‘The Last Lion’: The Satmar Rov, Rav Yoel Teitelbaum zt”l, On His 30th Yahrtzeit


satmar-rebbeRemembrances of a talmid, as told to Rabbi Nisson Wolpin

The Satmar Rav, a direct descendant of both the famed Yismach Moshe and the Chavas Daas, was recognized as a young man for his unusual lomdus, hasmadah and tzidkus – Torah scholarship, diligence and piety – assuming his first rabbinical position as Rav of Muzheyer at the age of seventeen. By the outbreak of World War 11, he was Rav of the thriving community of Satmar and had emerged as one of the leading figures  in Hungarian Jewry. He distinguished himself with his heroic adherence to Torah under the most brutal conditions of the Nazi concentration camps. After a brief stay in Eretz Yisrael, the Rebbe came to America in 1946 and settled in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.

It was in Williamsburg that the Rebbe painstakingly helped thousands of fellow survivors reconstruct their lives, at the same time reconstructing a thriving Chassidic community – taking advantage of all technological advances of contemporary America, while shunning its values and the more apparent aspects of its life-style. As a result, at the time of his passing, the Rebbe presided over a tight-knit, highly disciplined community numbering in the thousands, with major settlements in Williamsburg and elsewhere, including their flourishing Kiryas Yoel in New York’s Monroe Township, Monsey, Montreal, and of course, Jerusalem, where he was Rav of the Eida Hachreidis.

Indeed, the Satmar communities are all distinguished by a kehillah system that include complete control of shul, kashrus, education, and in many cases, social welfare. Thus, the Brooklyn kehillah embraces an educational system of 5,000 students embodying a complete girl’s school and yeshivos spanning nursery through Kolel, as well as an extremely effective tzeddakah-medical-welfare system and wide-reaching Bikur Cholim network, directed by the Satmar Rebbetzin. This, in a smaller format, is duplicated in the rolling expanses of Kiryas Yoel – the Satmar sponsored suburban settlement.

The Rebbe was renowned for his extremely strong stand against Zionism, even refusing to accept the existence of the State of Israel – differing markedly with Torah authorities of Agudath Israel in this. For that matter, he opposed the very concept of an organized coalition-structured Orthodoxy as personified by Agudath Israel. Nonetheless, he was respected – even revered – in other circles for his vast scholarship, tzidkus, personal humility, astute wisdom, and unwavering tenacity.

The 100,000 people that crowded the streets of Monroe to bid farewell to the Satmar Rav included followers and admirers, Chassidim and Misnagdim, Europeans and Americans, paying homage to one of the greatest of contemporary Jewish leaders, who had taught and led his people as a Rav for seventy-five years … He will be missed – not only by those who followed his particular ideology, but by Orthodox Jews of contrasting viewpoint as well who saw in him a tower of principled leadership.

Of the hushed tens of thousands that came to pay their last respects to the Satmar Rav at his funeral, a large number were members of other communities – various Chassidic groups, yeshiva circles, and out-and-out Misnagdim. They came out of deference to a giant of vast scholarship, who had symbolized a rare level of personal devotion to G-d as well as a demanding, inspiring leadership of a type that has largely disappeared from the world scene. As Rabbi Yitzchok Hutner (Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta Rabbi Chaim Berlin – Gur Arye) had said regarding the Satmar Rav on an earlier occasion:

Noach suffered a maimed leg as punishment for the one time that he was late with the lion’s meal in the Ark. It would seem that Noach should have been forgiven this one tardiness. But a lion is king of the beasts, and is worthy of service in a manner that is in keeping with its royal position, without any exceptions – especially this particular lion, which was the last of its kind … The same, said the Rosh Yeshiva, may be said of the Satmar Rav. “I’m here to honor him because he’s the last of the lions.”

A great many of those present at his funeral were paying tribute to “the last lion” – the last leader of his kind in our midst.

The Purity of Another Era

They had heard of the Sigheter Rav’s “wonder sons” who were only little children, ninety long years ago. It was said that “Yoilish,” the younger child, refrained from unnecessarily touching covered parts of his body, so he could always be prepared to study Torah. A visiting Rabbi asked the Sigheter Rav if it were so. “Come,” said the Rav, leading the visitor to the bedroom where his three-year-old Yoel was fast asleep. He lifted his tzitzis-fringes over the child’s head and tickled his ear. The sleeping boy slipped his sleeve over his fingers and raised his covered hand to scratch his itchy head.

From the time of his Bar Mitzvah until the outbreak of World War I1 – a period of forty years – Reb Yoel never slept on a bed, except for Shabbosos – studying Torah, on his feet, by day and by night … In the internment camp in Bergen-Belsen, not only did he eat nothing that might have been un-kosher, subsisting mostly on potatoes, but he fasted as often as four times a week.

He continued this procedure until his last days; and even when he did eat, his first meal usually was a cup of coffee at 3 or 4 in the afternoon … “Do I want to eat now? A Jew doesn’t eat because he wants to. He eats because he must.”

While he encouraged his followers to work and earn well, spend on themselves as necessary and give charity lavishly, he avoided spending on himself. Any time he was presented with a new garment, his first reaction was: “Who needs it?”

The Rebbe was fastidious about his personal cleanliness, and would not tolerate a hint of uncleanliness. In part, this was to be fit for prayer and Torah study. In fact, he thought nothing of changing clothes several times during the day if he found them unclean. Even in Bergen-Belsen, he had bartered food for tissues …

Unknown to many, he was also meticulous about precision in time and manner of performance of mitzvos. Only his Shacharis was invariably late because of his personal preparations … On occasion, he could not begin his Pesach Seder until after 11 o’clock because of ill health. This did not deter him from eating the afikomen before midnight, as is required by halachah, according to many … He also consulted an authority present at his Pesach Seder regarding the precise size of his matzos and marror, as is required by halacha for the mitzvos …

He took pains to shield his knowledge of Kabbalah from the curious. The Rebbe was always surrounded by people – indeed, he enjoyed company; but he was sensitive to prying eyes. He made light of references to mofsim (miracles) or kabbalistic involvement in our times. Yet his conduct at meals – the ways he picked at his food, and his deep concentration in tefillah, bespoke hidden motives, meaning-laden cryptic gestures.

While he made himself available to people without hesitation, and seemed to enjoy conversing with all his visitors, the Rebbe had a distinctly regal bearing. When walking down Bedford Avenue from his home to the bais hamidrash, the sidewalk would clear well in advance of his coming. Not that there was anything forbidding about his appearance. But, until his very last years, a vitality seemed to shine through his smooth, translucent face that bespoke a purity that defied the passage of time, and inspired others to move back in awe.

The Vast Sea of His Knowledge

It seemed as though he never had to prepare for a lecture, drashah, or shiur. In Europe the custom had been for someone to open a Midrash Rabba at Shalosh Seudos, and read three passages at random – giving the Rebbe material for his dissertation. He would then expound at length, quoting passages from the Midrash verbatim … In America, he would enter the yeshiva’s bais hamidrash, ask where the bachurim were up to in their studies, open the Gemara and begin a long, involved lecture without further notice.

Rabbi Yaakov Breish of Zurich had spent years on the section of his sefer Chelkas Yaakov that deals with the complicated laws of ribbis (usury). When visiting the United States, he visited the Satmar Rav and spent several hours discussing in detail several difficult topics in his sefer. He later expressed wonder at how thorough the Rebbe’s mastery of this topic had been, even though his visit had been unannounced, giving the Rebbe no time for preparation.

The Rebbe would write his Torah commentaries at two or three o’clock in the morning, relishing every minute. He once remarked, “I could see myself doing this the rest of my life, but I have a directive from my father that one must be prepared to give away his own Torah, if necessary, to help a fellow Jew.”

Notwithstanding his round-the-clock involvement in chessed, his treasure house of Torah knowledge was vast. Perhaps Klal Yisrael was deprived of the greater riches that would have been theirs had he been allowed the luxury of extending the full measure of the hasmadah of his youth into his later years, and not suffered the distraction of being father to his community. But then, Klal Yisroel would not have had a Satmar Rav, and we would have been infinitely poorer for that loss.

