Zionism, Apikorsos?

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    I never understood one thing about the Satmar shita.let’s say that Zionism is wrong and assur, but why is it Apikorsos


    The Satmar rebbe felt that the gemora and medrash say that the jewish nation made 3 oaths after the beis hamikdosh was destroyed. one ws that there wouldnt be a medina in eretz yisroel. the problem was that the early zionists were actually apikorsim, like hertzl. they were purely cultural nationalists. that’s why the european gedolim instituted an agudas yisroel. to work on behalf of frum jws and to counteract seculr zionism.


    It would only be apikorses if you believe it is a mitzvah to establish a secular Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael. If one supports zionism because you believe it offers secular political, social and economic advantages, but do not hold it is a halachic requirement to establish the state, I don’t think even Satmar would consider you an apikores (a fool, perhaps, but not a heretic).


    The problem with the Satmar Rebbe’s postion was he felt a jew should not leave Europe, however the war changed that reality and the jews who were left could not stay in Europe anymore.

    He also banned going to the USA and of course he changed his position

    Avi K

    Prof, the Gemara does say that but we do not pasken it. In any case, according to the position of the gedolim you cited only secular Zionism would be apikorsut. The question is what they would think of frum Jews who prevented Israel’s establishment as a Torah state by not coming when they could.

    Akuperma, if one holds that it is an aveira to establish a Jewish state in EY someone who supports Zionism because of various advantages is a mumar l’teiavon. According to your definition of apikorsut If you hold that it is a mitzva anti-Zionism is apikorsut. Of course, one could simply say that it is a legitimate machloket and neither are apikorsim.


    It absolutely sickens me to see the reaction to Zionism and the labels of goyim, apikorsim, “chardak”, etc being applied to righteous Jews, just because they act or believe a certain way that doesn’t fit [name your sect] narrative. As if all the other Mitzvos are worthless, and the most important thing is this oath in a Medrash mentioned by the Gemara.

    How people can base their entire existence (at least to outsiders, it seems that this is a very serious part of their culture and hashkafa) on this one Ma’amar in the Gemara is beyond me. What’s worse, is that it’s used as an excuse to rob, trespass, embarrass, defame, physically injure, etc – violating explicit halachos, many of which are clearly mentioned in the Torah.

    If someone doesn’t eat kosher, does that give us a right to publicly embarrass them anytime we see them? If yes, why not publicly shame child molesters too? If not, why is this Chazal more important than the entire written and oral Torah? Especially, when it’s clear to all they must have erred in their interpretation of said Chazal.

    Something is off…


    The primary axiom of the original secular zionist movement was that no longer was fealty to Torah and mitzvos a requirement for being part of the Jewish people. So, in the beginning, they promulgated the idea that “redeeming the land” — i.e., moving to E.Y., draining the swamps (which admittedly were quite numerous 120 years ago) and “settling the land” were enough to be considered “a good Jew.” Torah was for the golus; in the redeemed land, it was no longer necessary to obey the Torah, r”l. This is surely ????? ?”?.

    In the past, all the various movements that were disloyal to the Chachmei HaTorah ended up breaking away from our people (e.g., Tzdukim, Karaim, followers of Shabtai Tzvi, among others) and went lost. The zionist atheists, however, have usurped (well, tried to usurp) the definition of a Jew. As a result, they are somewhat “stuck” to the body of the Jewish people. Incidentally, this is congruent with the Vilna Gaon’s description (in Even Shleimah) of the “erev rav” at the Ikvesa De’Meshicha, where he writes that this erev rav (he writes that there are different types of erev rav) will ‘stick’ to Klal Yisroel like the bran sticks to the wheat, and it will require a “great shaking” to separate them — the chaff — from the Jewish people — the wheat.

    Nowadays, most secular Israelis chuckle at this “old time zionism” which has almost completely fallen into disuse, if not into disrepute. Most seculars in Israel today are just continuing as they were raised, were taught in school, and continue to be brainwashed by the rabid anti-Torah media. We ought to work hard toward spreading the light of Torah to them to save them from oblivion. ??? ?? ??? ????

    Avi K

    AY, in “Aderet Eliahu” the Gra says that these types are:

    1- Those that create strife and talk Lashon haRa

    2- Those who pursue their desires

    3- The swindlers who pretend to be Tzaddikim but their hearts are not straight.

    4- Those who pursue honor and build great synagogues to make a name for


    5- Those who pursue money and strife

    He also says that the sin of the spies will attach itself to many who hold on to the Torah.


    Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro has a good discussion of the so-called ‘Satmar shitta’ on frumteens.

