Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Golus and Zionism

[This is the introduction for the zionism posts. There is a lot of information on this topic, I'm trying to work out a way to divide it all into categories, but there may be a few hitches along the way, including repetitive or miscellaneous posts. I might also have to stop in the middle to put up or update smaller sections. I'm sorry for any confusion this may cause. -Taon]

Zionism was wrong lichatchilah and is wrong b'dieved. As Rav Elchonon Wasserman said, the Zionist State is likely to be the greatest tragedy to befall the Jewish nation in all of the history of the Golus! The ex post facto issue is that there are those who hold that after the State was made we should try to control it and use it as much as possible to make sure it is as religious as possible, and at the very least, not anti-religious. They all agree, though, that its existence is wrong.

Please note that living in Israel is NOT Zionism. Zionism is the creation of a Jewish State in Eretz Yisroel. The Mitzvah of Yishuv Erezt Yisroel is fulfilled equally whether Jews or Arabs or Turks or British own the land.


Hashem promised Eretz Yisroel to us, and GAVE it to us, and then KICKED US OUT because we sinned. G-d said we are NOT TO TAKE IT until Moshiach comes because we need Golus to cure us of our sins.

Of course Hishtadlus is wonderful, but sometimes Hishtadlus means doing nothing, when action is counterproductive.

If you witness a car accident and you're waiting for the ambulance. You can, if you choose to, start trying to do surgery on the victim on your own, but since you’re not a surgeon you'll probably just kill him.

So you wait for the ambulance.

And when some moron comes along and starts fiddling with the victim, and you hit them on the head because they are nothing but a Rodef, what will you answer that Rideh when he tells you, "Shouldn't we do hishtadlus?"

What would you tell someone who, when witnessing everyone saying tehillim for a choleh on life support, says "Why are you saying tehillim so much? Why don’t you so some hishtadlus and just pull him out?"

What would you tell such a person?

"Idiot!" you would say, "We are praying not for the choleh to get off the machines, but for him to get off when he is ready!"

Same thing with golus. Hishtadlus to take the land before the golus is over is like hishtadlus of ripping the choleh off the machine before he is ready.

Klall yisroel needs golus - the way the choleh needs life support. We pray for it to end but we dare not take action until the choleh is better, that is, until Moshiach is here.


First of all, nowhere does Tekah B'shofar say anything about a Jewish State. Living in EY is not the same as having a State --- it’s the Statehood that is against the Torah, not living there.

Second, the Brachah starts off "Tkah b'shofar gadol" -- who do you think is blowing that Shofar? We're talking about Moshiach performing the Kibutz Golius that the Brachah is talking about. We do NOT pray for Moshiach in the subsequent Brachos - nowhere does it imply that Kibutz Golius is before Moshiach (the Brachah of Es Tzemach Dovid is for the establishment of the Kingdom of Dovid, which is what Moshiach will do after he does Kibutz Gilus, destroys the apikorsim, etc, as per the seder habrachos).

Third, Kibutz golius will NOT be from golus to Eretz Yisroel directly, as the Ravaad says in Ediyus. First, he says, we will be gathered into the desert and travel there for 40 years, the same way we did during our first Geulah. Then, afterwards, we will be taken into EY.

Therefore, the Satmnar Rav points out, the Brachah of Tkah Bshofar is going on the Kibutz Golius into the desert, which will happen before the building of Yerushalayim and the Judgement of the Apikorsim. The fact that it says in the brachah "vkabtzenu yachahd ... l'artzeinu" merely means that the ultimate purpose of the Kibutz Goluyus will be to go into EY, but the Brachah itself - the peshichah and chasimah - is not referring to the Kibutz Golyus into EY at all, but rather the preparatory one, which will happen at the beginning of Moshiach's activities. He points out that according to many poskim, including the Tur, Ari, and many nusach ashkenaz cited in Likutei Maharich, they do not even include the world "l'artzeinu" in the text of the brachah at all!