Father to His Community

A large number of those at his funeral had come as children mourning a very personal loss, many of them ripping their garments in kriyah for the loss of a father who had cared for their every need, both spiritual and material. It is extremely difficult to comprehend how so many thousands could experience such an intense relationship with one man. And yet, how else can one explain the phenomenal growth of the Satmar community from several scores of families in the late 40’s to so many thousands of followers today – especially when the external trappings of the group’s lifestyle is in direct conflict with modern Western culture? To be sure, the explanation for this growth lies in part in the large families generally prevalent in the Torah community. But it also must be attributed to the exceedingly low defection rate among Satmar Chassidim – a phenomenon in which the Rebbe played a pivotal role.

Shortly after he had arrived in America, a young Chassid was discussing the naming of his newly born son with the Satmar Rav, in the presence of another rabbi. “My grandfather was a very good Jew,” he said.

“His name would be a fine choice for your son,” commented the Rebbe.

“But several of m y nephews and cousins already carry his name. On the other hand, my father-in-law has no one named after him.”

“That should certainly be taken into consideration.”

“However …”

And so it continued. After the young father left, the other visitor asked the Rebbe why he permitted himself to become so involved with trivia.

“In the old country, I was a father at home, and could be a Rebbe in the city. But here,” the Rebbe sighed, “this is simply not suitable. I have to be a father to my community, and a Rebbe at home.”

As visitors streamed into his room, the Rebbe asked questions and listened carefully, seemed to bend his shoulder to carry the load of others, and was mispallel (prayed) for their needs.

His manner of closely examining a kvittel, looking for clues – and, amazingly, “discovering” errors in the writing of the name of a total stranger (“You write ‘Binyamin ben Leah’ – isn’t there more to the mother’s name? – You say ‘ben Leah Esther’? You should have written it so!”) – and the encouraging word he invariably offered, comforting the petitioner… Stories are legion about occasions when – after hearing the details of a person’s problems – the Rebbe swept his table clean of the day’s accumulation of pidyon gelt (monies for charity, given to the Rebbe by people petitioning for his help and prayers) to give to a needy visitor . . . Nor did he limit his compassion and sharing of joys and sorrows to his own immediate group:

The Latin American lady not at all dressed in Satmar tradition, who needed money for her son’s hospitalization and left with the full amount… The man who wept bitterly for all his suffering, and walked out with the entire day’s proceeds. Then the Rebbe was informed that the man was a fraud. “Baruch Hashem!” exclaimed the Rebbe, “I’m so relieved that he’s not in such terrible straits!”… The editor of an Israeli journal that had slandered – even ridiculed – the Rebbe, was in his room, sobbing for his daughter’s terrible personal plight – she was engaged to be married but lacked sufficient funds to purchase an apartment. After the Rebbe had given him a large sum of money, someone whispered into his ear, “Don’t you know who that was?” “Of course I do,” replied the Rebbe, and then – after a moment’s hesitation – called back the editor and gave him even more …

An alumnus of a Lithuanian-type yeshiva in Israel sat near the Rebbe at his Pesach Seder. The Rebbe was amused at his guest’s pompous measuring of the precise portion of food and drinks required for the rituals (even though the Rebbe himself was no less fastidious). As the guest prepared his matzos, the Rebbe asked him, “Are you sure it’s the right shiyur (required amount)?” Similarly, after he ate the marror, and later when he eyed his afikomen before consuming it, the Rebbe smilingly asked, “Is it the shiyur?”

Finally, the fellow put down his matzah and said, “Rebbe I’m not sure. But isn’t it the shiyur of tcheppen (teasing)?”

The Rebbe was deeply disturbed that he had actually offended the man with remarks that he had only meant as a friendly exchange. He begged his forgiveness again and again, as was his habit when he felt he had mistreated someone. Finally he asked him, “Please see me right after Yom Tov.”

When the man reported to the Rebbe, he asked, “Why are you here? Why did you come to America?”

“I’m here because I must raise five to six thousand dollars to marry off my daughter.”

“I’ll get the money for you. And please – any children that you will be marrying off in the future – come here and I’ll take care of your financial needs.”

The Satmar Rav was not satisfied until he had financed the weddings of the man’s four daughters.

Builder of a Community

While the Rebbe’s personal warm concern for each individual was surely a key factor in the unusually low drop-out rate among his kehillah’s members, there are additional factors in his leadership that also account for this phenomenon.

When he settled in Williamsburg shortly after arriving in the United States, he found a handful of his followers in a bais hamidrash all day, saying Tehillim, learning Chok – and spending their time in “the Rebbe’s Court”. He summoned them to him and insisted that they find jobs to support their families. “If I had the strength (he was in his sixties at the time) I’d also go to work.” … He felt that he could not be oblivious to the stress on material well-being that marks American society. Here, especially, one had to be mindful of the dictum: “Poverty can sway a man from loyalty to his Creator.” Moreover, a viable community could only take shape if it is self-supporting on a level comparable to that of the surrounding society. By the same token, he guided his followers to give tzeddakah expansively – not to shy away from a sweeping gesture of generosity. Today, members of the Satmar community are active in all phases of business and commerce, as well as in a wide spectrum of occupations, ranging from grocers to computer programmers. And the community itself supports a host of social services, most notably its bikur-cholim program – administering to the sick, with fleets of cars and vans carrying hundreds of volunteers to hospitals all over New York, throughout the day.

A Klal-Yisrael Curriculum

The Rebbe founded the Yeshiva Yetev Lev and the Bais Rochel School for girls, both adhering to the syllabus of pre-World War II Satmar. The Yeshiva emphasizes a rapid pace of study, familiarity with a broad range of topics, and an eye on practical application, through halachah. The girls’ school follows a strictly prescribed Hebrew curriculum. Yet the Rebbe was keenly aware of the surrounding yeshiva scene. In fact, shortly after his arrival in the States he delivered shiurim in the bais hamidrash of both Mesivta Torah Vodaath in Brooklyn and the Telshe Yeshiva in Cleveland, in response to invitations from the yeshivos’ respective leaders.

On a visit to Bais Medrash Elyon in Monsey, the mashgiach, Rabbi Yisroel Chaim Kaplan, who took great pride in his Kollel, asked the Rebbe why his kehillah does not include one. He replied, “You are raising an elite of gedolei Yisrael. I hope to establish a broad Klal Yisroel. I dare not sacrifice the average students for the sake of the isolated individual of rare promise.”

Nonetheless, the Satmar Rav did recognize the necessity of grooming a leadership of expert talmidei chachamim, and from the modest beginnings of several young men studying privately in his home, he eventually founded a full-fledged kollel, with emphasis on psak halachah.

Before the kollel’s formal opening, it was announced that the Rebbe himself would screen prospective members – but not until after their wedding. The first candidate came in, nervously anticipating a grueling test on Talmud and commentaries … “How many people did you invite to your wedding?” asked the Rebbe. “At how much per couple? … What did your furniture cost? … So much? And you want the community to support you? Forget about it. Kollel is not for you.”

As exacting as he was in choosing kollel members, he was forgiving in dealing with his yeshiva students, never expelling a boy from his schools – for how does one expel someone from the Jewish community?

The Festivals in Satmar

The Satmar sense of community was especially apparent when the Yomim Noraim Season began – first Slichos, with the Rebbe leading with his frail voice, precise in nusach, heart-rending in emotion . . . his pouring forth of soul on Rosh Hashana, and then on Yom Kippur, crowned by his Ne’ilah … Then Hoshana Rabbah, when thousands – literally thousands – would crowd the Satmar bais hamidrash to be with the Rebbe, with hundreds of “outsiders” who joined the mispallelim to watch as the Rebbe sang the Hallel, and waved his lulau, cuing thousands to follow his lead – southward, northward, eastward, up, down, westward – “Hodu – let us praise G-d” – “Anna Hashem – Please G-d, help us, save us!” Waving to and fro, as if the Rebbe were himself waving a thousand lulavim – not lulavim, but waving a thousand souls in praise and supplication … Watching as he led his Chassidim in the Hoshanos, weeping, and pleading with them to strive for personal improvement, for sanctity – urging them in his moving address, to join him in calling to G-d to “Help us lema’ancho – for Your Sake!” … Then Simchas Torah, when the sea of humanity compressed into his bais hamidrash would split, opening a path for the Rebbe, carrying his diminutive Sefer Torah; voices rising and falling in song like breakers on a shore; his tallis draped over his head, shielding his eyes, swaying for a moment, and then running – or dancing – or floating – it’s difficult to say which . . . somehow he seemed to be borne aloft by the swell of voices. How else could he stay on his frail, suffering feet for six hours on end?

And then, after Yom Tov, the triumphant torchlit march accompanying the Rebbe home, closing the season.