    However, it is not really the Satmar shitta; it is the shitta of all real gedolei yisroel, from the Chofetz Chaim to Reb Elchonon to Rav Schach to the Rebbe Rashab…. that Zionism is against the Torah.

    Avi K

    Mik, you are forgetting that there is also religious Zionism. Even secular Zionists, as Rav Kook (who was a gadol) pointed out, were Hashem’s tools. If you want more gedolim in favor of Zionism how about the Netziv, Rav Shlomo HaCohen of Vilna (who greeting Herzl with a sefer Torah in his arms) and Rav Meir Simcha (who personally contributed to the JNF). As for the Chofetz Chaim, he was not anti-Zionist. In fact, he had planned to make aliya to Petach Tikva (which was founded a a Zionist settlement)but for some reason could not. He was only opposed to anti-religious sentiments among some Zionists.

    In any case, the State of Israel is a fact. The only question is whether we are going to do our part to advance the Geula and bury our heads in the sand or worse support the enemies of Am Yisrael as do certain apikorsim.


    The Chofetz Chaim said that Zionism is apikorsus.


    Actually the anti-zionism comes from the Muncatcher Rebbe. His son actually left Muncatch after the war because he felt zionism was the only answer after the war.

    It is foolish to quote Rav Elchanon Wasserman. While its true before the war he was against Zionism, and he was against going to the US as well, we do not know what he would have said in 1945 had he lived and staying in Europe was not a possibility anymore


    Mik5- I am well aware of what Rabbi Shapiro says…And it is clearly not true. There were clearly differences of opinions among Gedolei Yisroel in response to zionism.

    catch yourself

    Mik5 –

    For the record, I am a black hat Lakewood alumnus. I strive to align myself with many of what you would label “real Gedolei Yisrael” (and some whom you actually did).

    Nevertheless, I must protest your appropriation of that title exclusively for those who fit your definition. The idea, for example, that Rav Kook was not a “real Gadol Yisrael” is both laughable and reprehensible.

    It is terribly unfortunate that we have sunk to the level of denigrating and invalidating those with whom we disagree. This is not the Derech HaTorah.



    I think you are thinking of his son-in-law (I don’t believe he had any sons). The son-in-law became Rebbe in the late 30s, but during the War many of the Chasidim turned their backs on him when he started advocating that everyone leave Hungary and get to Eretz Yisrael (or the US). The Rebbetzin of the Minchas Elazar disagreed with this and many of the chassidim followed her. The son-in-law then obtained visas escaped with his family leaving the large bulk of his chasidim behind. After the war he stepped down from position as Munkatcher Rebbe but eventually one of his sons took back up the mantle.


    I had always assumed that when Satmar talks about “zionist apikursos” they were referring to secular zionism, which is by definition apikursos.

    Then again, I do not claim to know the Satmar shittah very well.


    I’ve read that it is apikorsus (and worse) many times here on the CR.

    Little Froggie

    “It is foolish to quote Rav Elchanon Wasserman….”

    Mind you, please, a bit of respect for this giant of a man, a Malach Elokim who so openly had Ruach Hakodesh..

    Not getting into the issue at hand, (how I wish I had the time I used to… the place here would ROCK, SHAKE & QUAKE!!) he knew what he was talking about.. he had open Nevuah.. it’s not a secret.

    How foolish it is to say (and, mind you, keep harping on the same foolishness, over and over again), that after the war EVERYTHING changed, real Chachamim, Geonim, Tzaddikim lost their sechel, only to be found by the modern… (will leave it at that). The ??? ???? ?? ?????? is going to evaluate which Rabbi “was proven wrong”, which Rabbi “probably would have changed his mind” etc…

    Avi K

    Froggie, he was a giant of a man but so was Rav Kook and he also had ruach hakodesh. However, even the nevi’im did not se clearly and the chozim even less so (see the Gra at the beginning of Sefer Yeshayahu). In their time it was a valid machloket as to the future of the Zionist enterprise. The British were in firm control of EY and much more inclined to support the Arabs. The Zionists had no country backing them. Even many politically influential Jews were anti-Zionist because they saw it as a threat to their status as British, Americans, French or (before the rise of Naziism) Germans. However, with 20-20 hindsight we see that Rav Kook was right.


    You obviously missed the point

    It has nothing to do with modern, things DID change after the war. Almost every gadol forbid leaving Europe for either the US or Palestine that is not an opinion. They all said one should stay in Europe. That is a fact.

    After the war it was impossible to stay in Europe, that is also a fact. Not being modern , It is a fact.

    Of the few Gedolim who survived the war including the Satmar Rav who clearly before the war forbid people to leave Europe, even he left forst to Palestine and then settled in the US, which he expressly forbid before.

