Sunday, August 27, 2006

Zionism Misc. IV

During Golus, Jews are supposed to live all over the world. There are opinions in the Rishonim (most well known is the Ramban) that there is a Mitzvah nowadays to live in Eretz Yisroel, and there are equal and opposite opinions (most well known is the Tosfos and, according to Megilas Esther, the Rambam) that say there is not Mitzvah nowadays to live in Eretz Yisroel.

Every person needs to decide where he can serve Hashem best, and that's where he should be, whether it be in Eretz Yisroel or elsewhere.

I once asked Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky ZTL if he holds there is a Mitzvah to live in Eretz Yisroel nowadays. He said "Yes."

Then I asked him "So why are you living in Chutz La'Aretz?"

He said "What will be with the Yidden?" (meaning his Talmidim and those he has an influence on here)

So I said "So tell them to go to Eretz Yisroel too!"

He answered, "Not everyone should go. It’s easier to bring up children here. Especially girls."

This was in 1978.

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I have read Aim Habanim Semeichah. It is not even taken seriously outside of Zionist circles, because it is mostly emotional sermons and discourses (droshos), rather than a serious Halachic analysis.

It’s an emotional outcry in response to the holocaust (he dates the introduction Parshas Tetzaveh 1943) and it's clear that he was talking out of desperation for finding a safe haven for Jews, which many felt Eretz Yisroel would be. He confuses his personal feelings with Halachic methodology, Rebbishe vertlach with Halachic rulings, and so is not at all compelling.

Example: On page 147 he addresses a powerful statement in Ahavas Yonason by R. Yonason Eyebushitz ZT"L that it is absolutely prohibited for Jews to take over Eretz Yisroel before Moshiach, even if all the nations want them to, which is kind of a problem for a religious Zionist like Rabbi Teichtel.

This is his response: "You should understand that the words of Rav Yonason only apply when there is no sign from heaven that we should all abandon the lands of Chutz Laaretz, meaning, when Jews can live peacefully outside of Eretz Yisroel ... but not nowadays, when the words of the prophet came true, [that Jews will be hunted down by goyim]. So when the nations give us permission to return to our land, can there be any doubt that it is the will of Hashem that we return to Eretz Yisroel? I am certain, that if Rav Yonason Eyebushitz was living with us today and saw the terrible golus that we endure, he himself would say to us: 'Brother Jews! The time has come for you to go to Eretz Yisroel, for this is the will of Hashem, for it is not coincidence what has happened to us in Golus, but rather it is the finger of G-d pointing to us to rise from golus..."

Ok. Now, of course, even in the days of Rav Yonason (about 250 years ago) Jews were persecuted, and all throughout Golus they were, too. Yet Rabbi Teichtel decided that he knows how to quantify the measure of suffering that Jews are expected to tolerate in Golus, and what on the other hand is a “sign from Hashem" for them to return. He decided that he can read Hashem’s signs and that this, for sure, is what our suffering means.

Where did he get this scale? Nowhere. He decided it on his own. He and only he decided that this "sign from Hashem" tells us that the Golus is over.

Well, he can read whatever he wants into "signs from Hashem," but this "sign from Hashem" has no Rashi or Tosfos to tell us how to interpret it. Nor did Hashem tell him how to read history, nor does he have any sources that his is the proper reading.

Since when do we pasken sheailos based on personal feelings? It’s a nice sermon, but Halachicly it means nothing. Yet to him, not only is it Halachicly binding on everyone, but it "there is no longer any room for doubt".

And it gets much, much, worse. This attitude that "everyone has to interpret the world the way I do" often passes the line into the realm of the absurd.

