Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Oaths and Zionism II

The Oaths are quoted L'Halachah in numerous sources , including but not limited to: Responsa Rivash #110, Responsa Rashbash #2, Megilas Esther on Sefer HaMitzvos of Rambam (#4 - Regarding why the Rambam does not count the Mitzvah to live in Eretz Yisroel in his list of Mitzvos), Ramban (Maamar HaGeulah #1 regarding why all Jews outside of Bavel - the majority of Jews at the time - did not go to Eretz Yisroel at Coresh's call), Rambam (Igeres Taimon - warning people not to violate the Oaths or else face grave danger).

Even if they were Agadita, Rabbeinu Tam writes that you DO pasken from Agadita unless it is against Halachah.
But the Oaths are NOT Agada. By definition, Halachah means when the Gemora tells you it is forbidden to do something, which this does. In fact, it says You may not do this, and if you do, you will die. That makes it Halachah. That’s the definition of Halachah.


The Oaths being a "curse" and not an obligation is not a good answer at all. It doesn't even begin.

It's simple: The Gemora says that G-d made the Jews swear they would not do XYZ, and if they do it, they will be killed like animals. However you want to slice it, it means Hashem does NOT want you to do this. Even if they would not be halachicly obligatory - and don't ask me why they wouldn't, since it says G-d made the Jews swear they would not do it - doing something that incurs a curse of death to Jews is
not something to say Hallel about. The Oaths are brought down l'halachah in Rishonim and Achronim, and throughout the discussions about them there is not a peep about them being "curses" as opposed to obligations. Throughout the generations, our sages - including the Rambam - have warned us not to violate the Oaths, or else.
The Bnei Efraim were annihilated in the desert for violating the Oaths.
If this "answer" didn't help them, why would we think it will help us?
I am fully aware of "shivim panim l'torah", but where it comes to Zionism, I have been painfully shocked all my life at the really dishonest and useless "answers" that are taught in Zionist institutions (I have taught in some of those institutions myself). There really is only one side to this issue. And the only possible explanation I can think of as to why otherwise intelligent people can pass off such empty ideas as Torah, is the Yetzer Horah for Zionism messes with their heads, the same as the Yetzer Horah for Meshichism messes with the heads of otherwise intelligent Lubavitchers. Objectively, there is no contest here.
As far as the "sign" from G-d, um, how exactly did you decide that? How in the world do you know there will not c"v be another holocaust, and if not, that the creation of Israel is a "sign" thereof? Perhaps on the contrary, it is a warning of a future holocaust r"l, since we know that for violation of the Oaths (curse or halachah) Hashem will cause Jews to be "hunted down like animals". If anything in the Torah describes a holocaust r"l, this is it. And it is a punishment for creating a Jewish State in Eretz Yisroel before Moshiach.

The Oath of Naaseh V'Nishmah is also used by Chazal as Halachah, as in Shevuah chal al Sehvuah etc.
Even if it is not Halachah, it still represents the Ratzon Hashem, meaning, negation of Halachah would merely relinquish us of any obligations in regard to making a State. But the Gemora clearly says that doing so will cause the deaths of Jews, like animals in the field. Even if that does not create any Halachic obligations, it surely tells us that the State is against the will of Hashem and that its existence causes deaths of Jews.


Shlomo Aviner's Kuntres Lo Yaalu Bechomah says that the Oaths only disallow the Jews from taking Eretz Yisroel if the Goyim don’t want them to. But if the Goyim give them permission to, they may. The Balfour Declaration constitutes permission.

Refutation #1 - The Ramban (maamar hageulah #1) says that when Koresh gave the Jews permission to return to EY, only a small amount of Jews went, the ones from Bavel, because they had a prophecy that said they should return. But those who did not have the support of a Nevuah to return did not, because they would have been in violation of the Oaths, even though Koresh asked them to return. Ergo: Even with permission to return, it is still in violation of the Oaths to do so. Rav Yonason Eyebushitz (in Ahavas Yonason) and the Yefas Toar (on the Oaths, both quoted all over the site) also say clearly that even a peaceful, with-permission ascent to EY is prohibited according to the Oaths.

Furthermore, the Balfour Declaration never promised the Jews that they could take over Eretz Yisroel. Although the Zionists said it did, they were told time and time again that it is not so. At {The web site moved since this was written, and i do not yet have the new link -taon}

you will find a letter from Freda Kirchwey to Chaim Weizman. The following is an excerpt from there:

"The Jews based their claim to the right to go to Palestine on the Balfour Declaration....
"The question of a "national home" can be subject to many interpretations. it is hard to believe that the British government, using the words "national home" in 1917 had any idea that there should be created a Jewish State in Palestine without regard to the rights of the large Arab majority living there".