    Of all the Rabbanim who survived the war, how many stayed in Europe after?

    Things did change, whether you want to admit it or not. The future of yiddishkeite no longer was in Europe, but in Palestine and the US.

    And finally let us not forget communism, most of the jews lived before the war in countries that would become communist and religion would become forbidden there. The jewish community did not get back the Building for Yeshiva Chamei Lublin which was finished in 1930 and closed in 1939 until I think 2004. And it is STILL not totally a yeshiva, its partially a hotel


    Avi K, trying to say the chofetz chaim, the moetzes, or any of the non-aguda gedolim we not anti-Zionist is rewriting history. Their position pre-war is a matter of plain historical record.

    Aguda’s position, and that of the gedolim of the prewar and post moetzes, as well as the gedolim of Degel (which includes gedolei bnei brak), and basically the entire Torah world except Satmar and Toldos AY/A and the Daati Leumi) was that the State should never have been established, but once it was established we have to work with them by voting, establishing political parties. Poloei Agudas Yisroel (???”? – originally the workers branch of aguda) was slightly more conciliatory, and eventually even had (has!) two kibbutzim — but the basic position remained the same.

    That every Torah yid has always wanted to settle in EY (whether controlled by Ottomans, British, or secular Jews) cannot be bought as proof to the state.

    Rav Kook is always trotted out as an example of a godol more or less supporting (Religious) Zionism, but actually he was about the only rov of that stature who did. the Satmar Rov Rav Yoelish was also indisputably a godol batorah but very few ascribe to his position on the State (much less what some in Satmar have turned it into).

    I have the greatest of respect for the daati leumi and their rabbonim, but it saddens me that many DL with excuse the grossest excesses of the state and throw chareidim under a bus because of the debate over the mitzvah of yeshivas eretz yisroel, when there is much more that unites us than divides us including 99% of Torah and mitzvos.

    Look around most Israeli cities and tell me – in your own layman’s opinion, whether you can truly claim the open peritzus, toevah, and entire secular nature (exemplified by much of the Army culture, for instance) is what rotzon hashem is r”l.


    Not getting into the issue at hand, (how I wish I had the time I used to… the place here would ROCK, SHAKE & QUAKE!!) he knew what he was talking about.. he had open Nevuah.. it’s not a secret

    JMO but it really does give lack of Kavod to the Rav to give him Nevuah. Rav Wasserman was one of the greatest gedolim of the previous generation. However to credit him with Nevuah, leaves him open. It leaves the question open, if he had Nevuah, why didnt he tell people to get away. It causes people to lose emunah chamachim. People will ask if he knew why didnt he tell people and there is no way out.

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    Look around most Israeli cities and tell me – in your own layman’s opinion, whether you can truly claim the open peritzus, toevah, and entire secular nature (exemplified by much of the Army culture, for instance) is what rotzon hashem is r”l.

    Definitely not the ratzon Hashem, so not what Rav Kook zt”l wanted or envisioned. Which is why, in hindsight, he clearly was wrong.


    People are willing to condem Rav Kook for not seeing that a real torah state does not currently exist in Israel, but how many are willing to condem those who said torah could not exist in the US or Israel? and their unwillingness to see that it could probably helped exaserbate the sitation today. had more yeshivas been built in NY before WW II, and even WW I the yiddishkeite situation would likely be differnet than it is today


    If Zionism is apikorsus, so is the doctrine of infallibility applied to our leadership that clearly comes from a tradition outside of ours.

    Our greatest exemplars, Moshe Rabeinu and Dovid Hamelech, for example, made mistakes, even transgressed, and we are mandated to learn from their example. It doesn’t take anything away from their greatness.

    Does it take anything away from the greatness of Rav Elchonon Wasserman to say that urging his followers to not go to the US or elsewhere if they could have escaped was a mistake? Absolutely not! He was a great bright flame burning brightly in a dark time and place. Saying that he, like others of his stature didn’t see the fullness of the coming tragedy takes nothing away from his lofty stature.

    I don’t understand why people feel threatened by considering the notion that great people they esteem and respect are or were capable of making mistakes or of not addressing a changed circumstance with the keenness they displayed in almost every other circumstance. Each of us makes mistakes, transgresses, tries to overcome, and sometimes succeeds. I know I try and sometimes I succeed, sometimes not. We are all created from the same Tzelem Elokim. How could we really take these wonderful leaders as role models and exemplars if we didn’t regard them as human and fallible?


    I supplied a copy and paste from the seforim of one of the gedolei yisroel zt’l harshly criticizing R. Kook and enumerating how he was wrong, but for their own reasons (too long?) the powers that be here saw it as unfit for print.


