Sunday, August 27, 2006

Zionism Misc. I

[This is where I'm putting zionism posts that I can't fit into specific sub-categories. -taon]

Zionism was wrong lchatchilah 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.


Granted there is unfortunately no practical way currently at our disposal to dismantle the State of Israel, but if I were to say for instance that Christianity is Avodah Zora, would you ask me well, Christianity is here and what can you do about it?

Obviously my point would be don't believe in Christianity. Don't say Hallel on Christmas; don't believe Yoshka's coming is Aschalta Degeulah; don't celebrate Christmas and Easter as Jewish holidays, and get rid of the stained glass window in your Shul that has a snowman and holly and a reindeer - it doesn't belong with the rest of the windows that depict real Yomim Tovim - and it doesn't belong in a Shul altogether; disabuse yourself of the belief in Christianity because the EXISTENCE of Christianity is not justification to believe in it.

Know what I mean?

In Maaseh Ish, that wonderful biography and description of the shitos of the Chazon Ish, the great sage is quoted as saying "Instead of making Yom Haatzmaut into a holiday, perhaps it would be more appropriate to make it into a fast day!"

Imagine someone who says Hallel on Tisha Bav because he believes what happened on that day deserves to be commemorated with a yearly celebration!

And then when you tell that person he is really off base, he asks you, "Well, the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash is a reality! What would you do to fix it?"


First, "we" didn't want a state - only the non-religious and the Mizrachi wanted it. Torah Jewry was against it like poison.

The whole thing was a bad idea, since Israel was doomed from the start to have anything but peace and security -- I mean, what did they think the Arabs would do if we made a State? Lay down and say "OK, Jews, you can take this land from us -- use it well"? The Gedolim warned them about this but they wouldn't listen. They thought that either (a) they'd defeat all the Arabs, or (b) with the "normalization" of Jewry - we would be a "nation like all nations" - anti-Semitism would disappear, or at least be drastically reduced. For after all, won't we now be "normal"? We have a nation, an army, consulates in every country - just like everyone else!

Consider as well the fact that whenever Israel commits a crime or an immoral or unethical action, Jews are blamed, since people think, unfortunately, that Israel is the "Jewish" Nation. The chilul Hashem that this case of mistaken identity has caused is beyond imagining.

And never mind the contribution that the Zionist-induced Arab hatred had in the destruction of European Jewry in the Holocaust (see Rav Hutner's article quoted elsewhere).

As Rav Shach ZTL writes, and as the Gedolim had warned over a half century ago, the creation of the State of Israel has served only to increase anti-semitism, obtain for us more enemies, and cause the deaths of thousands and thousands of Jews at the hands of those enemies.

But all that is not the "ikar". The main thing is: The Torah says creating a State is prohibited. And the punishment, say Chazal is that "Jewish flesh will be hunted down like game in the field". Hashem yishmerienu.


The fact that there is or was good from the State of Israel does not mean that there is or was much more bad; and more to the point, it does not mean that it was permitted. Remember: Chazal say we are obligated to have gratitude to the Egyptians for housing us for all those years even though they were obviously Reshayim who made our lives miserable. And if someone would say, which they do, that the purpose of our stay in Egypt was to strengthen us in many ways, which it was, that does not make Golus Mitzrayim a zechus, and it does not mean that on Pesach we eat sugar in remembrance of the great strengthening of Jewish identity that took place in Egypt. We eat moror.

So too without a doubt there are good things that are here because of the State of Israel, but none of that changes the fact that its creation was against the will of Hashem, against the Torah, and its existence is a danger and a tzarah to Klall Yisroel.

If someone were to say that Hashem put Hurdus (Who was responsible for the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash) in power in order to strengthen Jewish identity by weeding out the deviant Jewish sects (which, after the churban no longer existed), that would of course be true; but that doesn't mean the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash was a good thing.

You will not find any of the Gedolei Yisroel saying that the creation of the State of Israel was a good thing - all of them agree that it was bad. It is only the Mizrachis who believed in it. And not only did they say it was bad - they said it was horrific, "the worst thing to ever happen to us in golus", and etc.


