HaRav Aviner Responds To Satmar Rebbe: The Admor who Sits in Bavel and Sees a Carcass in Eretz Yisrael


avinerIn the wake of our tremendous pain over the murder of the three innocent teens, a desire has arisen within the Nation to understand why this has happened. The Admor of Satmar, who dwells in the Exile, claims that it is a punishment for the teens learning in the “Settlements” and blames the parents for sending them to learn there.

We fear that assigning such blame may violate the prohibition of “Ona’at Devarim” (distressing others). As the Gemara in Baba Metzia (58b) says, one may not speak to one who is suffering affliction or illness, or whose children have died, the way Iyov’s friends spoke to him: “Surely your fear was your foolishness, your hope and the sincerity of your ways” (Iyov 4:6). And we can add that the Rishonim on this Gemara write that the problem is not only causing distress to another person but also arrogance in thinking that we can know the ways of Hashem.

This recalls the reciprocal placing of blame that occurred following the horrors of the Holocaust: Some said that it happened on account of Zionism, others said it was because there was not Zionism. Still others blamed it on the Enlightenment. Each group’s explanation came from its own biased outlook, with no regard for the idea: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways” (Yeshayahu 55:8).

As is known, the uncle of the Admor of Satmar, Ha-Rav Yoel Teitelbaum, wrote a book “Va-Yoel Moshe” which is based on the idea that the murder of the holy one during the Holocaust was because of Zionism and the Return to Tzion. But the great Rabbis of Israel have already answered that if the main transgression was Jews making Aliyah to Eretz Yisrael in an organized fashion, then the first Jews to make Aliyah should have been murdered. Yet those who came to Eretz Yisrael and “violated” the Three Oaths (according to the Satmar Rebbe’s opinion) were saved, and those who did not make Aliyah were the ones who were murdered! (See the book “Alo Naale” – Response to Va-Yoel Moshe #43). The number of Jews murdered in Auschwitz alone was, in fact, higher than that of all of the Jews murdered in all of the wars and terror attacks since the beginning of the Return to Tzion. Today – with the kindnesses of Hashem upon us – there are almost half a million Jews who live in Yesha. Therefore the Admor of Satmar’s claim is not valid.

Regarding the question itself, whether learning in Yesha is permissible: this was already asked of Ha-Rav Yitzchak Zilberstein, Rabbi of “Ramat Elchanan” (neighborhood in Bnei Brak). A student was learning in a Yeshiva in Yesha and his parents were opposed on account of the danger. Ha-Rav Zilberstein proves that “a frequent damage” (Pesachim 8b. See Mesilat Yesharim, end of Chapter 9) is five percent. Baruch Hashem, 5% of the residents in Yesha are not murdered! And Ha-Rav Yitzchak Isaac Herzog in Shut Heichal Yitzchak proved based on Shut Rabbi Akiva Eiger (#60) that a frequent danger is not five percent, but one in a thousand (Shut Ha-Rav Herzog Vol. 1, p. 269). Baruch Hashem, one in a thousand Jews is not murdered in Yesha. The basic halachah is therefore that there is nothing to fear. Obviously, nothing is 100% certain, but nowhere in this world is 100% safe, not Yerushalayim and not Tel Aviv, and it is all based on the definition of “a frequent damage”. We agree with the Admor of Satmar that there are many Arab murderers in Eretz Yisrael, but we must see things in proportion. We have already been living in Yesha for 40 years and the number of murders that occur there is extremely low. The same is true in all of Eretz Yisrael. We must remember that according to a report of the WHO, World Health Organization, 8 out of 100,000 Israeli citizens are murdered each year. That’s compared with 15 out of 100,000 citizens in France, and 25 out of 100,000 Americans. Therefore, it is more dangerous for the Admor of Satmar, may he live a long and good life, Amen!, to live in America than to live in the “Settlements”!

We must thank Hashem, and his loyal agents – Tzahal, the police, the Mossad, the Shabak and the rest of the security establishment – day and night for the peace and quiet we merit in our Land.

In the Gemara in Chullin (63b), Rabbi Abayu asks: Why is there a bird called “Ra’ah” (the one who saw)? He answers: Because he sits in Bavel and sees a carcass in Eretz Yisrael. The great Rabbis explain that this is a parable to someone who dwells outside of Eretz Yisrael and see the deficiencies in Eretz Yisrael and speaks Lashon Ha-Ra against it…

This obviously in no way detracts from the incredible merits of the Admor of Satmar in strengthening Torah and fear of Hashem in America, and we pray regarding them: “May our eyes behold Your return to Tzion in compassion”.

(Source: Rav Aviner)


  1. The rebbe did NOT say that it was a punishment. He said that its not resopnsable to live in the west bank where its like living in a lions den.

  2. In no way do I identify with Zionism or Rabbi Aviner’s hashkafa in any way, however I found his article to be respectful and while he “holds his own” and forcefully defends his hashkofa does not seem to denigrate the Satmar Rebbe, he actually seems to respect him greatly.
    B”H that we can have Talmidei Chachomim who can show how one can disagree forcefully and yet show respect at the same time.