    No one has had nevuah for 2400 years.


    Do you follow the other things that Rav Kook said, like women not being allowed to vote?

    Rav Kook died more than a decade before the State of Israel was even founded. By the way, it is well known how the Chofetz Chaim referred to Rav Kook, and there are witnesses to this fact. Refer to Rabbi Shapiro’s Web site. It is most enlightening.

    Included in the list of gedolim who were against Zionism are the Brisker Rav and the Chazon Ish. And Rav Miller. And the Satmar Rebbe, of course.

    The Zionists know better than these gedolim? I don’t think so.


    yichusdik: We know that Moshe Rabbeinu and Dovid Hamelech sinned because *the Torah says so.* Not because someone figured it out or made some arbitrary statement about them. The issue of “infallibility” is simply that some people consider certain Gedolim’s opinions to be authoritative and binding. And that there is no one around today with enough cred or “plaitzes” to argue with them. Just as an example, but not meaning to exclude others, the Chofetz Chaim and the Chazon Ish come to mind. Is some fellow who learned 3-4 years in kollel in a position to argue with them either in halacha or in hashkafa? Is someone who learned 10 years in kollel in such a position? Only someone on their level is a bar plugta. So, indeed Rav Elyashiv DID argue in psak on both the Mishna Berura and the Chazon Ish. Some Chazon Ish-niks in Bnei Brak disregard any such hasagos on the Chazon Ish, claiming that he was not in a position to argue on the Chazon Ish. Rav Chaim Kanievsky does not follow every single psak of his late father-in-law! But, this is all a machlokes among gedolim and tzadikkim. Less-qualified people, even if they have semicha, for sure have no business arguing with those greater than them either in halacha or in hashkafa. The matter becomes complicated when we have a situation where I consider Rav A more qualified than Rav B whereas someone else considers the opposite to be true. It’s often nearly impossible to reconcile such disputes (“my rabbi is bigger than your rabbi”) and we just have to let people act according to their understanding. This situation is the cause of friction and dispute between religious Jews. I think that only Moshiach will have the authority to resolve such problems.

    Avi K

    Joseph, if the CC said that he was referring to the anti-religious stream. In fact, when a speaker at the first Aguda convention disparaged Rav Kook he walked out in protest. As for gedolim criticizing Rav Kook (@Mlk), what else is new? THe Raavad sharply criticized Rambam and Rambam sharply criticized Rashi (without naming him) for his statement regarding the geniza of Sefer Refuaot. The Maharshal also sharply criticized gedolim. See Chavat Yair Responsa 152 regarding this tendency.


    1. When Rav Kook made that statement women’s suffrage was very rare. Rav Kook’s points were that he considered it immodest (see Levush, Likutei Minhagim 36 that this is relative to the time and place) and would disrupt shelom bayit (apparently the voting in question was not by secret ballot).

    2. I do not know who this Rabbi Shapiro is. If you are talking about the “Kook shmook” libel, I asked an acquaintance of mine who is a talmid of Rav Gorelik. He said that he never heard him say it iand does not believe that he ever said it. It is also inconceivable that the CC, who literally wrote the book, would accept derogatory information and make a comment to others on the basis of a newspaper article. The only possibility is that the CC was dismissing the article. See what his son-in-law Rav Aharon HaKohen had to say (available on-line).

    3. What about all the gedolim who supported it? The Netziv, Rav Meir Simcha, Rav Shlomo HaCohen of Vilna, Rav Soloveichik, Rav Shlomo Zalman (BTW, as a bachur he was a regular at Rav Kook’s seuda shelisheet and RK was his mesader kiddushin – Rav Elaishiv said that Rav Kook was a gaon olam and when someone brought the chief editor of the Encyclopedia Talmudit to a din Torah for firing him after he excluded RK from an article RE said that he too would have fired him), etc. In any case, I have already pointed out that we now know that Rav Kook was right. If you cannot be of help in making things better at least stay out of the way.


    “I don’t understand why people feel threatened by considering the notion that great people they esteem and respect are or were capable of making mistakes or of not addressing a changed circumstance with the keenness they displayed in almost every other circumstance. “

    A gadol has a certain siyata dishmaya when he gives psak, and sometimes, ruach hakodesh (there hasn’t been nevua in a long, long time), which stems both from his immersion in Torah and from the fact that the klal relies on him. And there were gedolim who talked about the tragedy to come in Europe (I believe the Chofetz Chaim was one). But perhaps Hashem removed the siyata dishmaya from most of the gedolim when it came to this issue, because that was the desired outcome? Case in point- Hashem withheld nevua from Yaakov Avinu so that he would not know that Yosef was alive in Mitzrayim. History may have been very different had he known that- but the point is that Hashem wanted the shevatim to go down to mitzrayim, and for there to be a shibud of 210 years, and He orchestrated events so that it would happen that way.