We should pray and do all histadlus possible to save Jewish lives. End of story. Beyond that, I haven't the foggiest notion of where you're coming from.

And regarding the Mi shebayrach for the Tzahal, it all depends on who you consider the Tzibur. Just because some people say it does not constitute the "Tzibur's" behavior. Part of the problem here is that the Zionists believe that they have the power to demand that everyone follow their approach and if they don't, they are guilty of "non-achdus" or being "poresh min hatzibur". The fact is, the Modern Orthodox or Religious Zionist camp does not constitute the "Tzibur" of Klall Yisroel. What they do may be accepted or rejected by any Tzibur as they see fit. The fact that some people do something is not a compelling reason to jump and do it as well. There is no reason, except Zionism, to pray for the Chayalim any more than we pray for all the other Jews in danger around the world. We pray for all of them collectively. Just because some congregations decided to make a special Mi Shebayrach for those who serve the Medinah does not mean anyone else has to follow suit. If you’re so interested in following the Tzibur, then why don’t you follow the Chareidi Tzibur that refuses to say it?

So many times people claim that everyone in the world has to do what they do, or else they are "breaking achdus". It's such an absurd position I really wonder if those people are really living in such a bubble that they think they are Klall yisroel and everyone else must follow them.

People see things differently. Live with it. Until you can give me a decent reason to say the Mi Sheberach in my shul, I see no reason to do it. The reason it is done elsewhere has nothing to do with Ahavas Yisroel or saving Jews - for if so, ALL Jews in danger would be treated equally - but rather a loyalty to the Medinah that entails the provision of a special status to those Jews who serve it, above all the other Jews in the world who are in equal or more danger, and whose Tefilos and Torah learning in the face of that danger protects us all from our enemies, as much as the chayalim. That's pure Zionism, and it has nothing to do with me.


Why were we given the state if we aren’t supposed to have it?

Why would G-d give someone cancer if He doesn't want him to cure it?

Or even more analogous: When the judge in court orders the bank robber to return the money he stole, can he say, "If Hashem didn't want me to have the money why did He give it to me?"

Or even better: If Hashem didn't want the suicide bombers to kill people, why did He give them bombs?

Know what I mean?

The ability to succeed at doing an aveirah does not mean it is not an aveirah.

The existence of something does not mean G-d approves of it. Of all the nonsensical Zionist arguments, this is perhaps the most nonsensical (although it does have tremendous competition for that distinction). Torture chambers, drug dens, concentration camps, terrorist cells, and rape rooms exist. So does the State of Israel. Even rapists aren’t irrational enough to claim that the existence of their institutions "shows" that G-d approves of them.


When the State of Israel was established in '48, the Brisker Rav was terribly pained by the horrible event. The Chazon Ish heard about how bad the Brisker Rav was taking it, and sent him a message. He said to the Brisker Rav "Don’t worry - Hashem can always nullify a Gezeirah Raah even after it happens. Hashem can nullify this Gezeirah Raah and undo the State of Israel."

The Brisker Rav sent back to the Chazon Ish: "That is true only if the victims of the bad Gezeirah look at it as bad. But if the victims of the bad Gezeirah welcome the Gezirah, then if they do not consider it a Gezeirha Raah, Hashem does not nullify it. I am afraid, Chazon Ish, that this Gezeirah Raah therefore cannot be so easily nullified, since so many people do not recognize it as a Gezeirah Raah."

The thing we must do now to protect Klall Yisroel from the dangers, spiritual and physical, that Zionism has put us in, is to realize, and help others realize, that the State of Israel is indeed a Gezeirah Raah, like the Chazon Ish and Brisker Rav declared it. And that, as per the Brisker Rav's answer to the Chazon Ish, is what is needed in order for this Gezeirah Rah to become null.

The more we realize that the State of Israel is a Gezeirah Raah, the more the chances of Hashem helping us out of it.

So just by asking the question - what can we do to get us out of the mess that the State of Israel puts us in? - you have provided a small part of the solution. About this question it can surely be said - shails chacham chatzi techuva.