  3. I do not agree with any of Rabbi Aviners shitos whatsoever. But, wow, is he on target.

    He just destroyed the Satmar Rebbes speech. And he did it biderech kavod.

  4. HaRav Aviner, as other comments explain, wrote bidrech kavod. This is the way that we all need to write and speak and act toward each other. Perhaps Hashem made the Satmar Rebbe speaks these words as a test to us – to see if we will react with kavod,even if we disagree with what he said.

  5. I’m a nothing and a nobody – a hedyot at best, but permit me to say that this bickering and back-and-forth between respected gedolim sets a very poor example to ALL of Klal Yisroel.

  6. The Rebbe misstated the traditonal Satmar position. The problem is Zionism not the “settlement enterprise”. To the Arabs, Tel Aviv is just as much a settlement as Kiriyat Arba. The problem is not being in the Lion’s Den, but having provoked the lions by trying to tame them. Lions do not like be tamed, and there is no mitsva to tame them and the secret of living near lions is to avoid making angry when you are in their hunting range.

  7. Do you think that Satmar cares?
    They don’t hold by Rav Aviner and dont care out the state. They have probably never heard of him and could care less.
    They are hardly afraid of what anyone thinks of them and I cannot see the Rebbe saying “you know what? Rav Aviner has a point point-I change my mind”

  8. This is not the first time Rav Avinar has said this. His point that we need to do teshuva and see how we can improve ourselves is something that everyone should take away. Each of us should look at what we can do better. Keep Shabbos better, keep kashrus better, lashon horah, gemilas Chasadim, talmud torah. There are so many things for us to work on.


  10. Thank you, Rabbi, for your respectful answer. By this point in time, nebich, many of us are accustomed to Satmar’s disgraceful actions towards Israel. But at a time when the entire Kol mourns for the loss of our three sons is not the time to cause machlokes. In fact, if there was one lesson learned, it was the lesson of achdus. That we are all one people regardless of what we do or don’t wear on our heads. There are enough forces in the world that hate us, do we have to have disputes of this nature between one another?

  11. The Rebbe said what everyone was thinking–isn’t it a dangerous place to live? And what about hitchhiking–are we anti-Zionist if we say that people shouldn’t hitchhike?

  12. Thank you #14 for reminding us once again that we are all CHILDREN of one LOVING FATHER.

    This on-going, relentless debate will continue till Mashiach ben Dovid arrives in the Ir Hakodesh/Ir Hatorah of Yerushalayim. Aligning with either shita is b’derech hashem yet causing grief and anguish to bereaved families is an ISSUR of the Torah.

  13. #1 is right.

    The Satmar Rebbe zt”l decried Zionism because it was a spiritual Holocaust where thousands and thousands of religious Jews became secular and/or intermarried while living in the Zionist state. The Zionist shita is that living in Eretz Yisrael overrides all mitzvos in the Torah.

    The Satmar Rebbe shlit”a meant to say that if Jews do not have merits because they go against Torah, how can they live among pere adam animals?

  14. The Lubavitcher Rebbe zt”l also lived in Bavel and CONSTANTLY CONSTANTLY CONSTANTLY gave his piece of mind for the Zionist government and their military and nobody said “you sit in Bavel and give instructions to Eretz Yisrael.” It’s Satmar that bothers you and all who follow you.

  15. One does not have to be a rav or a talmid chacham to realize you don’t tell the parents of murdered children, no matter what the circumstances, the day after the levaya, they they were the killers!! Besides being arrogant – did HKB”H reveal the reason to him in the mikvah this morning? It is arrogant, hateful and simply appalling!!
    How far has Satmar fallen since Rabeinu Yoel ZK”L!!
    Rav Aviner speaks with respect towards this foolish man, I am not big enough to do so. I now refer to that man as The Katan of KJ

  16. This Rav Aviner is a “dorchgefresener tzoyoini”, and he will never be able to see the emes becuase of the “cheider” that he comes from.

    What do you expect from him, anyway.
    that he should be “moideh al hoemes”.
    Never in his lifetime.(not in his present gilgul)

  17. I’m not a Satmar Chosid nor do I know who H’Rav Aviner Shlita is.
    But I want to express my feeling on this topic. Because I feel that this is a general problem of today’s generation at large. (And this is what people don’t get when other say the internet could be a dangerous place)
    And yes, the fact that we all have access to write and post on the internet what ever is on our minds if it makes sense or not, if it accurate or not, if it is accurate al pi torah or not etc.. on & on… You don’t get that some of us actually believe every single thing they read. They don’t grasp that its just an opinion.

    What am I trying to say is this?

    Are you a Satmar chosid? If the answer is Yes
    then you know what your rebbe said.