    AY, I believe that there is a difference between stating a halachic argument on a halachic matter in dispute – where being a bar plugta is integral to the halachic process, as compared to objective recognition that advocating for people not to do what is necessary to save their families potentially contributed or led to their deaths are two different things. One speaks to halachic competence, and the other speaks to imperative influence.

    I do not think one must be a bar plugta to recognize objective facts. And I do not think that recognition of objective facts disrespects or denigrates that Godol.

    If a “godol” (or anyone else) were to advocate today that the sun revolved around the earth, Anyone with 11th grade physics could demonstrate the impossibility of that and hence have the “plaitzes” to disagree. On the other hand, making a halachic determination of significance and complexity isn’t something just anyone can figure out or even be taught – it demands years of experience and application as well as knowledge. And assuming that one has taken on that Gadol or Posek as their halachic determinant, arguing against them could be presumptuous, even if it isn’t quite disrespectful.

    And I have to admit I’ve crossed that line myself. Though I don’t feel questioning the action or inaction or lack of communication of reasoning of a manhig ventures into the halachic realm, I could be wrong, and I’ve done my best to tone that down, though I won’t stop advocating for clarity, transparency, responsibility and no double standards. If I have argued halachic decisions and not brought support from a bar plugta, that’s also wrong.

    Nothing I or anyone else does appropriately or inappropriately takes away from the fact that even the greatest gedolim are like us created betzelem elokim and are thank G-d human and fallible exemplars for us.


    The original chief editor of the Encyclopedia Talmudis was Rav Shlomo Yosef Zevin, a goan olam and a gadol in his own right. He was also a zionist (to some extent). Maybe that story happened with Rav Zevin’s replacement.

    Reb Reuven Margolios, the Margolios HaYam, was another gadol that was a zionist.


    Yes, Rabbi Zevin was a talmid chacham. But he was not on the level of the Chazon Ish, the Chofetz Chaim, Brisker Rav, or Rav Schach.

    When we have different rabbis with different opinions, we should follow the ones who are bigger gedolim.

    By the way, saying that someone is a talmid chacham doesn’t mean anything. A talmid chacham can be an apikores, too.


    The matter becomes complicated when we have a situation where I consider Rav A more qualified than Rav B whereas someone else considers the opposite to be true. It’s often nearly impossible to reconcile such disputes (“my rabbi is bigger than your rabbi”) and we just have to let people act according to their understanding.

    Obviously, it is possible to tell who is a bigger gadol! Do you know who is bigger: Rav Moshe Feinstein z”l, or your next-door neighbor? The Chazon Ish, or a local Orthodox rabbi? If a newspaper proclaims someone to be a gadol, and Rav Schach said he was an apikores (for example), hmmm… I don’t know. Maybe the newspaper is right and Rav Schach is wrong? What do you think?



    I don’t think I am in position to say whether or not Rabbi Zevin was a bigger talmid chacham or tzadik than Rav Shach. (The relevance of being a bigger talmid chacham is because one of the factors in being machria among opinions is gadol b’chochma).

    Obviously, in many cases the issue is clear (next-door neighbor compared to Reb Moshe), but when you are dealing among world-class talmidei chachamim and tzadikim it isn’t clear at all. Can you judge who was greater posek between Reb Moshe and the Tzitz Eliezer? Who was a bigger talmud chacham between Rav Zevin and Rav Schach? Who was a bigger tzaddik, the Chofetz Chaim or Rabbi Aryeh Levine? I can’t.


    benignuman, yes, I could answer those three questions. We can compare “levels” – in fact, we need to in order to judge who is an authority in the first place! If you can’t comapre levels then how are you to know that someone is a godol? The fact that he is “accepted” as a godol only means that many people have judged his “level” to be that of a godol. But if you cannot compare levels, then these people have no right to accept him as a godol in the first place. And the same common sense that tells you so-and-so stands out among his peers making him an authority, tells you that certain so-and-so’s stand out even more. Or less.

    Part of knowing who to follow is to know who is greater. Godol mimenu b’chochma ubaminyan is an assessment that it legitimately made. And as Rav Shach writes – if you dont know who to follow, follow whoever is greater – and, he adds, you can of course tell who is greater. If you yourself dont know, then thats fine – not everyone can know the answer to all questions they encounter – but why in the world would you say nobody else can know? And it’s an error in logic, too, because they themselves compared “levels” of other people! i.e.: “Rav Ovadia Yosef shlita is the leading Sefardi posek of our times.” And how would they know this if you cannot compare him to other sefardi poskim?

