Tuesday, April 24, 2012

If You Are A Zionist And You Know It...

         Kosher Zionism?!

Today's Zionism is not what it used to be. Today Zionism is Universal Judaism working towards a Jewish Redemption, either conciously or unconciously. The Vilna Gaon described a True Zionism in "Kol HaTor" - which he termed, "The Shulchan Aruch" of the Geulah. With the advent of technology, we can see the Jewish People in a new light, one that expresses the Jew in Golus was somewhat of a Divine Governing by Hashem. Zionism may have started off wrong and Impure, but like the mystery of the Parah Adumah, it has somehow become Tahor and a precursor to the Geulah - much like the Gra had told over to his Talmidim.


I am a Zionist on every level. This created a challenge for me when I studied in a haredi (ultra-Orthodox) yeshiva in Jerusalem where rabbis never mentioned Israel’s Memorial Day, Israel’s Independence Day, or Jerusalem Day. No prayers were said for the state or on behalf of the IDF soldiers. These omissions disturbed me but my arguments about the magnitude of our return to Israel and Jerusalem fell on deaf ears. Why? Because “the state is secular,” it is a non-kosher entity. Any official acknowledgement of its holidays and the recitation of special prayers associated with the state would be giving legitimacy to a body which was foreign to Torah and the values the yeshiva espoused. On that basis, my pleas were entirely ignored. This was unacceptable to me. While I needed no sources to validate what I knew to be right, since the primary message conveyed in a haredi yeshiva is that the Torah is the well spring for our ideologies and must serve as our guiding light through life, I decided to explore what Torah sources had to say about Zionism and the role which the State of Israel plays in our faith. Perhaps this could sway my mentors and friends. This search led to remarkable results. The most glaring sources relate to the flourishing of the fruits of Israel. The Bible relates in Leviticus 26:32 that while the Jews are in exile, Israel will remain desolate. The implication, taught outright by the 11th-century Spanish rabbi and philosopher Bahya ibn Paquda (Rabbeinu Bachya in his commentary to Genesis 17:8), is that the reversal of that desolation indicates the end of the exile. This sign is stated more clearly by the prophets. Ezekiel (chapter 36), Isaiah (chapter 51), and Amos (chapter 9) all describe the growth of trees and fruits in Israel as an indication of the arrival of the messianic age. In yeshiva, great weight is placed on talmudic teachings. Turning to the Talmud for clarification, I found that the most obvious sign of the redemption is that the fruits of Israel will grow once again (Tractate Sanhedrin 98a). The Talmud also teaches in Tractate Megilla (17b) that the final redemption begins with the in gathering of the exiles, followed by t e flourishing of the fruits of Israel, and concludes with the arrival of the Messiah and the rebuilding of the Temple. This idea was concretized by the revered Rabbi Akiva Eiger just 200 year s ago when he taught that if we succeed in growing fruit in Israel then t he final redemption is imminent (as related by his student, Rav Zvi Hirsch Kalischer, Shivat Zion, volume 2, pp. 51-52). No one can refute the reality that after thousands of years of desolation, Israel is now flourishing and producing fruits. Anyone who agrees with the most basic haredi tenet, that the words of the Bible, Prophets, Talmud and the great rabbis serve as the basis of our faith, must conclude that the flourishing of trees and fruits i n Israel indicate that we are experiencing a significant step toward redemption. Since the flourishing of the land was brought about by the Zionist movement and its drive to create the State of Israel, one cannot avoid the conclusion that Zionism and the state, at the very least, play important roles in the messianic process. But what about the claim that monumental steps towards the Messiah’s arrival cannot possibly be driven by secular leaders? This argument holds no weight. The Bible, especially in the book of Kings, reveals that God is willing to perform great miracles and brings salvation through individuals far more anti-religious than any of the state’s secular founders and leaders. King Ahab, who married a non-Jew, encouraged idol worship and stood silent while his wife killed prophet s was told by a prophet that he would lead troops to miraculous victory (see Kings I 20:13-14). Omri, identified as a greater sinner than all the wicked Jewish kings before him, (Kings I 16:25), merited a long-lasting dynasty because he added a city to the Land of Israel (Sanhedrin 102b) despite the fact that his intention in adding that city was to eliminate Jerusalem as the focus of the Jews! The secular leaders of the State of Israel most certainly have more noble intentions in building Israeli cities and, thus, can certainly merit playing a role in the redemption process. Kings I, Chapter 14 describes Yeravam as a terrible sinner who caused others to sin, as well. Despite his sins, he led the Jews to victory in restoring the borders of Israel. The Bible its elf explains that the time came for this “redemption” and God used whoever the leader was at the time, despite his being irreligious. Rabbi Yehuda Loew (the “Maharal of Prague” 1520-1609), teaches (Gevurot Hashem, chapter 18) that “ ...the Messianic King will establish a new kingdom, which will emerge from the first kingdom that will precede it. This is so because the holy kingdom of Israel, which has an inherent, divine status, sprouts from an unsanctified kingdom.” According to the Maharal, there actually must be a secular government as a precursor to the arrival of t he Messiah. This means that God specifically chose a government made up of secular leaders to pave the way for the final redemption! But what about the haredi principle of “da’at Torah” which means an obligation to heed the opinions of t he rabbis even if these go against what we understand to be correct? Doesn’t this concept mean that we cannot pray for a state and its soldiers or celebrate its existence if our great rabbis do not identify with its importance or see it as a cause for celebration? The following quotes from great haredi rabbis debunk this argument: Rabbi Zvi Pesach Frank, a judge on Rabbi Shmuel Salant’s rabbinic court and former chief rabbi of Jerusalem, referred to the creation of the State of Israel as “the beginning of redemption” (Kuntras Har Zvi in Drishat Tzion, p. 48). Rabbi Chatzkal Sarna, Rabbi Zalman Sorotzkin and Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach signed a document on 20 Tevet, 5709, (1949) than king God for granting them the privilege of witnessing “the first buds of t he beginning of the redemption through the establishment of the State of Israel” (referenced by Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef in Yabia Omer Orach Chayim 6:41). Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg taught that “the ingathering of the Exiles alone is the sign of the beginning of the final redemption” (Tzitz Eliezer 7:49). There really is no escaping it. Haredim, who accept the Bible, the Talmud, and the rabbis throughout the ages as conveying the word of God, should embrace Zionism and the State of Israel as positive developments and essential to the redemption process. I look forward to the day when all fellow haredim will open their eyes to see these clear sources and join to get her with the rest of Israel to pray for t he welfare of our soldiers (and even serve as soldiers, themselves!), mourn those who have been killed in the line of duty, and celebrate the great miracles of our independence and return to Jerusalem. The author is an ordained rabbi, author, educator and community activist in Beit Shemesh. He is the director of the English Speakers Division of the Am Shalem movement.