But in any case, the seder habrachos does not say that this Kibutz Golius - wherever it is referring to - happens before the appearance of Moshiach. On the contrary, it happens after the blowing of the Great Shofar, but before the Establishment of the Kingdom or the Building of Jerusalem.


Of course so many frum people can be misled. Let's internalize what we have been taught, please: How many frum people followed Korach? How many frum people were misled by Shabse Tzvi? How many frum people worshipped idols? Lots.

Zionism is the Avodah Zorah of our days. Just as in the olden days so many frum people, including Talmide chachamim, fell, so too we should not be surprised if history repeats itself once again.

As far as a year in Israel goes, you are falling for the Zionist proaganda: Zionism has nothing to do with living or learning in Eretz Yisroel. (Sigh. How many times do I have to repeat this?) It's a typical Zionist ploy to make believe that Zionism means "love of Eretz Yisroel" and anti-Zionism means being against Eretz Yisroel (whatever that means).

The issue is the State of Israel, not living, learning, or loving Eretz Yisroel. In fact, one of the main reason for anti-Zionism is the love for Eretz Yisroel, and the consequential outrage against the assault upon its holiness that the Zionists have committed.


In golus we are not allowed to be in charge of Eretz Yisroel - the goyim are supposed to. The prohibition of lo sichanem, if it applies nowadays, refers to private landlords, and prohibits selling land to akum in EY. It does not c"v mean that we are supposed to have governmental sovereignty in EY. On the contrary, that is prohibited. Individuals may live in EY under the governship of whichever nation happens to own it - be it Romans, Arabs, Ottomans, Turks, British, or Chinese - and according to some shitos it is even a mitzvah, but we are not allowed to be the governing body.

As Rav Shach ZTL writes, "Eretz Yisroel is equally 'ours' regardless of who physically owns it at any given time.

It's kind of like those "in trust for" bank accounts that we had when we were kids, where our parents put our Bar Mitzvah money in an account "in trust for" us. It’s our money, but we were not allowed to access it until we became 18.

So, too, Eretz Yisroel is ours, but as a nation we may not take it until Moshiach comes. Until we're mature enough to handle it properly, we are not allowed to take it.


Gog and Magog are supposed to be non-Jewish.

Gog is a King, Magog is his kingdom. When Moshiach comes, they will wage war against Hashem and Moshiach. Hashem will destroy them all.

Gog UMagog is 70 b'Gematriah, since they comprise all 70 nations. Also among the armies of Gog and Magog will be traitorous Jews who will rebel against Hashem and Moshiach.

This war will obviously take place after Moshiach comes, not, contrary to popular belief, beforehand. And it says this explicitly in the Gemara (Avoda Zara 3b) and the Zohar in a number of places. However, although the "big war" of Gog and Magog will take place post Moshiach's arrival, the "armies" of Gog and Magog will be with us before Moshiach comes, and will begin making trouble for us then. There are those who say that the fighters of Gog and Magog will be those among Klall Yisroel who distort the words of the Torah and who try to tear Jews away from Hashem.

So in a way, the war of Gog and Magog has begun already, before the Geulah, in the sense that their armies are waging war against Hashem. And it is therefore altogether likely then that Grend is right, about the Zionists being part of Gog and Magog. But this in no way constitutes "aschalta d'geulah" (!?!?). Rather, part of the pains of Golus. Or, as is said in the name of the Ponivizher Rav, "what they call the aschalta d'geulah" is actually the sof golus!!".

Koresh, in addition, had the support of a prophecy that the time of Golus was ended. That is why Yeshiaya berated the nation. Without a prophecy, they should indeed not have followed him. The Ramban, in fact, says that the reason only the Jews of Bavel went to Eretz Yisroel is because the prophecy of the end of Golus applied to them only, and the others would therefore not be allowed to go, because without a prophecy, they would be violating the Oaths.