    And how can one know whether “any of us are on the madreiga of assessing the ‘levels’ of other people” unless you assessed the levels of all those other people who said arent “on the “madgreigah” to do that? If i were to ask you who is greater – Rav Ovadiah or Rabi Avika — would you say you cannot compare people? Rav Ovadiah or the Rambam? Avraham Avinu? So clearly, we can compare “levels”, its just that to some, certain comparisons are “obvious” and others are not. Well, to other people, perhaps who are more knowledgable and skilled in assessing these kinds of values, other comparisons are also obvious.


    In general, I avoid commenting on these matters- too many established opinions but I want to point out that Mik5 is buying into propaganda, hook ,line and sinker. To echo benignuman , there is absolutely no indication that the gedolim who supported Zionism-going back to the mid-nineteenth century!- are in any way less of an authority than their opposite numbers. Just because the gedolei yisroel that mik5 follows are of a different opinion does not make them right. If anything, the events of the Holocaust and the establishment of Medinat Yisroel proves that the Zionist gedolim were on the right track.


    There are no gedolim who supported Zionism l’chatchila, because Zionism is against the Torah and Talmud which tell us that we are not allowed to have a Jewish State when we are in golus.

    The NK went to protest that by the Ponovitch yeshiva, there was a Zionist flag. Said Rav Kahaneman, if they wouldn’t come to protest, I would pay them to come, so that the velt will know that what I am doing [putting up the flag] is not l’chatchila, but it’s just to make the government happy.

    Does that mean that Rav Kahaneman “supported” Zionism?

    I know, I know. You and your “gedolim” obviously know better than the Chazon Ish, the Brisker Rav, Rav Schach, and the Chofetz Chaim (whose Mishna Berura you probably follow, as do your “gedolim”).


    Avi K – I’m sorry to say, but your statements may not be 100% accurate. Below are quotes from Wiki. The lack of respect in the quotes (such as referring to HaRav Kook, z”l as “Kook”) is not mine. I would never do that. Italics are my thoughts (if it shows. Otherwise, in []).

    While Rabbi Kook is exalted as one of the most important thinkers in mainstream Religious Zionism, there are several prominent quotes in which Rav Kook is quite critical of the more modern-orthodox Religious Zionists (Mizrachi), whom he saw in some ways as naive and perhaps hypocritical in attempting to synthesize traditional Judaism with a modern and largely secular ideology.

    His sympathy for them (secular Zionists) as fellow Jews and desire for Jewish unity should not be misinterpreted as any inherent endorsement of all their ideas.

    It would not be incorrect to characterize Kook as being a Zionist, if one defines a Zionist as one who believes in the re-establishment of the Jewish people as a nation in their ancestral homeland. Unlike other Zionist leaders, however, Kook’s motivations were purely based on Jewish law and Biblical prophecy.

    Theodor Herzl Eulogy: “Of course, I spoke pleasantly and politely, but I did reveal the fundamental failure of their entire enterprise, namely the fact that they do not place at the top of their list of priorities the sanctity of God and His great name, which is the power that enables Israel to survive…In my remarks, I offered no homage to Dr. Herzl per se.”

    [In my humble opinion the Religious Zionism that HaRav Kook, z”l had in mind is not the Religious Zionism of today. I’m not so sure he would support the views held today by Religious Zionists.]

    [The question is why? Perhaps he realized that their vision was not in line with Torah.]

    The Mizrachi organization was established in 1902 in Vilna at a world conference of religious Zionists. It operates a youth movement, Bnei Akiva, which was founded in 1929. Mizrachi believes that the Torah should be at the centre of Zionism, a sentiment expressed in the Mizrachi Zionist slogan Am Yisrael B’Eretz Yisrael al pi Torat Yisrael (“The land of Israel for the people of Israel according to the Torah of Israel”).

    [The movement that HaRav HaKohen supported was one in which Torah ranked supreme. I highly doubt he would support a Zionism that is the antithesis of Torah. It’s possible that he would have argued Rav Kook as well. We can only speculate.]

    [2][3] although he has been reported as welcoming the Balfour Declaration.

    Rabbi Meir Simcha ha-Cohen of Dvinsk declared that ‘the Zionist vision is driving Israel to destruction, Heaven forbid’.

    [Maybe you’re mixing him up with another Gadol with a similar name?! Perhaps you meant HaRav Simcha Kook, shlita from Rehovot. The only problem is that his Yeshiva is Hareidi and don’t go to the army, so I doubt he’s a Zionist.]