One Man Alone

The patriarch Avraham was also known as “Avraham HaIvri,” because he came to Canaan from Eiver LaNohor, the other side of the river. This title has also been explained to refer to his position as one man against the world – “Avraham be’eiver echad – one man alone on his side,” believing in monotheism, while the entire world was on the other side of the issue.

This one trait assumed major significance: When any of Avraham’s contemporaries was asked about his beliefs, he would reply, “Of course, I am an idol-worshiper.” Then, even though he well could have ignored monotheism, since Avraham was its only exponent, and idolatry was the universally accepted belief of millions, he would add: “There is another approach: the monotheism of Avraham. ”

That Avraham could single-handedly invade the consciousness of the entire world and create in their minds the possibility of ”another approach” was most noteworthy. Thus, it was perpetuated in his name – “Avraham Halvri.”

The same may be said about the Satmar Rav. Most of world Jewry had accepted the Zionist dream. And even many among those who had rejected its limited, secular definition of Jewishness were excited by the emergence of the State of Israel, and the miraculous victories in ’48, ’56 and ’67. The Satmar Rav was often alone in consistently condemning the State as the pure embodiment of a secular ideal, a ma’ase Sattan: dismissing victories on the battlefield as an ideological minefield; opposing mass aliyah as a violation of the Three Vows (T.B. Kesubos 11a : Binding Jewry not to force its way into Eretz Yisrael, nor to rebel against the nations, and the nations not to subjugate the Jews excessively.) for settling the country in defiance of world opinion; and participation in the government in any form – even voting in national elections – as strengthening a reprehensible concept by implied recognition. Like some other schools, those of the Eida Hachreidis, which is in the Satmar orbit, do not accept funding from the Israeli government.

Advisors had begged the Rebbe to omit from his writings his directives against going to the Kosel, as being too difficult to accept, sure to result in the alienation of many of his followers. He commented, “I don’t care if I’m left with only one minyan of adherents. I’ll not refrain from expressing my beliefs.”

He was once advised by a close associate, “Don’t let yourself get so upset!” The Rebbe replied, “There are a thousand reasons not to reveal the Emes, If one gets upset, he can forget himself for a moment, and then at least a bit of Emes comes through.”

The mainstream of the Torah leadership did not subscribe to his approach toward dealing with the Israeli government. Even those most strongly opposed to the State’s philosophy accepted its existence and, at worst, felt compelled to deal with it as they would with any government that ruled a land where Jews lived. At times they were deeply upset with his unyielding approach – such as Rabbi Aharon Kotler’s vexation with the Rebbe for “publicly opposing the Chazon Ish, Reb Isser Zalman Meltzer, the Belzer Rebbe and the Tchebiner Rav – all of whom held that voting in Israeli national elections was an obligation on every Torah Jew who took the needs of the Yishuv to heart.” Nonetheless, they were always aware of the Satmar position and often measured their stance against the extremes of the Satmar-Neturei Karta ideology. And even the most rabid, anti-religious secularist was aware of the “on the other hand,” represented by this one man’s uncompromising stance.

His ideology is represented by his two seforim VaYoel Moshe and Al Hage’ulah V’al Hatemurah, written with vast scholarship and great care – as well as by his spoken word on numerous occasions.

In spite of the difference between them, a current of admiration flowed between the Satmar Rav and the heads of American Yeshivos. Said Reb Aharon Kotler: “The Satmar Rav and I do not have the same approach – neither in Torah study nor in political matters – but I must say, he is a giant in Torah and a giant in midos.” The Satmar Rav, in turn, spoke at Reb Aharon’s funeral, weeping, quoting Rashi (in Be’haaloscha): “‘The praise of Aharon is that he did not deviate’ – Reb Aharon remained ever faithful to his tradition, never deviating.”

Similarly, Rabbi Reuvain Grozovsky, the late Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta Torah Vodaath and Bais Medrash Elyon, who had headed the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah (Council of Torah Sages) of Agudath Israel, had made it a policy of never responding to criticisms “from the right” because its adherents are G-d-fearing Jews, and there may well be some elements of truth in their approach (Beiyos Hazman pp. 69-71)…. Indeed, Reb Reuvain had often cited a statement by his father-in-law, Rabbi Boruch Ber Lebowitz, a leading Rosh Yeshiva in pre World-War II Europe: “The Satmar Rav was the person to contact whenever the Polish and Lithuanian leadership had need to communicate with Hungarian Jewry.” When the Satmar Rav visited Reb Reuvain when he was ill from the stroke that had partially paralyzed him, the Rebbe wished the Rosh Yeshiva: “A refuah sheleimah – a complete recovery, so we can battle each other once again.” … Several years later, when he returned home from Reb Reuvain’s funeral, the Rebbe seemed unusally depressed. To his Rebbetzin’s question as to why he was so troubled, he replied, “The world has lost an lsh Ha’emes – a man of rare integrity.”

It was not only in regard to its extreme anti-Zionism that the Satmar Rav had molded his community as “a group apart,” in the manner of Avraham Halvri. He also guided it to being distinguished in its total lack of compromise in mode of dress – not yielding to American pressures, neither in style nor in lack of modesty. If anything, the newer generations have reinforced their dedication to the standards of “Jewishness in dress” that had prevailed in Satmar of old making it much easier, one might add, for the American yeshiva community to adhere to its own standards of propriety without developing a sense of being at the outer edge of society.

Thus, the Satmar Rav’s relentless demands for the highest religious standards proved to be an important contribution toward changing the complexion of a significant segment of Orthodox life in America. Witness: Holocaust survivors and their American-born grandchildren – dayanim (rabbinical judges), rabbanim, diamond polishers, computer technicians, and gas-pump attendants among them – who proudly walk the streets of the New World in traditional garb, making the shtreimel an everyweek feature of many communities.

For evidence of the living legacy of the late Satmar Rav, we tend to look at the self-contained communities of his followers that crowd this or that old-world corner of various urban centers; or that are found in unlikely suburban locations, such as New York’s Monroe township or Rockland County. But, in many respects, his influence has extended beyond the confines of his immediate following, for those whose compass is set by other stars cannot help but have had their own awareness sharpened by the perspectives of the Satmar Rav.

After all, who can live in the same community as a tzaddik – or even in his time – and not be affected by his presence?

When Rabbi Yaakov Kamenetzky spoke at the unveiling of the matzeivah (monument) at the gravesite of the Satmar Rav, one week after his passing, he commented on the special gift G-d had bequeathed on our generation through the presence of the Satmar Rav for over nine decades:

“When an era closes, there is always a danger that the succeeding generations will be oblivious to the values and special character of their predecessors. Thus G-d often grants one exemplary member of the preceding era longevity, to permit him to teach the next generation how the old generation lived – by his mere presence. Thus did Rabbi Yehudah Hanassi – who closed the era of the Tannaim by writing the Mishnah – continue to ‘frequent his home’ for decades after his passing; and Rabbi Yochanan, who compiled the Jerusalem Talmud, lived for hundreds of years…; and thus did the Satmar Rav grace our generation with a greatness in scholarship and piety that had been identified with the glory of days gone by.”

{This article originally appeared in The Jewish Observer and is also available in book form in the ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications Judaiscope Series.}

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  1. oy vei – no mention of his monumentous sefer divrei yoel?? This was his biggest project – an 8 volume set of precious toiros – please, even one mention? Also, the Satmar Rov was not alone in his shitos – in the vayoel moshe, he says that the rov was on his side, and he also says that he is a meikel(!) – it should be noted that most hungarian rabbonim sided with the satmar rov, including the minchas elozar, in their refusal to join the Agudah. This is plain history – plus, the lubavitcher rebbe rashab echoed the same sentiment as the Satmar Rov. To say he was alone in his denial of the state is simply not true – not only that, but gedolei hador throughout the ghenerations,w hile advocating, or not assering completely(like the brisker rov) elections and such, only viewed the elections as a bedieved reaction – in the words of Rav Ahron, ‘hatzolah porta’ – salvaging what can be saved by making the state frum, whatever is in our capabilities. Thwe Satmar Rov made the painful decision to give that up – but this was his emes. Emes, to him dictated that we do not vote – The satmar rov did have tremendous respect for rav ahron though, and understood how much chinuch atzmai meant to him.