On any list of people who are called “Apikorsim” Chas Vesholom, for being Anti-Zionistic are the Chofetz Chaim, the Brisker Rav, Rav Elchonon Wasserman, the Rogechover, Rav Chaim Brisker, the Chazon Ish, Rav Aharon Kotler, Rav SR Hirsch, and many others. I wonder - what seforim are used in Zionist Yeshivos, if all of these luminaries are, to them, apikorsim?


Rav Soloveichik said (it is in 5 drashos) that the rabbis who were against zionism hold that position because they do not have the courage to admit their mistake. How in the world, honestly, do you expect me to look at something like that, and say "I respect this"? Or Rabbi Shlomo Aviner's terrible statements of bizayon against the Gaon and Tzadik Rav Elchonon Wasserman? (see Chayei Olam)? He believes and says that despite the terrible kitrug that Rav Elchonon did against klall yisroel, we still should respect him and consider him "holy" because he died al kidush Hashem.

Rav Elchonon Wasserman ZTL was a great gaon and tzadik, Talmid Muvhak of the Chofetz Chaim ZTL, who voluntarily went back to Europe to die in the holocaust because he knew his Talmidim could not escape and he could not bear to have them trapped there to die alone.

So he went back. Rav Schwab ZTL told me that when Reb Elchonon was here and expressed his plans to join his talmidim in their darkest hour, he told Reb Elchonon, “You realize, don’t you, that if you go back there, you’re not going to get out alive?!”

Rav Schwab, when he was telling me this story, at this point lowered his head to the ground, bit his lower lip as if to hold back a tear, clenched both of his fists, and continued:

“‘Yes,’ Reb Elchonon told me. ‘I know.’”

Says Rabbi Aviner about that great Tzadik (Chayei Olam, p. 320):

“He wrote terrible words of indictment (kitrug) against Am Yisroel. Hashem should save us from views such as his...It is a great Mitzvah to save Am Yisroel from these evil (or: “bad” – “raos”) views”.

Of course, in theory, just because someone was a Tzadik and a Gaon and the closest student of the Chofetz Chaim, who gave his life so that young Torah scholars who would have died anyway r”l, should at least not die cold and alone, could, I supposed, write “terrible accusations” against Am Yisroel, though its difficult to imagine how, seeing that he cared so much for those Torah scholars that his life was forfeit for their benefit, but besides that, and besides the fact that what Rabbi Aviner writes is complete Hotzoas Shem Rah against one of the greatest Tzadikim of the 20th century (for Rav Elchonon guilty of no such thing), the point is that Rabbi Aviner is indeed forced to believe such things, because what else can he say in response to the fact that Rav Elchonon paskened that religious Zionism is nothing but “religion and avodah zorah combined”? That Rabbi Aviner’s very lifeblood is avodah zorah?

This is what I mean by the Zionists severing their connection with out Mesorah. Gedolim such as Reb Elchonon, the Chazon Ish, the Brisker Rav and others did not merely declare Zionism “wrong”, but avodah zorah, apikorsus, and the like. When our Gedolim draw a line in the sand that thick, and you insist on crossing it, you kind of have no choice but to either go into denial (and cowardly make believe they never said such things or never meant them, and that “only Satmar” believes Zionism is kefirah, like many Zionists do) or, declare that the “right side” of the line is yours and the Gedolim are the ones who are the “terrible accusers” against Am Yisroel

And what’s worse, he believes and says that despite the terrible kitrug that Rav Elchonon did against Klall Yisroel, we still should respect him and consider him "holy" because he died al kiddush Hashem. He thinks that his horrific statements constitute "respect" for that Gaon and Tzadik who was holy because of the way he LIVED every moment of his life, and every word that came out of his mouth and every action that his arms and legs performed, because he is willing to say "despite what he said, he is still a kodosh because he died al kidush Hashem." Afra lepumei.

But Rabbi Aviner is right, l'shitaso. How are you going to deal with the fact that what you consider your religion was ruled to be idolatry, no less than any other form of totem-pole worship? If you are a Zionist - religious or not, you are either in denial or must cut yourself off form the mesorah of Klall Yisroel - from the authors of the seforim that you yourself use in Yeshiva every day.