    [5] and declared its political aims as being contrary to the Torah.[6][7][8][9]

    He nevertheless cherished the Holy Land and in 1925 it was announced that he would be leaving Warsaw with his daughter and son-in-law to permanently settle inPetach Tikvah, Palestine.

    [Love of Kedushas Eretz Yisrael and Yishuv Eretz Yisrael is not dependent on love of the Neo-Zionist movement. I am an Anti-Zionist. Regardless, I guarantee you that almost none of you readers (even those living in Eretz Yisrael) have the hanhagas that I am noheg that are based on my deep love of Kedushas Eretz HaKodesh. The Chofetz Chaim’s yearning for Yishuv Eretz Yisrael had nothing to do with Zionism! It has to do with Judaism! As stated above, he told his talmidim to stay away from the Zionists.]


    MOSHE S – Defining the word Apikores (Wiki).

    Heresy in Orthodox Judaism (Hebrew: ??????????? kefira) is principally defined as departure from the traditional Jewish principles of faith. Mainstream Orthodox Judaism holds that rejection of the simple meaning of Maimonides’ 13 principles of Jewish faith involves heresy…

    An alternative term, ???????? (Apiqoros/Apikoros), which may have a different status,[2] and is often used for apostates who turned towards agnosticism or atheism, is derived from Epicurus and the philosophy of Epicureanism.

    I don’t know for sure, but I assume that the Satmar Rav, z”l was referring to the Secular Zionist when/if he used the term Apikores or Apikorses. The Secular Zionist are clearly in either of these two categories, Agnostics or Atheists. Anybody that believes in the Torah at best would have to follow “Religious Zionism”, not Secular Zionism. That’s in theory. The problem is that Religious Zionism is not divorced from Secular Zionism and thus many treif concepts of the Secularists have crept in to Religious Zionism. Perforce many of us have to unfortunately declare today’s Religious Zionism as Pasul.



    I did not mean that nobody can judge among gedolim, but rather when dealing with the very great, for most people, most of the time, it is impossible to tell who is greater. If I spent years with the Chofetz Chaim and then years with Rabbi Aryeh Levine, then even I might be able to make a judgment on who is the bigger tzaddik, but practically speaking that isn’t possible.

    There is also a difference between quantifiable statements of practical worldy impact and qualitative statements of people’s greatness. We can say that Rav Ovadiah was the leading Sefardi posek of his times because practically speaking his piskei halacha were more wildely followed than anyone elses were. Similarly, we can that Reb Moshe was the leading posek in America in the 20th Century. But that doesn’t mean that Reb Moshe is qualitatively greater posek than Reb Yaakov Kaminetsky or Rav Henkin and certainly not that he greater overall. I am not qualified to judge between Reb Yaakov, Reb Moshe, and Rav Henkin. There are those that might be qualified, but they will be very few and far between.

    With regard to comparing Acharonim with Rishonim and Rishonim with Tannaim or Amoraim: it isn’t that I have a way of personally being able to judge between the Rambam and Rabbi Akiva. It is that the Rambam himself, and all other Rishonim, did not believe themselves to be capable of arguing with Rabbi Akiva (unless they had another Tanna to support them).


    Mik5: As I said, you buy the propaganda hook line and sinker. There is absolutely NOTHING in the Torah or the Talmud (gemoro to me) that says that you cannot have a Jewish state- as you glibly declare. If anything, from the Rambam one can deduce that there IS an imperative to have a Jewish state.


    softwords: Pray tell me which which “treif concepts from secular Zionism” have crept into Religious Zionism? And, pray tell me, do you think that every other Jewish stream is pure as the driven snow, without any input from other sources (the apparent infallibility of Rabbonim for one)??


    rabbiofberlin – sorry, but even before I clicked “Send Post” I already anticipated your question and decide I’m not going to go there. Sorry to disappoint. You’ll have to figure it out yourself.


    As far as your, “the apparent infallibility of Rabbonim for one”, that is a machlokes Rishonim. I’m sure, your being a “Rabbi”, you know that already.


    BTW – my intention was not to downcast religious Zionists as you apparently assumed, but rather to state that if not for their attaching their belief system to a Secular State, Religious Zionism could have had legitimacy liken to many of the early religious Zionists. Perhaps even I would have conformed to the idealism if that were the case. If you notice, the Gedolim I quoted above were down casting Herzl’s Zionism as Anti-Torah and treif. I don’t know what they would have said about Rav Kook’s vision of Zionism.