May the Exiles of Modern Zionism Realize The Messianic Dream, and be a part of Moshiach ben Yosef and take hold of the End of Days.

...They asked the Vilna Gaon: what is the Law if 600,000 souls could come to Israel at once: he said, "Bring them!"
-May Ben Gurion airport be filled this year!


Klishlishi said...

Most Haredi Jews do not hold by Chief Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook's (1865-1935) belief that the irreligious Zionists who built up the State of Israel, by virtue of their zeal and sacrifice for nationalistic goals, were actually unconscious agents of the Divine redemption.

Instead most Haredim hold to the thesis "On the Redemption and its Converse" (1967) of the Satmar Rebbe (Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum 1887-1979), that Zionism is literally demonic in origin (he actually names the demon responsible!), that Zionists violated the oath (Talmud Ketubot 111) that the Jews made to God that they would not force a precipitate pre-Messianic mass Aliyah to Israel, that they provoked the Holocaust by unnecessarily declaring war on Hitler, that they brought about the raising of generations of irreligious Jews, that leaders like Herzl and Ben Gurion were the heresiarchs of modern times, that they caused the expulsion of one million Jews from Arab lands where they had lived for 1000 years, and that they have caused endless wars, terrorism and embroilment in the foreign affairs of the nations.

Most Haredim believe that if the current State of Israel dismantled its statehood and renounced what they view as an overreaching human initiative in a Divine preserve, then the Messiah would appear who would rebuild it on sacred and theocratic rather than demonic and democratic foundations. This is the strongly held opinion of most Haredim, who are set to become the demographic majority of Jews in Israel by 2030.

The future is......BLACK!!!

avf said...

No, its only the belief of Satmar chasidim and the Eida Hachareidi. The rest of the Chasidim and the Litvish and Sefardi Hareidim have their own views.

Please ask someone who knows all the different Haredei groups and their beliefs before you make a comment about "All" the Hareidim.

Anonymous said...

I suggest you read Eim Habanim Smeicha..

Anonymous said...

