Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Agudah and Satmar III

The Brisker Rav ZTL was the - and I repeat: THE - most anti-zionist of all the litvishe Gedolim. The Briskers do not take money from the Israeli government, nor do they even vote in the Israeli elections, as per the horaah of the Brisker Rav. The Brisker Rav was the one who told Rav Amram Blau that the reason he (the Brisker Rav) would not lay down in front of the busses on Shabbos to protest the Chilul Shabbos is because he holds the Zionists are capable of murder, and they would run him over; the Brisker Rav was the one who said about the establishment of the Medinah: "It is not that the want a Medinah therefore they have to uproot the Torah - their desire is to uproot the Torah, the purpose of the Medinah is to help them do it."

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The positions of the Satmar Rav and Rav Aharon Kotler, and the Brisker Rav ZTL are all Divrei Elokim Chaim. At Rav Aharon Kotler's funeral in Lakewood, the Satmar Rav gave the most amazing hesped, and when the Satmar Rav was offered the job of Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem (after the petirah of Rav Yosef Chaim Zonenfeld), he declined, and when they asked him for a recommendation, he told them to ask the Brisker Rav. They surely disagreed - very strongly sometimes - but they did agree that they are all authentic Gedolei Yisroel. And one of the things they all agreed on was that there should not be a State of Israel altogether.

As far as majority, it’s impossible to determine. According to the Satmar Rav, the majority was on his side (!). He writes this in Vayoel Moshe. (He said that the Belzer Rebbe R. Yisachar Dov, for example, is equal to many of his opponents put together.) Part of this dispute is who counts as a godol and who’s bigger than who to begin with. It's impossible to determine majority here once you bring in the quality factor, which you can’t avoid.

He also says that the principla of "rov gedolim" does not apply in such cases, for various halachic reasons.

Second, even within a given "camp" there are disagreements regarding various issues. The Agudah is not a monolithic entity. Many Gedolim disagreed with others within the Agudah, and what the Agudah decides to do when the dust clears does not mean that all their Gedolim agreed with it. Sometimes, things are done in any political organization, the Agudah included, that is explicitly against the wishes of their Gedolim. The Satmar Rav actually mentions this - that the acts of the Agudah do not necessarily represent the opinion of their own Gedolim - as a reason not to consider those Gedolim as automatically supporting the Agudah. You have to consult the Gedolim themselves to see what they say, and to determine if their position has not been distorted or ignored by some laypeople (see also Letter of Rav Chaim Ozer, printed in the back of the Igros Chazon Ish, the he learned from "experience" that in organizations, the organization do not always follow the wishes of their Moetzes. Rav Shach also has a letter to this effect, almost duplicating, word for word, Rav Chaim Ozer's statements.)

In such cases, you should follow your Rebbeim. If you are in doubt as to who you should have as your Rebbeim, then you are fully entitled to follow those who find more favor in your eyes. You have to choose somehow, and its better to choose based on who you hold is bigger, or more correct, rather than whatever the newspapers say you should do.

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The Satmar Rav disagreed with the Gedolim in the Agudah very strongly on many issues. But remember that his was the most glorious Hesped that was said at the funeral of Rav Aharon Kotler ZTL in Lakewood. In Vayoel Moshe when he writes about the Agudah he blames the baalei batim and layleaders for not following their Rabbonim - and he even quotes Rav Chaim Ozer ZTL in support. He states clearly there that he knows for a fact that many Rabbonim in the Agudah are/were very upset about certain things the Agudah has said and done regarding Eretz Yisroel, but the Moetzes has no power to stop it.

Whatever his criticisms and issues he had with the Gedolim of the Agudah, he was never mevazeh them and nothing close to what the Neturei Karta says about them.

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The Mizrachi places say only Satmar are against the state because if they would teach that (a) it was not only the chasidim who did not want the medinah but every single godol in the entire world, except for the mizrachi, and (b) it was not merely looked at as a disagreement in halachah or hashkafa, but mizrachi was looked at by the others as a deviant movement, off the derech, to be opposed as dangerous to klall yisroel, and (c) Rav kook and Rabbi Neirah themselves were far from universally accepted as gedolim at all, then their school's values are a little less appealing to their audiences. someone may ask "hello, why do I need to be on the side that the Chofetz Chaim, Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, Rav Chaim Brisker, the Chazon Ish and the other greats of the generations considered off the derech?

Rav Elchonon Wasserman, who was not a chosid, but rather the greatest student of the Chofetz Chaim, wrote that having a Jewish State is likely to be the worst disaster to klall yisroel in history of their golus (he was killed before '48).
None of the above mentioned giants were chasidim. They were all passionately against Zionism. The Brisker Rav (who was so not a chosid) said that the State of Israel was made specifically to cause Jews to become non-religious.

When you learn Mishna Brura, do they tell you that the author of that sefer, who you are using as a Halachic authority for so many issues, considered the hashkofos in your school to be off the derech?

And (if you are a boy), when you learn Gemora, that the author of Kovetz Shiurim, who you respect as one of the greatest roshei yeshiva of the 20th century, said that religious Zionism is nothing but religion coupled with avodah zorah?

Even if the Mizrachi wants to say that all these Gedolim were wrong, they are guilty of deception by describing the opposition to the Medinah by saying "the chasidim were against it."

The halachic "reasoning" of the zionists in creating the state has been discussed here, at length. It's bogus. That should not come as a surprise. There was a great torah scholar - greater than Rav Kook and Rav Neirah - named Korach, who had 250 heads of Sanhedrin on his side, who ended up literally in the pits of hell, and there was Yeravam ben Nevat - who was destined to sit right next to Dovid Hamelech in Gan Eden, who later led Klall Yisroel to avodah zorah. There was also the great Torah scholar, miracle worker, the Shabse Tzvi y"s, who was a false messiah, and who G-d allowed to live long enough for us to see him, in the end, convert to Islam?

Judaism teaches - and nobody disagrees with this - that great rabbis can go off the derech, and become even the worst reshayim in the world, and even so, still seem like they are right. Korach had many followers, great Torah scholars. But because their claims were indefensible, they and their group were considered responsible for following them.

The claims of the Zionists have been disproven over and over again. They are actually outlined in detail on the boards. It is a pity and a crime that the Zionist schools keep teaching those outdated and disproven ideas as if they have not been shredded by the great Gedolim of the past century.

Yes, Mizrachi did have some great Talmidei Chachamim, but when it comes to the idea of Zionism, the same objective reasoning that recognizes them as Talmidei Chachamim to begin with, recognizes the absurdity of their position in this area. That is the exact same phenomenon that has happened throughout history with those other major league Torah scholars who went off.

And for those who are not on the level to recognize the halachic absurdity, it should be enough that the great Gedolim considered it such. Rav Shach ZTL writes that if G-d asks him why he was against zionism, all he has to do is point to the Chofetz Chaim and say "because he was."

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