    One thing to keep in mind is that even Rav Kook’s greatest opponents (such as Rav Chaim Yosef Zonenfeld, z”l) had tremendous admiration for him. They just differed with him on how to handle the situation of the time. They felt we needed to distant ourselves from the Secular Zionists and he felt we need to embrace them and in time they would turn back to Torah Judaism and Moshiach will then come. He also felt Yishuv E”Y would bring Moshiach. Others argued. This is a Machlokes Gedolim. Arguing who’s right is liken to deciding which Tanna or Amorah is right. That’s not for us to decide. Rather, our job is to decide which Gadol we want to follow. You Rav Kook, others other Gedolim.

    As far as modern day religious zionism? Unfortunately, in my opinion, Religious Zionism of today is not the Religious Zionism that Rav Kook envisioned.


    There seems to be a point of view here that “people chose who is a gadol.” This is an error. When we wish to learn who is the best orthopedic surgeon (in say, the U.S. or in the world) do we ask the local taxi drivers? Or the butchers or grocery store owners? No, we ask the local orthopedic surgeons who among you is the best? The knowledgeable ones in the field know who among them is the biggest expert.

    It’s the same when determining who is the gadol hador (there can be more than one). The talmidei chachomim of the generation all know who among them is the biggest expert. These person(s) are the gedolei hador. Any other determination is a foolish waste of time.

    Furthermore, the RZ claim that “some gedolim support or supported zionism” is ludicrous, since until a few years ago, this movement denied the validity of the entire concept of a “gadol hador” who was a source of “da’as Torah.” Even nowadays, some RZ politicians openly declare that they do not and will not consult rabbonim (even “regular rabbis” who are not “gedolei hador”) in matters of “public conduct” (i.e., politics). So, to then turn around and claim, “well, we have OUR gedolim” so why don’t you (chareidim) abandon your sages and start following my sages?” is completely beyond comprehension.

    Avi K


    1. There are generally several orthopedic surgeons who are considered top level. I personally would not ask an OS because he would be hard put not to say himself. Similarly, there are a number of rabbis who are known to be top level. Moreover, it often happens that one is more knowledgeable in one field and another more knowledeable in another fiels. Thus, we generally (but not always) pasken like Rav regarding prohibitions and Shmuel regarding monetary matters.

    2. There is no one RZ movement but a number of movements that have support for the state in common. The fact of the matter is that all agreed on the concept of gedolei hador but they coalesced around different gedolim. The two main figures of the last century have been Rav Soloveichik and Rav Kook (and his son Rav Tzvi Yehuda who was his continuation). Even if some faction denied the concept that does not mean that it did not exist and that there were not those who supported Zionist goals even when they opposed some aspects. A tool does not have to recognize the existence of the artisan in order to be a tool.

    3. Regarding consulting rabbanim on political matters, the fact of the matter is that there have always been rabbanim in the various incarnations of the RZ political party. However, as Rav Chaim David HaLevi said, the Torah does not set forth which political or economic system should be adopted (in fact, the Netziv, in “HeEmek Devar” on the mitzva to appoint a king says that the people decide the former). it sets forth goals and parameters. The professionals in various fields then have to break their heads and figure out how best to attain those goals. To what may that be compared? A rav tells you if you can drive on Shabbat in a certain situation but he does not recommend which model car.

    4. The whole concept of daat Torah did not start until the advent of the Chassidic movement. It then trickled into the Yeshivish sector with a slight switch – instead of possessing supernatural powers the rav has superior wisdom. If the gedolei hador also had wide advanced secular knowledge that would be true but they do not and I doubt very much if that is humanly possible. In fact, neither Rav Kook nor Rav Soloveichik would make personal decisions for their talmidim. They would merely set forth the alternatives and their ramifications and leave the person with the responsibility for making a decision (much to the consternation of those who wanted someone else to blame for a mistake).


    What about the Chillul HaShem?

    When a British upper crust member of academia said years ago that their original support for the Jewish return to Zion was premised on their dream that through it would come about a new biblical covenant with the world,but instead all that we got was this … insipid secularist state.


    Rav Kook was the Shadchan of Rav Elyshiv. he was not a MO Rabbi. He was clearly charedi.


    Avi K – Your first response to AY surprised me. Your analogy makes no sense. Imagine your the Head of the Oncology Department of a top notch Hospital. You know that your going to retire in the near future. If you have any brains, care and concern for the hospital’s patients you’ll search and find the best candidate to replace you. That is what the Gedolim do in every generation.

    Even with your analogy, unless you assume OS are wicked they would not tell you to use them to perform a surgery that they know they are not experienced enough for and would refer you to an expert in that specific surgery.

    As far your last statement, can you clarify your definition of “Daas Torah”? I’m not understanding any of what you wrote because of a lack of definition.

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