"This is so because the holy kingdom of Israel, which has an inherent, divine status, sprouts from an unsanctified kingdom.”

This is how holiness comes about in many examples in our history: Ruth, Tamar and Yehuda. Out of impurity comes holiness. It makes perfect sense.

Jesterhead45 said...


If you are refering to the 3 oaths, than it could be argued that the only reason the current secular state of Israel came about was due to the nations imposing their yoke too heavily on the Jews thereby breaking the oath Hashem made with them not to oppress the Jewish people too much.

The following free ebook "Whatever Happened to the Aschalta Degeula" by Devorah Fastag has a section on the 3 oaths and an interesting look at the Redemptive process in general.


Anonymous said...

Klishlishi, I agree with you that most haredi Jews hold that.
Jesterhead45, Since when women started teach Torah to men. And is it allowed to read books that written by women? Looks like reforms where women thinks that they can teach Torah to men.

Klishlishi said...

The Kabbalists say that the Land of Israel was ONLY given in order that the Jews though Torah should cleanse it of the Seven Vices (viz. anger, greed, envy, indolence, pride, lust, and gluttony) which derived from the seven original Canaanite Nations. Traits which still soak the Land to this day, as any visitor from abroad cannot help but notice!

Unhelpfulness, stupidity, cruelly unyielding stubbornness, obtuseness, stonewalling, malice, incandescent vanity, impudence, indifference, inefficiency, incompetence, rudeness, laziness, negligence, unaccountability, twisted thinking, shallow and distorted thought processes, nepotism, sinecurism, sycophantism, cliquism, claquism, power-madness and arrogance are all endemic throughout much of Israeli bureaucracy, government, military, media and all sectors of society, including Haredi.

Anonymous said...

Don't hold back Klishlishi... tell us how you REALLY feel. Heh.

Anonymous said...

Hey Kli: you know you love a bit of claquism.

What the hell is claquism?

And as they say... the world is mirror.... all we see are reflections of ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Klishlishi is right, you people talk bad about others outside of EY but you don;t like when other "claquism" you.

Anonymous said...

Klishlishi is talking bad about Israelis, not about ''others outside of EY''. He's claquisming israelis - and saying that the Land has not changed their bad traits.

Klishlishi said...

"Stupidity in Israel reaches extraterrestrial proportions!" (Prof Paul Eidelberg).

"The air of the Land of Israel makes one clever" (Bava Basra 158) - "But remember that the Yetzer Hara of the Land of Israel is also made clever!" (Satmar Rebbe).

shimonmatisyahu said...

No doubt that the events building up Israel in modern times has played a big part in preparing Jews, the country, as well as the world for the Redemption,and the year 5708 (1948) was a time when Jews made Aliyah in groves. However, one thing that bothers me particularly is that just because Ben-Gurion, who was not only a secular Jew, but anti-Judaism, picked 5 Iyar as the date to declare Israel's Independence, calling for everyone (including Sabbath observant Jews) to come at 4:00 PM (before Daylight Savings was used), just a couple hours before Shabbat when people are busy getting ready for the Holy Day, doesn't mean that we have to celebrate this date in particular. Personally, I think that if we are to pick a particular date to thank Hashem for Israel, it should be 10 Nissan - the date that Joshua first led the Jews as a nation to the Land of Israel.

devorah said...

HI. I am Devorah Fastag, author of the ebook "Whatever Happened to the Aschalta Degeula", which I saw was mentioned in the comments on this post. Someone was surprised that a woman was teaching Torah to men, and thought this sounded like reform. I assure you that it is not at all reform. There is nothing in Torah that forbids women from teaching Torah to men, so long as it is done in a tzniusdige way, and many great women in the past (Bruriah, Yalta, the great granmother of the Ari z'll and many others) actually did this. I am Chareidi (very) and my book was was read by quite a number of very Chareidi gdolim, none of whom had a problem with it having been written by a woman.

So if anyone is not afraid to read a genuinely Chareidi, highly spiritual persepective on the State of Israel, try reading Whatever Happened to the Aschalta Degeula. It is a deep book which reveals both little known historical data as well as Kabbalah based secrets about the Zionism and the State of Israel.

devorah said...

Hi. I am Devorah Fastag. There is nothing "reform" about women teaching Torah to men so long as it is done in a tzniusdige way. I am chassidish, and many very Chareidi rabonnim, including gdolim, have read my book. None of them had a problem with it having been written by a woman.

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