On page 98 he deals with the Minchas Elozor, who was a vehement opponent of Zionism. He was vehemently critical in general, actually, when it came to protecting the Torah. And nobody was beyond his scrutiny. Here are some quotes:

“ ‘Whoever becomes a leader in this world becomes evil in the next world’ (Rambam, Tur). The world explains this to refer to the lay leaders, like presidents of congregations, which in many congregations this is true. But if we’re going to talk about our generation and our days, it can be referring to the Rabbonim as well, unfortunately...” – Divrei Torah III:47

“ ‘Whevener there are Reshaim in the world, there is suffering in the world. Who are Reshaim? The robbers.’ (Sanhedrin 113b). This is referring to the fake leaders who “rob” the truth from the people, because they act like Tzadikim and act for their own benefit. They prevent the redemption. Hashem should save us from them.” – ibid 58

“There are Rebbes (“admorim”) who are fakers, they make believe they are Tzadikim, are meyached yichudim, and dress like Rebbes or rabbis. This is all the doing of the Satan in order to bring the public (followers) to sin” – ibid V:82

“The reason why Jews in Germany can learn heresy and still remain religious is because they are like the people who are immune to poison because they are used to drinking it and so have so much of it in their system. So too the German Jews, they are soused to the poison of secularism since they are habituated in it from childhood little by little, that this does not hurt them. That is why they are immune to the bad influence of the Mizrachi and the Agudah as well.” – ibid IV:93

“’And you shall love your neighbor like yourself’ - this means, just like there are different parts of you that you care about more – for instance, you care more about heaving your head than your feet – so too we love the Tzadikim more than we do others. The lowest level is those who are like our fingernails, also part of us, but we clip them off and discard them. These people too are like fingernails that need to be separated from the rest of us, and this is for the benefit of Klall Yisroel.” – ibid II:39

Anyway, the following is Rabbi Teichtel’s explanation of why The Minchas Elozor was against “Yishuv HaAretz”:

First, he tries to establish that whether the redemption will come miraculously or slowly and naturally depends on whether Moshiach’s coming will be because we “deserve it” (“zachah”) – in which case it will be miraculous, or because Hashem sent it to us despite our not deserving it, in which case it will be natural. Then he says, quote:

“And with this we have an open response to the entire objection of our master and rebbi, the holy scholar, the Minchas Elozor ZT”L of Munkatch, regarding being involved with building the land. For I myself was one of his group, and I knew that his entire objection was based on the fact that the redemption is going to come miraculously, not naturally … But his honor remains intact, for he on his high level believed that the entire world is on the high level where they deserve Moshiach, like he was. But the truth is that this last generation, unfortunately, not deserving of Moshiach, and therefore the redemption will come couched in natural methods.” – Aim Habanim Semechah p.98

In other words, the Minchas Elozor mistakenly and naively thought the whole world was Tzadikim like he was, but in reality he didn’t understand that the world doesn’t really deserve Moshiach.

Now never mind how Rabbi Teichtel decided he can judge the world and decide whether they deserve Moshiach or not; never mind that he has not one Halachic shred of evidence to back up this position of his; but to say that the Minchas Elozor naively looked at the whole world as much more righteous than they actually are, as deserving of redemption when in fact they don’t deserve it, is beyond ludicrous. It’s downright absurd, and for anyone who knows anything about the Minchas Elozor, totally dishonest. If there was one person in the past hundred years who we would say is not guilty of over rating the world, it could very well be the Minchas Elozor. If he’s not first on the list, he’s second.

And to attribute such an attitude to him of all people, is nothing less than the stuff of la la land.

And that’s besides the arrogance of saying that he is more able to discern how deserving Klall Yisroel is of greeting Moshiach than the Minchas Elozor.

This is a Halachic treatise? Nope. Sorry.

It would have been one thing if they would have left it as a sermon or a drush, but because the Zionists don’t really have any serious Halachic backing, they took this sefer and made it something of an icon. It’s a big pity.

By the way, Rabbi Teichtel’s sefer comes without any Haskomos (approbations) from anybody. But he did want Haskomos, so what he did was, he took Haskomos out of another sefer, and printed them in his sefer, saying that the Haskomos would certainly apply to his sefer too, since the 2 seforim generally say the same things. But none of the Rabbis of his time – not a single one – wrote him a haskama.

