In baseball, a pinch hitter is a common term for a substitute batter. Batters can be substituted in at any time while the ball is dead (not in active play); the manager may use any player that has not yet entered the game as a substitute, and the player that is removed from the game cannot return to play for the rest of the game. Pinch hitters are often used to replace a starting player when the pinch hitter is thought to have a better chance of reaching base or helping other runners to score.
on the Bimah
? No, nobody decided that the Bimah would make a good homeplate, with the Ezrat Nashim
(Ladies' Balcony) as the outfield.
Seriously, the standard Torah Reading as done today is like "pinch hitting." One person says the blessings, and another reads the Torah.
Think about it. Even the Brit Milah (ritual circumcision) is done like pinch hitting. According to Jewish Law, the father is supposed to circumcise his eight day old son, but since mistakes can't be corrected so easily, most fathers would rather give the
bat knife to someone trained and make do with the blessings.
The latest pinch hitting is for PRAYER FOR THE WELFARE OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL. Post-Disengagement and Amona, many people not only aren't willing to stand for it, but they won't say it, even if they are leading the prayers.
I don't know what happens in other synagogues, but here, in our local one, the gabbaim "take the bat" at times.
As horrified and repulsed as most of us are at what the Israeli Government is doing to its citizens, I still think that the prayer is important. Read the words:
PRAYER FOR THE WELFARE OF
THE STATE OF ISRAEL
by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel
Our Father Who are in Heaven, Protector and Redeemer of Israel, bless Thou the State of Israel
which marks the dawn of our deliverance. Shield it beneath the wings of Thy love;
Spread over it Thy canopy of peace; send Thy light and Thy truth to its leaders, officers, and
counselors, and direct them with Thy good counsel.
O G-d, strengthen the defenders of our Holy Land; grant them salvation and crown them with
victory. Establish peace in the land, and everlasting joy for its inhabitants.
Remember our brethren, the whole house of Israel, in all the lands of their dispersion. Speedily
let them walk upright to Zion, the city, to Jerusalem Thy dwelling-place, as it is written in the
Torah of Thy servant Moses: "Even if you are dispersed in the uttermost parts of the world, from
there the L-rd your G-d will gather and fetch you. The L-rd your G-d will bring you into the land
which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it."
Unite our heart to love and revere Thy Name, and to observe all the precepts of Thy Torah.
Shine forth in Thy glorious majesty over all the inhabitants of Thy world. Let everything that
breathes proclaim: The L-rd G-d of Israel is King; His majesty rules over all." Amen.
It doesn't blindly worship the State. It's a prayer to G-d, praising G-d, asking for G-d's help. We need G-d's help. I suggest that we stand up, say the prayer and beg G-d to save us from the politicians.