    The attitude of the other gedolim was not one of easygoingness to zionism, although their absence of written works(except reb elchonon, who wrote a whole extensively about zionism in ikvesa demeshicha, rav motel gifter, rav avigdor miller, and a few others) would seem to say that to one on the outside – it was simply a non-issue. Much like gedolim didn’t get up and bang on the bimos about socialism, they didn’t even address zionism – to them, there were more important things. The Satmar Rov was sent by shomayim with a different tafkid – he awoken the dor to every aspect of zionism, religious or otherwise – he lucidly answered their tainos one after another – it is too bad though, that the Satmar Rov is best known for his stance on zionism. It’s a shame, because he was a gaon olam and tzadik in so, so many ways – a rov in my yeshiva recently related how a tzionishe yid came to him once, and said ‘rebbe, you know i’m tzionishe’ – the satmar rov answered him ‘I hate your shita, but you’re a yid! I love you!’

  2. Hungarian Jews was ONE PART of klal yisroel not the majority or the only VOICE OF TRUTH.

    All the Sefardim Gedolim, Rav E. Spector, Rav Kook, Rav Kasher and Netziv vote positive or parave about zionism BTW.
    I feel the same way, when I meet a Satmar Yid, “I disagree with your shita, YET you are a Yid and I love, respect and admire you nevertheless”.

  3. Sefradishe gedolim? You’ve got to be kidding me – rav kook was no sefardi and the baba sali remarked about the vayoel moshe that it is a sefer that will guide us into the geulah, as reported buy his son-in-law, he also made a siyum after learning it with great simcha. Rav elchonon spector? where do you get that from? from the same rabbis who distort the opinion of every other gadol in the world to support them?

    The hungarians were not alone. Rav Hirsch wrote in choreb against zionism. The chazon ish said that it’s better to make 5 iyar into a fast day than a day of hallel – rav chaim kanievsky writes that even though there were 3 brisim in shul that day, the chazon ish still insisted on saying tachanun on yom haatzmaut(sefer maysoh ish_ he also called those that say hallel apikorsim.

    Reb elchonon wasserman rote in kovetz maamarim that religious zionism is religion mixed ith avodah zara.

    The journal ‘hapardes’ quotes rav ahron kotler and rav rottenburg as being against the formation of the medina.

    Rav shach quotes the chofetz chaim as also being against the creation of the medina. Raqv shach himself was, too

    Rav Henkin(kol kisvei rav henkin) wrote that he opposed the creation of the medina ‘with all my might’

    Rav Mordechai Gifter once said that zionism is ‘murder’

    Rav Avigdor Miller wrote in his hashkafa books that the state of israel is the worst thing to have ever happened in Jewish history.

    The steipler wries(kryna deigrasa) that the creation of the medina was assur, however those that are dati leumi are not apikorsim, yet they have a ‘deah kozeves’

    The lubavticher rebbe rashab wrote scatching letters about joining with zionists, as did the munkatcher.

    Rav Yosef chaim zonnenfeld was famous for making the anti-zionist aidah hacharedis, to oppose the mizrachim.

    Rav Chaim brisker was once asked why he said zionism is rong, if he does not even pasken shailos of basar vecholov(he left paskening to the brisker dayan). He answered, you then see how simple it is that zionism is wron, if I, who refrain from paskening basar vecholov shailos, pasken on it. His son Rav velvel’s yeshiva did not take money from the govt, to this day the briskers do not take money or vote in the elections, although the brisker rov was not as opposed to elections as the satmar rov. The brisker rov once said famously that the geulah was supposed to happen in 48, and it would have if the people had petitioned heaven for it, instead, they wanted a state(the peple he’s talkin about, not the gedolim), so they got their state – the ais ratzon was horribl distorted and out came an atheist kefirah-state.

    And so we have yekkes, litvaks, rosh yeshivos, chassidim, everyone except rav kook and rabbi kasher(dont get started with the aschalta degeulah thing – old hap, check it out, you’ll see what those ‘signatures’ really mean) – all saying no.

    The netziv did not write about zionism. This is a part of the big lie that zionism is about livin in eretz yisroel. You see, you can start with that premise, and include every single gadol, satmar included, as being zionist. what then, is religious zionis, that influriated gedolim? The answer is nationalism, making a state and the belief that nationalistic qulities make us a nation as opposed to the mesorah from Rav Saadiah Gaon that the Torah and the Torah alone makes us a nation(also included is the idolatrous belief of dying for land).

    Te Netziv as in favor of making a Yishuv, like the old yishuv of anti-zionist Jews. A yishuv meaning Jews living basking in the holiness of eretz yisroel without having a government. Sort of like living in america, lehavdil, except living in the kedushah of eretz yisroel. Most gedolim were in favor of the yishuv. Those that weren’t were afraid it would give credence to the zionists, who wanted a government. We see their concerns were well-founded.

    Sefardishe gedolim in general did not address the issue, but there is a kol koreh from them in 1951.

    You see, just because they cant find statements to the contrary(and even sometimes when there are), they assume the gadol was pareve about zionism – this is not so. Most didn’t address it too much – it was a non-issue, like socialism, or any other ‘ism'(reb elchon does spend time on all these ‘isms’ in ikvesa demeshicha though) – the gedolim ere against, so what’s the shailoh?

    You are takeh right about the satmar rebbe having ahavas yisroel – you can be against someone’e ideas and love them as a Jew – this is why when people acccuse me of having ‘sinas chinam’ when I say their zionism is against the torah, it ticks me off, since it has nothing to do with them personally – they believe a deah cozeves, but I still love them as Jews – among gedolim there is never sinas chinam, and we see that from their writings.

    The satmar rov througout the vayoel moshe says not one word of sinas chinam, only emes.

  4. shatark lashonos of reb chaim ozer in a letter written by the renowned Rabbi Chayim Oizer Grodzinski, zt”l of Vilna to Chief Rabbi Dr. Guedemann of Vienna:

    ‘Your honour knows that in the matter of the Zionists and the Mizrachi, I am in correspondence with the Gaonim of this generation, and all of them, have decided that Zionism is the work of the Sitro Achro with all its seductions and incitements, for the purpose of turning Israel from the good path and, that a great danger arises from it for all the Congregation of the Exile—Heaven forbid—and that all those who venture to defend the Zionists, are no better than they.

    To our shame, some rabbis in our country have joined the Zionists and have founded an organization under the name of Mizrachi, and they have rejected all the rebukes of the Gedoilei Hatorah, and they pretend to be men with respect for the Word of the L-rd.

    They have founded committees and it is likely that they will turn to your honour. I am therefore informing your honour that all the Gedoilim in our land are perplexed at the matter. In the books of the Poskim there is no suggestion that it is our duty to found a kingdom. On the contrary, our sages, the Tenoim and the Amoiroim, have expressly forbidden this. These rabbis of the Mizrachi have no faith, and do not trust in the salvation of the L-rd and their minds have become deranged into believing that in a state founded by the hands of man there will be peace for us.”
    SOURCE: “The Transformation” The Voice of Torah, pp 186-187

  5. the gerrer, and belze rebbe were also very much against zionism, yet the gerrer rebbe viewed rav kook differently – he once said that rav kook made mistakes due to his tremendous ahavas yisroel.

    Said the belzer rebbe: ” There could be, before the arrival of Mashiach, that the Satan should succeed, and the evildoers should get a State in the Land of Israel. Their state would be a big danger for every Jew in material and spiritual matters.”

    And also, a letter from the rogatchover in 1904: I have already written letters to those who ask whether there is any substance in the books of the Mizrachi rabbis XXXXX and XXXXXX. I have replied that according to Jewish Law the two works of the above-mentioned rabbis are an abomination and desolation, according to the Torah.


  6. from the chofetz chaim: The Torah teaches us not to resist the nations even when they fight against us. We must follow in the footsteps of Yaakov Avinu in his encounter with his brother Esav. As the Ramban writes in Vayishlach, all that happened between Yaakov and Esav happens to us constantly with Esav’s children. We must adopt the methods of that tzaddik, to make the three preparations that he made: prayer, a gift, and escape through war, that is, to flee to safety. As long as we walked on that well- tread path, G-d saved us from their hands. But since we have strayed from the path and new leaders have arisen who chose new methods, leaving behind our ancestors’ weapons and adopting the methods of our enemies, we have fared worse and worse, and great travails have befallen us.

    (Chofetz Chaim Al Hatorah, Devarim)

  7. Today things are quite different – gedlim by and large accepted the approach of the gedolim from the agudah(rav ahron, rav shach, chazon ish, steipler), thatb one should vote in the elections, one can take money from the government, and so on, while of course not beliecing for a second that the state is a good thing or that it is an ‘aschalta degeulah’, or any other zionist claims.