Also, the following memo by Frank P. Corrigan, titled "Summary of the Palestine Problem" at

"The legal claims stem first out of the Balfour Declaration. This was a political paper that promised the Jews a 'home' where they might feel safe from persecutions from which they had for centuries been the victims. Closely examined, this does not constitute much grounds for the legal establishment of a sovereign Jewish State in Palestine. The Jews have read into it much more than it contains."

In fact, the Balfour Declaration was originally drafted by the Zionists. They (July 1917) wanted it to say, "His Majesty's government accepts the principle that Palestine should be reconstituted as the national home of the Jewish people..”

But Lord Balfour did not agree to that. What it said instead (October 1917) was "His Majesty's government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people...".

A big difference. A 'national home' is not necessarily a sovereign state, and "in" Palestine does not mean, as they wanted it to say, [all of] "Palestine".

Winston Churchill, in response to the Zionists running around telling the world that "See? They said we can take Palestine as our State!", retorted that the declaration did not mean "the imposition of a Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants of Palestine as whole, but further development of the existing Jewish community." In other words, a safe home for Jews to live within Palestine, a developed Jewish Yishuv within Palestine, but not a Jewish State.


When Rav Meir Simcha heard of the Balfour Declaration, he said "The trepidation of the Oaths has passed." meaning, that if the Jews would establish a Yishuv in EY (not create a sovereign state, which has nothing to do with the Balfour Declaration - see above) with the permission and blessing of both the British and the residents of the land, for otherwise it would not be "peaceful" at all - which was hopefully going to happen - then there would be no problem with the Oaths. That is nothing exceptional, especially since the Balfour Declaration never promised Palestine to the Zionists as a sovereign state. The problem is, what actually happened between the Zionists, the British, and the Arabs - was not the peaceful settlement that was hoped for in 1917.

Rav Meir Simcha never lived to see the establishment of the State of Israel, nor the circumstances surrounding it. He made this statement in 1917. To use a statement that was made based on political aspirations in 1917 and apply it to actual events of 1948, which were so totally different, is dishonest.

In fact, there was, subsequent to the Balfour declaration, wars with the arabs, terrorism on both sides, fighting against the British, etc.

In addition, Rav Meir Simcha wrote that because of the Balfour declaration, the “Mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisroel” has returned. Now he did not say the Mitzvah of Kibush Haaretz, but rather the Mitzvah of Yishuv Haaretz. Clearly, Rav Meir Simcha held that the oaths not only prevent any take over of Eretz Yisroel, but they also negate the Mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisroel, as per the Megilas Esther.

Now take a look at the statement of Rabbi ZY Kook (quoted by Rabbi Aviner) in context:

“Besides the fact that it is understood that the Megilas Esther, with all his greatness and holiness, does not come into the equation against the Ramban, who is called the ‘Father of klall Yisroel’, and is the source for many halachos in shulchan aruch, whereas the Megilas Esther is not the source for one single halachah—it is not obvious and clear that the Ramban knew the words of Chazal in Kesuvos 111a, but in Sefer Hamitzbos he presents as a Halachic authority, not a Kabalistic, and so he did not consider [when he said the Mitzvah of Yishuv Haaretz applies], the holy Agadic words of Chazal, and so too was the understanding of Rav Meir Simcha ZTL, who in his letter…repeats oftentimes the phrase ‘the fear of the oaths’, from which it is clear that there is no issue of halachah here but rather fear due to the concept of the Oaths, and so there is no contradiction to [between the Oaths] and the halachah and Mitzvah d’oraisah.”

The problem is, the rest of the quote of Rav Meir Simcha goes like this “the fear of the Oaths has passed, and so the Mitzvah of Yishuv Haaretz returns”, meaning that the Oaths indeed do have the power to negate the Mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisroel, and only if the Oaths are not being violated does the Mitzvah apply.

It would be difficult to imagine how someone could make such an incredible blunder. It really is hard to fathom, unless you consider the desperate Yetzer Horah for avodah zorah that tempts people to literally think in terms of the absurd

But there are anyway two Oaths that pertain to Zionism - the first one is "shelo yaalu kachoomah" which means not to take Eretz Yisroel as a Jewish State during Golus, and the second is not to do "hisgarus b'umos" meaning not to defy the nations of the world. We are not allowed to say "no" to the Nations during Golus. We are subservient to them. We certainly cannot confront them with our demands or threats. Zionism, which involved the taking of land against the will for its occupants, fighting wars, and dying international demands, certainly constituted that, and still does.

Rav Meir Simcha merely heard that England was willing to allow expansion of the Jewish settlement in Palestine, allowing immigration and safety. Without permission of the UK this would have constituted a violation of the Oaths.

But what happened in 1948 was a totally different story, and has nothing to do with Rav Meir Simcha’s comment in 1917. In fact, there is a letter from Rav Meir Simcha printed in several places to that effect.




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