Another note: Aim HaBanim Semeichah speaks basically about building the land. The topic of creating a sovereign state – which was the major objection to Zionism – is almost completely ignored. Perhaps this is what the Lubavitcher Rebbe meant (told supposedly to the author's son, quoted in the introduction, p. 21 ) when he told the son of author to “publicize that your father was a G-d fearing Jew who was far away from Zionism.”

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Of course, unlike the Italians or the Spanish, Jews are a nation not because of common language but because of a common Torah. But these people who invented “Modern Hebrew” didn’t believe in the Torah and they tried to re-structure out national identity by us having a language, a land, an army, etc.

Modern Hebrew does NOT help you separate yourself from the secular culture you are in since in Israel, where modern hebrew is spoken, it is the language of the secular culture there, complete with pornography, newspapers, and all secular societal elements. So if you want to separate yourself from secular society in Israel, modern hebrew will not work.

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Why is Zionism considered Apikorsus? Two reasons:
One, Zionism isn't only against the Oaths. As Rav Ahron Kotler said, it is Kefirah against our belief in Bias Hamoshiach; as the Brisker Rav said, when he was told that the Satmar Rebbe said the State of Israel's existence is against the Oaths:

"Against the Oaths? It is not only against the Oaths! It is against the entire Torah! It is against belief in Hashem's Hashgacha on Klall Yisroel, etc. etc."

The Satmar Rebbe, for the record, also agreed that the State of Israel is not only against the Oaths. He writes that the Oaths are an added punishment for the Kefirah of believing or acting against the belief of Bias Hamashiach.

Second: Zionism is not the result of a misreading of the Gemora. Misreading the Gemora is the result of Zionism. As the Chazon Ish said, Zionists know deep down that Zionism is wrong (as the Gemora implies about the Tzedukim) - its just a cover for following thre Yetzer Horah (see the "Arguing with zionists" thread, where the Chazon Ish is quoted in full).

And this is because, as I demonstrated elsewhere in these forums, Zionism is so black and white against the Torah, that only an agenda and preconceived conclusions can cause one to believe in it. It's not a wrong pshat - it's the projection of a pre-determined anti-Torah idea onto the Gemora. Big difference.

Of course, as is the case with all mass Kefirah, the original "scholars" among them are the ones responsible. As the generations go by and the garbled teachings are passed on, sprinkled with false information, to younger generations as if it was real, they are less and less responsible, like Tinokos shenishbu.

It’s hard to determine the personal culpability a person has for his beliefs, since it depends on WHY he believes them. Much easier, however, to determine the status of the beliefs themselves. And here, it's very easy.

This is why Zionist rabbis such as Menachem Kasher, have to resort to open fabrications in order to convince people that Zionism makes sense. See the "Zionist Apologetics" thread where I relate how it was recently disclosed how R. Kasher doctored documents and then falsely claimed, based on his forgeries, that tons of Rabbonim signed a letter saying that the state of Israel is "aschalta D'geulah."

Rabbi Kasher, although not a big Lamdan, was a great baki, and no ignoramus. If someone of his stature had to resort to forgeries to convince people he was right, we can safely assume, there was no legitimate way for him to convince people.

Or take the Zionist Rosh Yeshiva, R. Shlomo Aviner, who wrote, regarding the Machlokes between the Rambam and Ramban, regarding whether the Mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisroel nowadays, where the Megilas Esther (a rishon) explains the Rambam's position that the Oaths would negate not only a mass taking over of EY but also the Mitzvah of the individual, that he wrote that since the Ramban was bigger than the Megilas Esther, we should therefore pasken like the Ramban here.

Rabbi Aviner, when dealing with topics not related to Zionism, does much better than this, sevara-wise. It boggles the mind that someone who gives shiurim to talmidim could possibly say something so absurd. It is to be understood only in view of the principle of shochad yaavir ainei pikchim. When someone has an agenda, when someone wants a certain Hashkafa to be true, when someone wants so badly to fit a square peg into a round hole, he will somehow imagine that he succeeded.