  8. I should add on that there were other talmidei chachamim, like rabbi herzog, rav kook, rav JB soloveitchik, and rav zimmerman, who did support the medinah – but their opinion was a minority, and I still do not understand it in light of the tainos of the vayoel moshe. I also have my own theory, that these rabbonim said such things to keep people frum, since their followers had standards of halacha that were completely unacceptable. If the rabonim had rejected zionism, the people may have left yiddishkeit – I honestly do not see how any Jew can identify with the state on a Jewish level; it has no precedent, a complete import of nationalism from non-jewish sources. I see the importance of being in the government though; especially now that there are so many who are not anti-religious but just tinokos shenishbu, we need to make sure the anti-religous dont get a hold of them.

    Rav kook himself admited he was being lenient in halacha, and said it was worthwhile because of the toeles in having a state. plus, the gerer rebbe said he received a letter from rav kook being chozer on many things he said – probably the remarks about the soccer players, or maybe the rembradt thing, or the college thing, I honestly dont know – whatever it is, there were things he said that I have no way of understanding as being Jewish – he could have been doing an averah leshma, reaching out to those far from torah – who knows? but the facts remain that it’s pashut not understood – so life goes on.

  9. Whew. Are you done, Matis? Can I get a word in here?
    It is my understanding that the forerunner of religious Zionism was the “Chovivei Tzion” movement, of which the Netziv was a member. I have a feeling had he been around, that rather independent-minded gaon olam would have felt right at home in Mizrachi.
    You concede that you just can’t figure out how “rabbi herzog, rav kook, rav JB soloveitchik, and rav zimmerman” could be in the Mizrachi camp. Nu, and what of Rabbi Reines? Rabbi Shmuel Moliver? Rabbi Moshe Soloveitchik? ALL the Chief Rabbis in both Ashkenazi and Sfardi circles from the inception of the state until now, including Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Rabbi Avraham Shapira, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook? Are they all worthless know-nothings? Huh? What do you say? Rav Kook, who was held in high regard by the Chazon Ish, a Mizrachist! Rabbi Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik was a match for most of the gdolim during the past century, in halacha and machshava—though it would have helped to know ALL the Greek, Latin and German writers and philosophers to understand his works—a Mizrachist! Amazing.
    Does it ever occur to you that history has long ago handed down its ruling: the State of Israel was the single greatest event for the Jewish people in the 20th century? Doesn’t it even begin to bother you a little—it sure disturbed the Satmar Rav and, more recently, Rabbi Elya Weintraub—that he most remarkable, stunning and impossible to ignore MIRACLES occur there daily? DAILY. And the out and out nissim of all the wars—who has time to discuss dozens of miracles at 2 in the morning? Don’t you understand that the rabbis you keep quoting were short-sighted? How do you learn pashut pshat in “V’lo darchechem drachai”/”My ways are not your ways”? Do you think G-d is bound by the Satmar Rav and Hungarian chasidic rebbes? Or the Agudah? What planet are you on? I’m serious here. You reduce the Almighty to nothingness. HE created the State of Israel–stop blaming it on man, or Satan(!), a foolish, crackpot idea if ever there was one—noone else. Not man! Not Satan! God created it! Why?

    Don’t you know anything? To shut up and silence forever the Catholic Church, which taught a vile teaching for almost 1900 years that the Jews would be cursed forever for rejecting Jesus as their messiah: the “Wandering Jew” idea. And, after cozying up to Nazis and showing the entire world their lack of ethics, morals and scruples when the chips were down in the most serious way the world had ever seen, and Jewish lives were on the line, the Catholic Church, after dropping the ball and seeing 6 MILLION JEWS go up in flames, realized one thing: they were a farce of a religion. They could have done so much and did so little.

    But their humiliation was not complete. God had one more little card to play: He created the State of Israel in 1948. This one little piece of land, now ruled by Jews after 2000 years, created by God (nu, who else…SATAN?), who utilized men with pots, pans, and a few guns, and who held off Egyptians and Syrians and Jordanians and Iraqis, was all that was needed to COMPLETELY toss the evil men of Rome on their ear. No longer were the Jews the Wandering Jews! Now they fought back!

    And they fought and fought and fought. And won, and won, and won. Whatever Haj Amin al-Husseini and Arafat and Nasser and Saddam Hussein and Assad and Hamas and Hezbollah and Iran and Iraq
    and the Notorious Karta have thrown at them, they just fight it off and beat them back and keep on ticking. Israel is the ultimate Energizer Bunny.
    And the deserts bloomed! What would Mark Twain say if he saw them? And the Hebrew language, once not spoken, is alive again! And the streets of Israel teem with little children, playing, and the voice of bride and groom is heard again in the cities of Judah and the courtyards of Jerusalem! And you can daven at the Kotel and not be bothered by British soldiers, forcing you to move on! And you can go to Kever Rachel, and the Mioras Hamachpela, and daven at the very graves of the Avos and Imahos!! And Tzfas! And Tverya! And the Ari’s mikveh!
    Israel is now a de rigeur part of frum AMERICA: you’re not a serious Litvish black-hat yeshiva bochur unless you’ve learned in Brisk or Mir! Believe it. And forget about the THOUSANDS of yeshiva guys from Israel itself! You know, the guys in Ponoviz, and Slabodka, and Kol Torah, and Tifrach, and Mir, and Kollel Chazon Ish! And what of Rav Yosef Kahaneman, rosh yeshiva of Ponoviz—did you like the fact that he flew the Israeli flag on Yom Haatzmaut every year, out of gratitude?
    Let’s not be naive, either: Israel made some serious mistakes with the way they treated the first frum olim from Yemen and other parts. No doubt. But lately? They’re guilty of giving billions of shekels in support to yeshiviz, chadorim, kollels, etc. over the past several decades. I should be so guilty.
    More Torah learned than at any time since the Churban—allowed in this “terrible” horrible” idea of a place.
    Blind? Deaf? Unable to see the future? You got it, son. That’s charedi Judaism. You keep quoting rabbis who lived 100 years in the past, some 30 years ago. How about quoting Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, huh? He was a member of the Rabbanut batei din decades ago himself! Nu, you accept him? But he was aligned with the Medina’s courts! What does he say about your theories?
    It’s ok to admit you and your rabbis are wrong. That’s a mark of a mature adult. Are you mature enough?
    Rabbu Yoshe Ber thought he was Joseph, and the gdolim of his day the brothers. Nu, who turned out to be right? In the Torah, it sure looked at first like they were, since Joseph was sent to be a slave in some steward’s house, had to fend off illicit advances, spent years in jail…looked like they were right. And was that the end of the story? Huh?
    Just 3 little, last words:
    Eim. Habonim. Smeicha.
    By Rabbi Teuchtal. Read it.

  10. I’m not done.
    What would have been had European rabbis before the Holocaust urged their followers to make an effort to get to Palestine? THINK.

    When the Vatican was approached by Theodore Herzl z’l and asked to support emigration of Jews to Palestine, the Pope cracked up. ‘We can’t stop you, but we sure won’t help you, Mr. Herzl.’ Didn’t matter. A scant 50 years after “Der Staat” was published, Israel was born.

    And Yeshivat Lomza/Petach Tikvah…and Yeshivat Chevron…and the hundreds of others…the fardi yeshiviz…the Chasidic yeshiviz…Belz…Ger…Vishnitz…SATMAR…

    And the former Lubavitcher Rebbe? You sure were quiet, only quoting the Reshab. But the late Rabbi was a great advocate, urging his followers to be of support to the IDF. Did you never notice that sea change in the Chabad approach? They’re practically Mizrachnikim!

    and the Hesder yeshivot: Merkaz HaRav Kook, Kiryat Arba…KBY…Shaalvim…Netiv Meir…and the dozens of others…

    Then, after the founding of Israel, the Vatican had a serious case of the chills. You know the feeling? That you’re sick and have to get some relief? They did the UNTHINKABLE: they admitted they were wrong. That’s right: in the Second Vatican Council, mid 1960’s, they publicly did a Mea Culpa and made theological room for the Jews (and other religions), and thereafter they have acknowledged that the Jews are their older brothers in faith, that they promise not to proselytize Jews, etc. etc. etc. Popes have met with Chief Rabbis and prayed at the Kotel. And the incidence of Catholic anti-Semitism worldwide? Down. In staggering terms. And no missionizing from them at all, either. Good as their word.