The Avodah Zorah of Zionism is seen in that if you’re a Zionist, even if you’re an apikores, like Herzl, you can be a Jewish hero, but if you’re an anti-zionist, you can be the godol hador and you’re evil. And the throwing of lies and accusations by these people is the way they control thinking in their communities - if you are against Zionism they kill you. Prof Yakov Rabkin, a modern orthodox Jew, and Professor of History in University of Montreal, through his knowledge of history, decided that Zionism is the worst thing that has happened the Jewry, causes anti-semitism, and was opposed by the traditional Torah leaders throughout history. They told him he’s not allowed to get an aliyah in his Shul. You can see this attitude when people who are only superficially interested in their davening, if that much, suddenly stand at attention when the "prayer for the peace of the State" is said, as if it's Shemona Esray. Those who talk in the middle of Krias HaTorah and Chazoras Hashatz and even Krias Shema, fulfill all the strictest opinions of shul decorum when it comes to zionism. The Chida actually says that you can tell whether a mitzvah you are doing is from the yetzer tov or from the yetzer horah, by seeing whether your commitment to it is consistent with your commitment to other Mitzvos. So if you judge people including yourself based on one mitzvah more than others and you’re so committed to one mitzvah and not to others that means its the yeter horah driving your commitment to that mitzvah, and you better check it out. As far as this stuff they say about me. What can I do? If they have any problems with what I say let them respectfully come and submit their arguments and I will answer them. If I can’t answer them then I will concede they are right. But especially regarding the zionism topic, I have posted as far as I know every single major zionist argument in existence - including references to the places where the zionists give them. I have refuted every one. If I missed any, please send them my way. Understand, also, that these people were brought up this way. They were taught that Rav Kook was the biggest godol and everyone recognized him as a godol even if they disagreed with him, and so when they read that he was not accepted universally as a godol at all, and in fact there were even great gedolim who held he was an apikores, they tend to kill the messenger and call names rather than listen.


The question at the '37 Marienbad Convention was not whether to make a Jewish State or not, but whether when a State is created, can they give up some land to the Arabs. This question revolves around the prohibition of Lo Sichanem. The rabbis were divided, and although the discussion of creating a State altogether did come up, that is because in attendance at the convention were religious Zionist rabbis as well, such as Rabbi Moshe Avigdor Amiel, rabbi of Tel Aviv, who was a student of R. Shimon Shkop but did not share his Rebbis' hashkofos.

The Gerrer Rebbe was not in favor of giving up land, but that was all assuming there was going to be a state. Lo Sichanem was what he was responding to, not the Oaths.

If you want to know The Brisker Rav's attitude toward the Israeli government, there is a letter from him, printed in numerous places, about a meeting that took place by the Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah, chaired then by R. Lazer Yudel Finkel ZTL of Mir, where they decided it was OK to take money from the Israeli government for the Yeshivos. The following was the Brisker Rav's comment:

" ... and they decided what they decided. In my opinion, we should not pay attention to it, since the Rosh Yeshivos do not own the Torah".

End quote.


Torah scholarship is all relative. There is no question, however, that the Gedolei Hador - those who we recalled upon to pasken shailos for all of Klall Yisroel in all other circumstances - the Chazon Ish, the Brisker Rav etc - were against the State of Israel. If this were any shailah other than Zionism, nobody would follow the others.

It's so strange. Someone showed me a bentcher that was given out at a dinner of Yeshivas Shaalvim. It had of course all the Tefilos for Yom Tov, including special Tefilos - even Kiddush! I am not making this up - for Yom Haatzmaut. Then, right after that, it has "Mitzvos hateluyos baaretz by the Chazon Ish". The fact that the Chazon Ish who they consider an authority on Mitzvos Hateluyos Baaretz considered all who celebrate Yom Haatzmaut to be Apikorsim doesn’t bother them at all.