And so, as I said, Zionism is not the result of misreading the Torah; misreading the Torah is the result of Zionism.

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The issue of Zionism really is clear-cut simple. The case against is so black and white, and the case for, so impotent to the point of being impossible to take seriously, that there really does need an explanation as to how any intelligent person can believe in it. One such answer is that of the Brisker Rav, above, that sheer and utter stupidity does have the ability to putrefy one's intelligence. Here's another answer, courtesy of the Chazon Ish:

In the days of the Chazon Ish's father, there was a certain rabbi who became a Zionist, and was planning on going to the Zionist Congress. When the Chazon Ish's father, who was the rav of the town, heard about this, he told this rabbi not to go, and he even made him swear an oath that he would not go to the Zionist Congress. Eventually the Zionist rabbi realized his mistake and he gave up Zionism and became a Yorei Shamayim.

They asked the Chazon Ish why such a person would honor his oath not to participate in Zionist undertakings - since, according to him, he believes that participating in the Zionist congress is a Mitzvah for the sake of Yishuv Eretz Yisroel, and so taking an oath that prevents him form participating would constitute an oath to prevent himself from doing a Miztvah, which is invalid?

The Chazon Ish answered, the Mishna says (Yoma 1:5) that they made the Koehn Gadol swear that he would not follow the Tzedukim. The Pri Chadash asks why would such an oath mean anything - if the man is a Tzeduki, he holds their ways are a Mitzvah, and the oath would be invalid since it would prevent him from doing a Mitzvah.

The answer, said the Chazon Ish, is that the sinner, i.e. the tzeduki, is not a man with an opinion that tzadukiism is correct. Rather, he is simply following his Yetzer Horah to do bad, but deep down, he knows he's wrong. Therefo`re, making an oath will stop him.

So too with the Zionists, said the Chazon Ish - even though the Yetzer Horah seduces them by telling him it is connected to the Mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisroel, and other nice words, but in the depths of their hearts, they know the truth, that Zionism is Kefirah and meenus and it is a deviation from the Torah's way, and they know that such an oath (against Zionism) is not against the Torah, but rather a real legitimate oath. (Orchos Rabeinu vol.4 p.189)

SO in other words, Zionism is not really an intellectual position, but rather an intellectual rationalization for being a Zionist. It's the Yetzer Horah fooling a person, and deep down he knows its nonsense, but the taavah and yetzer have the ability to cloud a person’s judgment - at least on the surface.

Of course, the taavah for Zionism is nationalism - everybody wants to be "a people" with their own country and their own identity, and also, as the ZIonists themselves said, Zionism allows the "normalization" of the Jewish nation - we're no different than the Spanish, Italians and Greeks - now we're "normal" because we aren’t wandering like gypsies all over the world in ghettos and things like that. (afra l'pumaihu!)

It is this taavah that causes a person to rationalize. But deep down he knows that Zionism makes no sense.

It's like the posuk says - shochad yaavir ainei pikchim - bribery blinds the eyes of the wise. And, adds the Mesilas Yeshorim, the greatest bribery is the pull of the Yetzer Horah.

So it's not question anymore how wise men can be Zionists. Even though objectively, it makes no sense, but Zionism is not an objective position - it's the result of giving in to the temptation of the Yetzer, of taking bribery, which, as the posuk says, blinds the eyes of even the wise.

Rav Chaim ZTL was accustomed not to pasken shailos. He left that to the Dayan of Brisk. Of course, Rav Chaim was more than qualified, but he had his reasons.

One day, some ignorant fellow came up to Rav Chaim, who was vehemently anti-Zionist, and complained.

"Why is it," he said, "that you who refuse even to pasken simple shailos of basar bechalav, feel comfortable paskening such complex shailos like this one (i.e. about Zionism), which is so complex, so many people are so confused about it?!"

"On the contrary" said Rav Chaim, "if you see that even I, who would not pasken a shailah about basar bechalav, and paskening against Zionism, you see that it is even a simpler shailah than one about basar b'cholov!"

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