    What do you say to this? That the formerly “unerring”, “infallible” Catholic Church, which is “led” by the “Holy Spirit”, could publicly admit a THEOLOGICAL mistake, was unprecedented in history. UNEQUALLED. Never done before. Won’t happen again. Why do you think they did it?
    Because God created the State of Israel with open miracles and it stared them in the face for almost 20 years, thriving, against all odds. After the Council was concluded, a year or so later, with its back against the wall, Israel destroyed 5 armies and their air forces in 6 days, just to top it off. Took back Jerusalem and the Kotel and Har Habayit. A little flourish. Good theater.
    SIX MILLION JEWS make their home in Israel. Soon it will be the world’s center of Jewish population. What will you say then?
    God uses the State of Israel to be m’chayev the countries who don’t even know what a Jew IS. How will they vote in the UN? That’s how they’ll be judged at the end of days.
    Ever travel in Israel? Suppose you made a wrong turn and ended up in Ramalah? Or Shechem? What would you do? Put a call through to the Eda Charedis? Or pray to God to send the IDF to get you out? And when the IDF would show up, would you at least be a mensch and show some gratitude?
    Pray for the welfare of the State of Israel. The lives of 6 million of our brothers and sisters depend on it. Pray for the welfare of the IDF—it’s just a Mi Shebairach. Pray for the safe return of Gilad Shalit, a fellow Jew.

    And the wines…and the oil…the oranges…the flowers…the hills…the sea…Jerusalem….Haifa…Jericho…see where the spies hid…see where Dovid killed Goliath…where Jews the world over have decided to live their lives, against all odds. And through which that short-fingered vulgarian, the evil Iranian dwarf will meet his Maker, once and for all.

    THINK. And you really will come to a whole different conclusion.

  11. ‘in your understanding’ well, that is not important. The netziv never once said a thing about making a government(I remember him talking about the secular zionists thouhg), chovevei tzion was about making a yishuv.

    Being a member of the rabbanut does not make one a zionist. Never has Rav Elyashiv said anything remotely zionistic.

    Eim habanim semaicha is filled with things that are impossible to understand, emotional sort of toiros, rebbeshe zachin, without much halacha quoted. The author was writing this in 1943, in the middle of the holocuast – he didnt have many seforim available to him, and was basically making a huge appeal to Jews all over to make aliyah – something for some reason he believed would asave klal yisroel. He was in the middle of the shoah himself – a very sad thing indeed, but it does not make his sefer valid. Being heartfelt does not make toiros valid. He makes all sorts of claims about his anti-zionist rebbe, the munkatcher, that he(rav teichtal) knew the world now, that it was not ready for moshaich, and that his rebbe misjudged the world and said it was assur to make a state because he in his anivus thought the world was all tzadikim like him – and in that scenario it would be assur. The porblem with that is that the Munkatcher himself said why it is assur and neevr once mentiomned that reason. One is moved to ask – huh? Where do we find such a thing in mesorah about tzadikim thinking everyone is as great as they are? If that would be true, he woudln’t have needed tom write the minchas elozar, would he? Where in all literature connected to the shalosh shevuous do we find this mysticl concept of them only applying if everyone is a great tzadik? The Meam Loez brings 4 or more cases of klal yisroel breaking the shevuous – I doubt all of klal yisroel were all tzadikim during all of them.

    As a drush this is nice, but to pasken a halacha based on it?!?

    That’s just one example.

    Important to note: He also never mentions a government – only a yishuv. he argues why a mass aliyah is ok, but nowhere does he talk about the permissibility of making a government. However even in that(massive aliyah) he says nothing halachik.

    I’m aware reb yoshe ber looked at himself as yosef to the brothers – so what? What bearing on the issue does the story of yosef and his brothers have? The social conditions in whcih ehset forth his hashkafa are obsolete now. This is what he said in his seforim – we are in need of a new type of talmid chacham, to meet the socio-econic order, if we folllow the torah path of not being involved in the secular world, we will be diminished and not have a chance, we will become a frigne group. He believed that to save orthiodoxy, one must become a YU guy, and so on. Today we see things changed drastically, so what he said about his briothers is irrelevent.

    INterestingly enough, we saw all sorts of articles in the 80’s and 90’s from the leaders of modern orthodoxy denoucing ‘ultra-orthodox triumphalism’, since our way won out. Meanwhile, in the MO camp, we have pushes to define modern orthodoxy, and blind attempts to figure out just what MO is – the Edah conference was about that, converging to figure out just what in the world MO means, and it was disbanded, baruch hashem, before much harm was done. The search for identity among modern orthodox Jews, drowning, sadly, in a sea of goyishekeit, is what we see today. Quite a different picture than yosef, nu? Perhaps you don’t realize how polemics work – analogiues are used all the time. They’re not rayos.

    I can make similar analogies to make myself look right, and say ‘look! this is exactly what happened!’ bt that doesn’t take us very far. Torah does. And we need to go by what the Torah says, not by what phenomenon is happening – torah is not science where truth is determined solely by what you see and feel.
    Frankly, feelings are irrelevant.

    Hora’as sha’s would be ruined if the creator would give them away as hora’as shas. This was part of my theory, since I cannot think of any possible way that a talmid chacham can accept something so foreign. Or it could be due to a million other things – whatever the case might be, I’ve yet to see answers to the vayoel moshe’s tainos. I’ve been accused of many things, I’ve heard a lot of chiddushim to explain away the vayoel moshe, but never did I get an honest answer.

    Calling charedi Judaism unable to see the future is pretty much sinas chinam(the real type, not the kind I’m always accused of). You can say they are not your mesorah. You can say you dont understand them – fine. This is what I do with tzionishe rabbis – I dont get them one bit. I dont claim to, and I dont say hotza’as shem ra just because iI in my infinite understanding think something else is wrong.

    You see, you, and those like you, have this thing you’re raised with, where if something does not work well practically, scrap it – the state seems to cause good things to happen for Jews, so therefore it must be good, etc.. These are empty chitzonius philosophies.

    What makes something good is if it is the ratzon hashem as revealed in his torah or not. Nothing else.

    This is what zionists miss. I know the state does good things, I know there are people who wouldn;t be frum if not for the identity that comes with having a state – fine, but does that make it right? Of course not!

    Let me tell you a story: A rov once wrote about this atheist boy who was involved with shiksas. His girlfriend dragged him to church, where he found Hashem through the pastor’s sermons. He eventually did teshuvah. According to zionist strains of thought, this would make the church perfectly good, as well as the dating of the shiksah, etc.., since it led to something good.

    No one denies that yeshivos are funded from the state. No one denies that america funds yeshivos too, but that does not mean Jews are to believe in america’s philosophies(these are apikorsus’s that I’m sure you’d even agree to).

    A mature adult does not just do what is right in a materialistic sense. That is where you are mistaken – we prefer our souls over our bodies. One is temporary, and the other, eternal, one is lesh, the other is our essence and who we are, tied to G-d. The anti-zionist rabbonim saw through their gaonus that the medina represents something assur. It is a sin, they said, to create it, or to perform a mass aliyah. That does not negate positive benefits of it – please try to understand this.

    I simply quoted the greatest of the grerat – if you wish to dismiss the words of the chazon ish, steipler, rav hirsch, reb elchonon, rav shach, and pretty much every other leader up until recently(when the mizrachim started appreciating torah more and churned out more rabbonim and talmidei chachamim), denounced nationalism in all its forms as anti-torah.

    The ponevezher rosh yeshiva did not say we could create the state – his reaction was the same as rav ahron, and the rest of the agudah’s moetzes. He saw that as an act of hakaras hatov – much like a Jew putting out a flag on the 4th of july. It is in no way an acceptance of zionism – you’re forgettign that rav shach was also a rosh yeshiva in ponevezh, and while he davened every day for the peacweful destruction of the medina, he never stopped the flags. Gedolim thijnk differenty than you and I.

    As far as the churban goes – your zionist friends were part of the cause. The Satmar Rov used to say they made a fire, and then rescued the victims. This is written about excessively by Rav Michoel Ber Weissmandel, rosh yeshiva of Nitra. This tzadik fought tooth and nail to rescue Jews and alert them about the ensnaring zionist plots – no one listened. They all thought he was blind and so on, like yourself.

    A maysoh soton means that good things will happen. It is a test from above of our emunah in moshiach, says the satmar rov. The idea is quite simple – the medrash says that when the dor hamabul shot arrows into the sky, they saw blood come down, they thought they wounded G-d. This was the Soton’s maysoh, a way of testing them.