As far as Rav Ovadiah, yes, he is a Zionist rabbi, but you should not follow that position regardless, since Rav Ovadiah and those like him are a small, minuscule minority among the big talmidei chachamim, and although Rav Ovadiah is a world-class baki in Torah literature, he is not nearly a Godol Hador in the league of the Brisker Rav, Chazon Ish, Rav Ahron Kotler, Satmar Rebbe, Rav Chaim Ozer, Chofetz Chaim, and others of that sort who were much greater than he and declared Zionism not only to be wrong, but they said to disregard the opinions of those rabbis who are for it.

So if there were rabbanim who were Gedolei Hador, like those above, who were Zionist, we could have a discussion. But there weren’t. There is no comparison.


Because Zionism is Halachicly such a farce, that it's a wonder that any Talmid Chacham, even if they are not the greatest Gedolim of the generation, could fall for it. And this question was once asked to the Brisker Rav ZTL. "How is it that some intelligent and upstanding people should be involved in such a stupidity that causes such destruction of Judaism as Zionism?"

He answered:

"In Koheles it says, 'Dead flies putrefy perfumed oil, and small amount of stupidity overshadows wisdom and honor'. Meaning, just as the perfumer's oil which is mixed in with spices that gives it an aroma which is very beautiful, nevertheless if you throw into it some dead flies, the perfume will become putrid because of them. So too is wisdom and honor - if you throw into it just a little stupidity, the stupidity will putrefy all the wisdom and overpower it.

"So, too," said the Brisker Rav, "it is with those people in whom even just bit of Zionism has entered, the small amount of stupidity with outweigh and overpower their wisdom, and cause them to do things that are just the opposite of wise." ("Harav MiBrisk", Vol 3, p.326)

I would like to add a source to that from the Gemora: shaani minus, d'mashcha!

All that having been said, you should know that both the Lubavitcher Rebbe and Rav Ovadiah are much more controversial than you seem to realize. As for the Lubavitcher Rebbe, you can see the Lubavitch threads on the forum to see why the Gedolei Yisroel such as Rav Shach ZTL did not consider him a "great rabbi". And Rav Ovadiah, although everyone agrees has a great encyclopedic knowledge of Torah, is not considered at all an authority such that we should abandon what our Gedolim said because of his position. He just isn’t in that league.

Rav Ovadiah stated that the Oaths are Halachicly binding. In context, some Zionist rabbi had written, I think it was regarding land for peace, that the Oaths had "expired" according to Rav Chaim Vital. The Satmar Rebbe exposes that Zionist myth as a hoax in Vayoel Moshe, showing that it is based on a distortion and misunderstanding (a little of both) of Rav Chaim Vital. Rav Ovadiah points that out to the aforementioned Zionist rabbi. This was in an article in a Zionist journal called Techumin, which I quoted elsewhere.


The Netziv never said anything about chas vsholom creating a Jewish State in EY. He was in favor of colonizing Eretz Yisroel, which was then under Turkish authority. The Netziv was niftar before Herzl even dreamed up the idea of a Jewish State.


The late Rabbi Shlomo Rottenberg (a historian and author of Toldos Am Olam and other works), who also attended the Convention in '37 used to say that he could still remember what was discussed there, and the harsh opposition of these rabbinical leaders to a “Jewish State” that is a violation of the Three Oaths mentioned in the Talmud. (Rabbi A.L. Spitzer)

It should be noted that Rabbi Menachem Kasher, in his attempted defense of religious Zionism "Hatkuha Hagedolah", forged and doctored this article in Hapardes - yes, he did not merely misquote it, he actually blatenly and unashamedly doctored it, presenting his forgery as "proof" to his anti-Torah position, to give the impression that the only Rabbonim against the State were those from Hungary and Czechoslovakia. He conveniently deleted the names of Rav Elchonon Wasserman, Rav Ahron Kotler and Rav Rottenberg in the above narrative.

He also deleted the sentence that those voting against - held this view under ALL CIRCUMSTANCES - even if such a medina was built upon 'yesodos hadass', because, this it would be "Kefirah b'emunas bias hamoshiach..." and especially one built " yesodos hakefirah, venimtza shem shomayim mischalell."


The Gedolei Yisroel were against creating a State of Israel, and this includes Lubavitch. In fact, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rav Sholom Ber ZTL was one of the most extreme and outspoken opponents of the State of Israel, for many reasons, but first an foremost, because it is against the Oaths that G-d made us swear to wait for Moshiach before we take Eretz Yisroel.

