President-elect Donald Trump’s failure to thank God in his acceptance speech could be a fateful mistake, rabbinic scholar and international speaker Rabbi Mendel Kessin said last week, comparing Trump’s first post-election misstep to a blunder which cost King Hezekiah the opportunity to usher in Messianic times.
“There’s not one mention of God” in the speech, “Yet [his election is] the greatest miracle,” Rabbi Kessin pointed out, noting the hand of God in Trump’s unlikely win. “It’s the greatest upset in American history. Clearly it was God. There is no other explanation. How could you not give credit to God Himself?
“That’s a tremendous avlah (failing). We don’t even understand what the avlah is. It cost the mashichus (Messiahship) of Chizkiyahu (Hezekiah)… How could you not say, at the outset, ‘The first one I want to thank is God Almighty’?”
The second Book of Kings describes how, in the time of King Hezekiah, when 185,000 of Sennacherib’s troops surrounded Jerusalem, God sent a plague and killed them all in one night.
And it came to pass that night, that the angel of Hashem went forth, and smote in the camp of Ashur a hundred fourscore and five thousand; and when men arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. 2 Kings 19:35
The Talmud, Judaism’s oral law, teaches that God intended King Hezekiah to be the Messiah and the battle against Sennacherib the War of Gog and Magog. However, Hezekiah failed to inspire his people to praise God after the miracle of the defeat of Sennacherib’s army.
This failure lost him the chance to serve as the Messiah and to usher in the Final Redemption, taught 19th century scholar Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter.
In a series of lectures on the topic of the 21st century and this US presidential election, Rabbi Kessin has often taught that Trump has a very significant role to play in the End of Days, calling him a “Messiah-like figure” who will be the catalyst for a major shift in attitudes towards the Jewish people.
According to Rabbi Kessin, who consistently predicted a Trump win for a year and a half before the election, President-elect Trump had – and missed – a golden opportunity to publicly praise God, which, like Hezekiah, puts his potential status as an important End of Days actor in danger. He called Trump to task for not publicly recognizing God at the auspicious moment of his victory speech, despite his election being a clear reflection of God’s will operating in human history.
Reviewing the unlikely win, Rabbi Kessin said, “The man had nothing to run on. No credentials. Nothing. How do you not [thank God] in your victory speech?”
He added, “That would have been an unbelievable Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God’s Name) that would have been broadcast to the entire United States and the entire world. What a missed opportunity! What an opportunity to sanctify the name of God in front of billions of people.”
“He blew it,” Rabbi Kessin summed up in a refreshingly modern interpretation of events.
“I certainly hope God forgives him,” the rabbi said, suggesting that President-elect Trump appoint a spiritual advisor to his Cabinet. “It’s very important for him to understand that part of his job isn’t just to Make America Great Again. It’s also to make God great again.”