    Same thing happened here – if you want to say that the wars were miracles, fine! the gemara says all over the place that ovdei avodah zara are permitted to make miracles to test klal yisroel, and baalei kishuf and their ilk had always had some measure of success. This is again part of the ‘if it looks good it must be good’ materialism that plagues zionist teachings.

    Not everything that produces torah is good. If I rob a bank and use the money to support a yeshiva, I am no less a criminal. So too, the zionists – fine, they support yeshiuvos, but it does not make their crime against G-d any less severe, or any less valid. We trust Hashem for our money – we’d rather not have had the state, and had moshiach come, like the brisker rov said he would have if yidden had not tried so hard for the state after the War – moshiach wa ssupposed to come, and what came instead? The Shmad state, where more Jews died(not to mention the millions jewish babies killed by abortions) than in any other place. As Rabbi Aivgdor Miller pointed out, the state also effewctively closed off all chances of inhabiting the arab lands – as chazal say, we should not be in one place at the ssame time, since the goyim could kil us all at once that way cv’s.

    No, rather, jews take the strong-armed, baseless, military attitude of ‘never again!’ which commits the grave sin of trying to bolster the very thing that caused the holocuast, as opposeed to obeying chazal and being subservient to the nations(a sheep among 70 wolves).

    What happens derech hateva when the sheep puts on wolve’s clothes and goes at it with them? Dead sheep, that’s what.

    Hashem in His mercy saved klal yisroel – by the spiritual realtiies chazal tell us about, we should have been killed in the wars a long, long time ago. Hashem has Mercy. Don’t abuse it and misconstue it as approval. Why force midas hadin?

    The Satmar rov was not bothered by the so-called miracles one bit. Did you ever read his al hageulah veal hatemurah? He basically rips apart your whole premise(most of what I said I got from there, indirectly).

    Chacham ovadiah is not a mizrachi. The closest thing to being mizxrachi that you can find is that he stated in yabiah omer that the creation of the state did not violate the Torah. however he was(famosuly) chozer in the 80’s(and was met with a lot of flack from the zionists when this happened).

    He also quotes the Vayoel Moshe in his teshuvos, when some mizrachi asked him the tired taynoh about the Shevuous supposedly ‘expiring’, Chacham Ovadiah refers the reader to the Satmar Rov’s vayoel Moshe for the answer.

    It is also very interesting that Rav Shapira and all the other mizrachi talmidei chachamim use reb elchonon and the chazon ish for lomdus all the time, yet do not hold of them when it comes to this. He also, was not on the caliber of the chofetz chaim, reb elchonon, or any of the other gedolei hador – in halacha, it matters who says what, why he said it, and how many said like him. So far, we have a clear rov, with amazing explanations in an entire sefer, pooling very limited resources(similar to the chofetz chaim’s sefer), while there are many kashyos on the other side.

    Look at it this way – mizrachim all agree that the mitzvah of yishuv haaretz today is questionable. According to the majority of poskim, you get a mitzvah kiyumis, but even according to those who hold it is a chiyuv, they hold it is a chiuv on the individual and not on klal yisroel – why? because of the shevuous – it’s an ones mitzad din, much like how I might want to be mekayam a lulav, but I cant steal to do it. So then it comes out that if you are not a mizrachi, you have nothing to lose except maybe a mitzvah kiyumis(never mind the fact that seforim say that there are many who are not fit for eretz yisroel – it will bring them down because it intensifies everythijg done on its soil, and their actions will hurt themselves and the land) that many people shouldn’t be doing anyway.

    Sort of like an invalid wanting to do shiluach haken – it’s just too bad. Reshoim don’t have any business making aliyah.

    Rabbi Moliver was far from the stature of any of the gedolei hador I mentioned. He was the rov of a kehilla in lithuania – a rov, not a gadol hador, not the chofetz chaim, not reb chaim ozer, sorry. If this would be a shailog of shabbos, and toy dug up a shitah of rav moliver, you wouldn’t rely on him if the Mishnah berurah, reb elchonon, steipler, and chazon ish ruled differently.

    You can dig up shitos on just about anything – it doesnt change the mainstream mesorah from all segmetns of klal yisroel; yekkish, litvishe, chassidishe, sefardishe, you name it – all against the creation of the medinoh.

    There were rabonim, several, who said scuh things, but not the gedolei hador. Interesting as well is the fact that bnei torah never followed those mizrachi rabbis. Only modern Jews did, the same modern Jews who are guilty of mixed swimming, dancing, mixing of the genders on a community scale, mass abandonment of negiah and tznius, condoning and at times encouraging the learning of apikorsus, the devaluement of torah leaders and torah study, feminism, and other problems as well. I do not believe this is a coincidence. The majority of bnei torah sided with the gedolim above who were anti-zionist.

    Grada, the chazon ish writes that you can tell who the gedolim are by who the majority of bnei torah follow.

    Takes care of that problem.

    The only Gedolim who said these things were Rav Kook, and Rav JB, pretty much – the rest just followed suit and used the same (debunked) lines. Although Rav Yoshe Ber was not militant like some other rabbis in the mizrachi camp, he also didn’t refer to yeshiva people as ‘cavemen’, nor did he say arabs are all amalek(?!).

    There are explanations of these positions – I ffered one myself, and the gerrer rebbe explained Rav Kook as being so moved by his ahavas yisroel that he made errors.

    Going to the kevarim and holy sites is nice. Is it a mitzvah, like say, not violating the shevuous? No. Sorry – in normal torah thought, the fact that something allows you to do something good does not make the device permissible.

    We should all be ablke to, then, rob banks, as long as the money goes to tzedaka – this is twisted logic.

    The state is wrong because the torah says it’s wrong. It doesn’t matter what would have been lost – how do you know the arabs wouldn’t have gone democratic and been like the US, supporting the yishuv?

    Rav Baruch Kaplan wrote how the arabs only became enemies of klal yisroel because of the t6hreat sent to them by the zionists. Other gedolim, including RAV YOSHE BER said the same thing. This is, pretty much, undeniable. Here’s the quote: “Five Addresses”, by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik, p.79:

    “There has always existed a hatred of the Jew amongst the peoples of the world. Whoever was in power, Esau or Yishmael, Christians or Moslems, they pursued us. Nonetheless, in the history of jewish persecution the Moslems were always relatively better then the Christians. We do nt find tragedies such as the Jewish martyrology at the time of the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition, or the Chmelnicky massacres, in the annals of our communities in Islamic lands.

    “The position has now been radically reversed. While among the Christians one hears voices of soul searching, tens of millions of Moslems, in particular Arabs, have become Amalekites and Nazis who have engraved on their banner the call: ‘Come, let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more a remembrance” (Ps. 83,5) – far be it. it is unnecessary to dilate on this; we all know the facts.

    “What has brought about the wave of hatred that has engulfed the Moslem world? We all know it is the founding of the State of Israel.”

    Rabbi Kahane’s useless lines about the chevron massacre make one wonder if he just was ignorant of history, or what, since zionism was around way before chevron, in the 1890’s even. I’m assuming he pashut didn’t know that.

    Provoking the arabs like the zionists did is what caused their hostility and hatred – they were peacewful(the grand mufti was a good friend to the Jews before he met with Hitler and discussed a final solution of his own, this was too because of the zionists)

    If zionism hadn’t been accepted by people like you there’s no telling what would have happened. We can only speculate. The brisker rov was of the opinion that moshiach would have come – oh well, we’d rather visit kever rochel and the kosel. Anyway, I don’t see anything new in your post, just the same, old lines; I’d figure by now you’d already know the shakla vetaryah by heart.

    Calling charedim deaf is not being open to a debate, sorry. It’s just making your case an ad-hominem.

    You are correct though. Charedi Judaism believes in doing what is right according to the torah, not according to whatever will grant us better olam hazeh, even if it means sacrificing money for torah, much like one does not work on shabbos, even though he would be able to learn more if he did and had the money to support his learning. It just doesn’t fly.

    Lastly, Rav Shach, Rav Avigdor Miller, Rav Gifter, did not live 30 years ago. Still, the question of creating a state had the same torah behind it that it had 100 years ago, and 50 years ago – their opinions are the same. To say they’d be moved by miracles is just ridiculous – never do you find miracles as being an indication of something being the ratzon hashem for serious Jews. You do see this for ovdei avodah zara, who by har carmel were moved by a miracle. We follow the ratzon hashem even if it means death, my friend.