In a famous letter (printed in Ohr Layeshorim p.57) the Rebbe Rav Sholom Ber ZTL writes:

"Regarding the Zionists and their camp, I will answer in short: First, even if they were followers of Hashem and His Torah, and even if they will be successful in their goal [of creating a Jewish State], we cannot listen to them in this, to make a redemption by our own power, for isn’t it true that we are even not allowed to "put pressure" to bring the time of redemption by praying too much for it (as Rashi says in Kesuvos 111a, see also Medrash Rabbah Shir Hashirim 2 "I made you swear..." [i.e. the Oaths - MOD]), all the more so with actions and physical means. That is, we are not permitted to leave the Golus through our own power. Not from this [creating a State] will come our redemtion and freedom, and especially since this is against our real desire, for our entire desire and hope is for Hashem to bring Moshiach speedily in our days (Amen) and the Geulah will be through Hashem Himslef, as the Medrash says, that even a redemption by Moshe Rabbeinu and Aharon HaKohen will not last, all the more so a Geull by Chanaya Mishael and Azaryah ... and in this current Golus we have to wait only for our redemption and our salvation from Hashem Himself, not through human beings ...

"Signed, your true friend, who is waiting for G-d salvation soon ... Sholom Dov Ber"

The next Lubavitcher Rebbe was equally opposed to the Jewish State.

The last Lubavitcher Rebbe, however, changed the tradition of his predecessors in this issue as well, and, although he could obviously never say that he is in favor of the State of Israel, for anyone who says that was branded total personna non grata by Lubavitch tradition - he kind of avoided the politically incorrect (but Halahcicly correct) view of his predecessors. I found the following description of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's change in his tradition on a Lubavitch website:

"Although the previous two Lubavitcher Rebbes were fierce opponents of political Zionism, there is a letter from 1959 in which the Rebbe responds with great respect to "His Excellency, Mr. David Ben-Gurion, Prime Minister of Israel."

"The Rebbe, who modified the Lubavitch stance from anti-Zionist to non-Zionist, maintained a warm correspondence with Ben-Gurion, even when having one early exchange about the "Who is a Jew" debate that exploded some 30 years later."

This was one of the great claims that the Satmar Rebbe ZTL had against the last Lubavitcher Rebbe, that he refused to take a stand on this issue, which was so important to his predecessors the previous Lubavitcher Rebbes, and instead chose to be very politically correct and wishy washy.

I mentioned that a writer once asked the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem Mendel) point blank "what do you think of the Satmar Rebbe's views on the State of Israel?"

The Lubavitcher Rebbe was in a corner and avoided the question. He said "What difference does it make what I think of the views of a man I don’t know about a place I have never been?" He added, that the issue does not concern him.

So of course, officially Lubavitch is very anti-Zionist, and anti-State of Israel. You will never ever see an Israeli flag or a Yom Hatzmaut celebration in Lubavitch (I hope. Though nowadays you never know). But you will also not hear them ever repeat the stance of traditional Lubavich before it was "modified" by the past Rebbe and became politically correct.

I once saw an article in "Midstream", a Conservative magazine, taking Lubavitch to task for "hiding" from the non-religious Jews that they are so buddy-buddy with, the fact that they are so very anti-Zionist. If the non-religious would know this about them, the magazine charged, they would never followed Lubavitch.

They are probably right, and that is probably the reason why the Lubavitcher Rebbe "modified" the Lubavitch hashkofo. Or at the very least, he made sure never to commit himself to it on the record.

As far as Rabbis who hold that the land is ours and we have to kick out all the Arabs, those are two things. That the land is ours because G-d "gave it to us" via "miracles" is total religious Zionist philosophy. Nobody else, including Lubavitch holds like this. And to throw out the Arabs, well, the first to say that was Teddy Herzl in his diary (1895), followed by the so-called "iron wall" approach by Jabotinsky, and lastly, Meyer Kahane. The Lubavitcher Rebbe never said such a thing. Not even the last one.




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