The idea that a Geulah that is performed through human beings - even Moshe and Aharon - is necessarily temporary is in the Medrash Rabbah, and quoted by the Lubavithcer Rebbe Rashab regarding the Zionists. The fact that Moshe could have been Moshiach is not a problem, since had that been the case, then Hashem would have intervened and performed the Geulah the way He will iy"h when the real Geulah arrives.

As far as Koresh goes, there is no comparison between him and the Zionists. The idea is not that the Zionists were not "frum enough" but rather, they were enemies of Hashem, rehayim, kofrim, evil-doers, and more, their intention in creating the State of Israel was a totally unholy one: namely, "nihiyeh kechol hagoyim", and even to eliminate religion altogether.

It is therefore unthinkable that the anti-G-d actions of these anti-G-d people represent the ultimate revelation of G-d's Honor, the redemption itself. Forget it. It's absurd.

Koresh, on the other hand, was a righteous king. "Koresh was a kosher king, therefore, he is counted as if he were one of the Malchei Yisroel" (Rosh Hashanah 3b). Koresh, unlike the Zionists, made a decree that everyone should fear Hashem ("the G-d of Daniel").

Koresh was indeed acting in accordance with the express wishes of Hashem. "So said Koresh, King of Persia: 'Hashem ... has commanded me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, in the Land of Yehuda." (Ezra 1:2)
(I.e. Hashem commanded me through Yeshayah the prophet to build the Sanctuary in Jerusalem" - Rashi).

And despite all of this, only 1500 Jews heeded Koresh's call to return to Erezt Yisroel. The reason, says the Ramban in Maamar HaGeulah (ch. 1), is that only the Jews of Bavel had a prophecy that the Golus was over. The rest of the Jews refused to emigrate to Eretz Yisroel en masse because since they did not have a prophecy that the Geulah has ended for them, doing so would have violated the Oaths!


When we pray for the building of Eretz Yisroel and the Geulah, we mean ONLY IN ITS PROPER TIME - like we pray for the ailing patient to finally get off the respirator. But the Zionists went and took Eretz Yisroel before the proper time, which is NOT what we ever prayed for, any more than for the patient to be bodily removed from the respirator before he is ready.

Or for someone to be "sent to olam habah" before G-d wills him to.

Zionism has nothing to do with Judaism. Judaism is a religion which prays for Hashem to come and redeem us and give us Eretz Yisroel when the proper time comes. Zionism is a political nationalist movement that takes Israel whenever they can.

Taking Eretz Yisroel to be ours before the proper time is like taking the patient off the respirator before the proper time. You kill the patient. And don’t give me any excuses that "well, you prayed so long for the patient to get off the respirator so we're really the same!". Uh, no.

Without waiting for the Geulah, our prayers are not answered - they are horrifically thwarted. That is what Zionism does.


I believe that we should do as the Seforim tell us to do during Golus, as Yaakov Avinu did when he met Esav, who also only tried to kill him and gave him nothing but threats of annihilation and accusations of robbery (of the Brachos). We should try to make peace but prepare for war. I don’t think anyone disagrees much with that, from a Torah point of view. The only question is at what point do we determine that peace failed and now its time for war. There is one important issue, though, and that is we need to know what we are defending.

Our goal is to preserve Jewish life. All the land in the world is not worth even one Jewish life, and under no circumstances should we allow any Jews to be put in danger. This is different than what many people think, namely, that it is worth sacrificing Jewish lives if in return we can have "our land". No way.

This fight over land, which has been escalating for about 100 years now, has snowballed to the point where the Arabs have come to hate Jews with a lethal passion. The Christians used to be our lethal enemies, not the Arabs. But because of Zionism, the Arabs have replaced the Christians as our number one bloodthirsty enemies. I do not trust them, but neither do I trust those who would sacrifice Jewish lives for land.