    And if the answer is No,
    Then my response to you should be MYOB. “Mind your own Business”
    Because, If you really wanted to know what the Satmar Rebbe said or except it you would/could be a Satmar Chosid. Obviously your not interested.
    A lot of mature people that were born way before the internet know good and well the Shita of Satmar. And same go’s for different minhagim between Chasidim, litvish, svardish, etc. but most of us know and have some self control that If we wanted his Hadracha and opinion we would be his followers and since we B”H have our own Rosh Yeshivas, Rabonim, Rebbe’s We don’t have to go shopping for hadracha, we have our own morah derech and minhagim and way to live. But we could still be friendly neighbors.

    This is not something new. This is how they talk in Satmar, and I say, I don’t care, not on this topic or any other topic, If it’s good them it good for me. And not only Satmar, I don’t care about what most Rabonim say not, because I don’t think they are not worth trusting. I don’t get to decide who knows how to learn. Who is correct about the Eiruv and all the other topics of the day. The answer is it is not my concern.
    He didn’t call me on the phone at 2 AM or to his house and forced me to listen. He spoke to people who believe in his Derech.

    Same go’s for Rabbi Aviner Shlita in Eretz Yisroel. I don’t care less what he said. It’s not that I don’t care. I’m not weighing if his words are good or not. I’m not to decide and it doesn’t matter what I think.
    It has nothing to do with me. I don’t want to know what he said.
    Same thing with any other thing of the Klal and Prat.
    If I want o know what to do? I go to my minyan and see what my Rav says, what he paskins, what he says that’s how its going to be. No matter how many people participate 10 or ten thousand.
    If you where there, if you follow this Rabbi or that Rebbe then good for you. You could & should be mekabil.
    B”H I have a Rav that I ask Sheilus, and a Rav that I look up to.

    It says in Perek “Knei L’Cha Rav”

  18. oh, by the way. Interestingly, If I recall someone in the Israeli government. Can you imagine? yes, in the Israeli government not even a day or two after the boys where buried attacked Bibby Natanyahu to resign. Pointing fingers of blame for getting the boys killed.

  19. Hello every body.

    All those vikuchim don’t lead us higher…

    It’s important to know that there are different deoss how to view things like this…

    And we have to be mature enough to understand that there is a bite off truth every where…

    No need to fight against the side we understand the less.

  20. We are in chodesh Tamuz that leads into chodesh Av. We lost our Beit HaMikdash because of attitudes and comments like the ones above and we still suffer in Galut (currently Eretz Israel is also galut) because we can’t past our egos and be menschlich towards one another. It’s not the Arabs, or the Black, or the Puerto Ricans, or the neo-Nazis. It’s us. We are our own worst enemies.

  21. Kvod Harav
    You did not read the Rebbi’s words , he is basicly saying Ein Somchin Al Haness, just don’t live in dangeres areas and saying its your fault is no way saying that its a punishment for learning in the settlements.

  22. “LOYAL AGENTS”!!?? are you serious?? that’s called loyal to hashem??!! These are his agents? “Talmimidei chachamim marbim shalom ba’olam”…
    I don’t care what else this guy wrote he is totally off his rocker!

  23. What the satmar rebbe says does not make a bit of difference. He has his opinion and his followers can follow him.
    Those of us who had close family die in the Holocaust because they were Jewish have a different perspective on life and the world.
    I love the State of Israel. I am Orthodox and I am grateful to all Jews who live in Israel.
    Many Jews go off the derech in America, in Russia in any part of the world. Maybe because of sects like the satmars who are exclusionary, and keep totally to themselves. Everyone else is not important to them. Remember there are No territories. That is a political scam devised by the politicians. Every bit of land is Eretz Yisroel. I commend people who live near the arab devils. They are the heroes of our day. Honestly we should all move there if we had the nerve and the bravery.
    While the families are sitting shiva, everyone should shut their mouth about blame. Daven to Hashem that moshiach will come soon.

  24. What a nebach generation. We cant hear mussar when we dont agree with that which is being said. What do you want the Rebbe to tell you, the baseball scores? And then you’ll listen?

    Woe is to us!

  25. Rebbe Yid says: Saying about the dangers of hitchhiking is one thing, blaming the parents for their children’s murder is sick, disgusting and hateful. It shows that he is an ignorant fool who knows nothing. His Father, ZT”L never would have said anything of the kind. It also shows that he is not a worthy replacement.

    All he knows how to do is create Machlokes. He did it within Satmar, he went to secular court and now, at a time of tragedy where there was tremendous Achdus in Klal Yisroel, this fool created Machlokes again. He is nothing but the Erev Rav, trying to prevent the Geulah. It’s all about HIS power and is manipulating thos foolish enough to follow him.

    Aryeh, The Lubavitcher Rebbe zt”l always supported Israel. Government leaders sought his advice and he gave it. That’s a far cry from the Ahronitic. (Ahron and lunatic combined). They should never be said in the same breath. One was a Tzaddik and the other …… BTW, I am not Lubavich or any other Chosid. Just a sane FFB who is disgusted with this idiocy. It just shows that some Jews learn nothing from history.