutions are primitive and oppressive. Mankind has attempted every alternative system imaginable and has failed to do better. The Jews have been scattered throughout the world for centuries, have experienced them all, and should know this better than anyone else. We should want nothing more than to return to our land, build a truly Jewish state based uncompromisingly on Torah law, and to vote for Hashem to be officially in charge of our justice department, lawmaking body, and ruling system.
According to Chazal, if we ask for this, Hashem swears that He will save us and reveal Himself as the king over all the land.
He has my vote. Does He have yours?