Many people would like to deny this, and rather claim that Arabs just hate Jews because they are Jews, regardless of Israel. But it is not true. Even Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik admits, in an address to the Mizrachi in the early '60's, and recorded for posterity in "Five Addresses", quote: "What has brought about the wave of hatred that has engulfed the Moslem world? We all know the major reason is the founding of the State of Israel." (p.79)

Currently, though, they do want to kill us, and I do not trust people who want to kill me.

However, our derech in Golus is to try to make peace as much as possible. Even with people we do not trust. Surely Yaakov did not trust Esav - he prepared for war if peace didn't work out - but he knew that trying to make peace is the best way.

Goyim have the upper hand in Golus, and as much as we cannot trust the Arabs in their current state of mind, but neither can we change the fact that this is Golus, and even in Eretz Yisroel it is still Golus, and therefore, even in Eretz Yisroel the Goyim have the upper hand. We should try as much as possible to make peace, but prepare for war.

The problem is, the political figures making the decisions here do not value the same things that we Torah Jews do. We value Jewish lives and the Torah above all. For the Torah we would die. To save lives, sometimes, as well. But people who have their own political careers to further, and who harbor their own "patriotic" ideals and jingoistic tendencies, and are altogether not in tune with Torah values, are not people I trust either. History shows that Jews with non-Torah values have caused more harm to us than all the bloodthirsty Goyim put together.


The problem is not so much that we don't have the Bais HaMikdash, but more that we don't deserve the Bais HaMikdash. It's like this:

We get reward for doing Mitzvos. The way Mitzvos get us reward is through a process which goes as follows:

1) The Mitzvos we do make our bodies and the world holy. The more Mitzvos we do, the holier our flesh and blood bodies, and the stick-and-stone world becomes. Aveiros do the opposite.

2) When enough people have generated enough Mitzvos, the world will be ready for Moshiach. When Moshiach comes, the spiritual energy that will flood the world then will feel so wonderful, it will be, quite literally, Gan Eden on earth. This is our eternal reward for doing mitzvos. But today, the earth in its current unholy state would not be able to survive the spiritual energy of Moshiach's coming. Our own selves, too. Mitzvos allow us and the world not only to survive, but to benefit forever from the post-Geulah world. Until the world is ready, Hashem will not send Moshiach.

3) The natural way for the Jews to fix the world is from Eretz Yisroel, through the Bais Hamikdash. Imagine the Bais HaMikdash as having spiritual arteries that extend from it all over the world. The Kedushah of Klall Yisroel's Mitzvos go from there all over the world and sanctify it. Bangladesh, Vanuatu, Naui, and Seychelles all get holy because Jews in Eretz Yisroel do Mitzvos. The Bais HaMikdash, the Korbonos, and all our Avodah in Eretz Yisroel, facilitate this.

4) However, the Jews dropped to the level that the energy of their Mitzvos could no longer travel through the arteries of the Bais HaMokdash to all over the world. All Eretz Yisroel does for us in this sense it provide the pipes to transport the holiness generated by our Mitzvos all over the world. If we pollute our souls, then it's useless to have the Bais HaMikdash and Eretz Yisroel because we are too weak to sanctify the world from Eretz Yisroel.

5) When this happens, Hashem sends us into Golus, because we still need to fix the world, but we cannot do it anymore long-distance, from Eretz Yisroel. Now we have to be scattered all over the world for thousands of years to manually make the world holy. All the suffering and pain that we must endure during Golus is our own doing, because we "made our bed" in a way that we cannot use Eretz Yisroel, Bais HaMikdash etc. to do our job in the world, so now we have to "sleep in it" - meaning, run all around the world homeless, fixing it and sanctifying it.

So that's Golus. Like I said, it’s not so much that we don’t have the Bais HaMikdash - it's more that we don’t deserve it. If we were high enough to be able to sanctify the world from Eretz Yisroel through the Bais HaMikdash, we would be there today. We are in Golus because we are too low to do that.

I think this is a real good reason to be sad, no?




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