    I think that covers all of your post, if I missed something, please let me know.


  12. I also should have mentioned in my list of gedolim who have been alive in the past 30 years, Rav Moshe Shternbuch, Rav Elya Svei, Rav Elya Ber Vachtfogel, Rav Nesnael Quinn(I am told this mipi shemuah shemua), Rav Yaakov Hillel, Rav Shlomo Volbe(who was told by the chazon ish that the state of Israel is ‘perhaps the last great test before moshiach comes) – this last statement is to be found in artscroll’s ‘chazon ish’ biography.

  13. However, for the record, most gedolim today do not talk about zionism – as the religious zionists become closer to the charedim, it would be counterproductive to emphasize the torah true mesorah on zionism. It would only alienate a huge population of people, who might go off to extremists if they are not given what they want.

    This is why they rejected Rav Shach and the Satmar Rov(actually, some of their rabbis have written shailos if you are allowed to write zt’l next to the Satmar Rov’s name – this is a disgrace and absolute affront to kovod hatorah – one cannot deny the gadlus and tzidkus that all of klal yisroel knew him for because of an opinion that you do not accept). Another rabbi in their community said disgusting things about Reb Elchonon – I guess this is the only answer when zionism is at such a high priority in your mind – shoot the messenger instead of reading the letter – this rabbi said that reb elchonon was only a tzadik because he died a kiddush hashem, ve su loi, says this guy – as if anyone who knew reb elchonon, or his toiros, cares about his opinion.

    Zionism, to some people, is more important than life itself – there are actually rabbis who say that even if lives are threatened, it is worthwhile to support the medinoh – I guess zionism has no become yehereg velo yaavor, like dying for believing in hashem lehavdil!

    And of course, the exact opposite is true(according to some poskim, anyway, most do not accept this position). The Mahara”l writes in Netzach Yisroel that the shalsoh shevuous are yehereg velo yaavor.NRav Yaakov Emden says the same thing(or maybe reb yonoson eyebeshuts, I forget which) Now, the avnei nezer and reb meir simcha of dvinsk did not accept this as halacha, and neither did most other poskim. Some say that with reshus of the goyim, such an aliyah is not a violation of the shevuous, however taking over EY with a government would still be assur even according to the avnei nezer who permits the shevuah shelo yalu kechomah with reshus from the goyim(that means peacefully, not some UN resolution that was not binding on the nations which attacked the zionists right after the declaration of its independance), since there is another shevuah of dechikas hakeitz – this would still be violated because of the presence of a government.

    The answers that I’ve seen to these tainos are not very convincing to me – one rabbi calls them gezeros(which for some reason he thinks means they dont matter), he also ignores the fact that reb meir simcha clearly talked about the shevuos as binding ‘the pachad of the shevuous has passed’ means that there is a pachad, just lishitaso, the shevua of shelo yaalo bechomah is not being violated – at least at that point, before the arabs were as incensed as they became by chevron.

    The fact that there is a rabbi who writes seforim who can take the phrase ‘nofel pachad hashavuous’ and think that the shevuous were not being treated as if they were halachikally binding is ludicrous – if someone in BMG said something like this, he wouldn’t be taken seriously for a second.

    I don’t think the charedishe world has such characters. We throw them out, like the modern-day NK – Satmar on the mark lambasted them for the chilllul hashem. Why have the religious-zionists not done the same to these rabbis for their rhetoric?

  14. If you want to convert me to religious zionism, eim habanim semaycha is not the place to start – the lubavitcher rebbe said that its author was ‘far from zionism’.

    I’d suggest rav tzvi yehudah kook’s seforim, he actually addresses some of the issues at hand – however again, this is only mitzadcha. However, the answers to these tainos are to be found in the vayoel moshe.

    I always had a kashya on the satmar rov – why come on to gantze toiros on why the rambam didn’t mention the shevuous in mishneh torah(he bdid mention it, just not in the mishnah torah, he also mentions them in an obligatory fashion when addressing the taimanim, of course, shulchan aruch and tur are irrelevant as they only address halachos that apply bazman hazeh) – lechorah, it’s a pashut laav of lo yachel devaro – I dont know why, but I guess maybe the satmar rov had such a muchrach explanation and pshat of the shevuous and their lomdus that it was more than just lo yachal devaro to him, perhaps that’s the terutz.

  15. A little more info:

    Someone once asked the chazon ish about a rabbi who became tzionishe; the chazon ish’s father had made this man swear that he would not go to the zionist congress. They asked the chazon ish, why should this matter? A shevua to violatre a mitzvah is invalid(ain shevua chal al shevua, we swore at har sinai), and bby him he is swearing not to do what he thinks is the mitzvah of yishuv haaretz:

    The Chazon Ish answered, thh Mihsna says (Yoma 1:5) that they made the Koehn Gadol swear that he would not follow the Tzedukim. The Pri Chadash asks why owuld such an oath mean anythign – 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 Miztvah.

    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. therrefore, 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)
    (shkoyach to frumteens.com for the info, and for most of the other information I posted above)

  16. I forgot to add, in the nefesh horav, put together by reb hershel shechter, rav JB soloveitchik is quoted as saying that the fact that the state kills Jews is a ‘tainah chazak meod’ against it’s advocacy.

    “””Rabbi Yoshe Ber Soloveitchik was a match for most of the gdolim during the past century, in halacha and machshava—though it would have helped to know ALL the Greek, Latin and German writers and philosophers to understand his works—a Mizrachist! Amazing.””

    Amazing that secular knowledge is quoted as some element of gadlus – not in my book. To me, that’s a chutzpah. Who knows? Maybe if Reb Yoshe Ber did not learn so much oyishe stuff, he would have thought differently(rav shach said on something from reb yoshe ber that it was assur to repeat, that he was influenced by his secular knowledge). I am hardly impressed by raw intelligence.

    Anedcdotal evidence in lubavitch doesn’t mean much – they have everything from elokisten, meshechisten, and other craziness. In the rabbanus though, you will never find any zionistic activities. The last rebbe was as anit-zionist as the previous ones; he simply did not go out about it, since it would hurt his kiruv(this was the satmar rebbe’s biggest tainah on him)

    Nowhere in the rebbe’s writings is there zionistic senitment – he didn’t really talk about it much at all.

    “”Theodore Herzl z’l “””

    This is total avodah zara. Only in zionist circles to atheists and those that wanted to shmnad yidden(he wrote that) get the addition ‘z’l’

    Rhubbish. he was a rasha if there ever was one. A tzadik for making physical eforts for a land he didnt care about, for a people he thought were no different than any other goy?

    Please. Even the tzionishe rabbonim dont do that – this is why religious zionism is simply not lishmah in most of the population; it only serves as part of a grander avodah zara; nehiyeh kecol hagoyim – look, we have our own state! we’re not weird anymore! we’re normal!

    “”What would Mark Twain say if he saw them?”” Only a zionist would care about the opinion of a goy(an anti-semite, at that).

    The rest of your diatribe is about how we have something to prove to the goyim, how we need to be tough when chazal say exactly the opposite(sheep among wolves)…you sound just like the baryonim – tied to materialism, seeing nothing more than wines and wealth…your mtoives have been revealed to be the old-school avodah zara of ‘nehiyeh kechol hagoyim’

  17. Being mevatel gezeros, christian anti-semitism for instance, was done all the time – we had success before the medina, and will, im’y, have success after it. Again, you cannot violate the torah for the sake of such things – please, this is at the root of everything you said. it all comes down to a shailoh – all the nice things about israel are irrelevant if it violates the torah. That’s simple. If it is found to violate the torah, we are forced to say that like all things that are averos – this is from the soton as well. Call it a test, like the satmar rov, or the like, but something that comes through violating the torah is not good no matter what it comes with.

    Your comments about wines and such making israel legitimate are again descriptive of the core avodah zara – you want to live like a goy, except a jewish goy, with a jewish goyishe language, a jewish goyishe culture, and so on. This is not Judaism.

    Rav Saadiah gaon writes that the Jews are a nation by virtue of the torah, and the torah alone. This is our mesorah, and a part of the reason gedolim declared dati-leumi avodah zara.
    Interestingly enough, you will not hear your sentiments in reb yoshe ber’s seforim I do not think, or in rav kook – they spoke of loftier things, while still declared wrong by the majority of gedolim, they at least meant these things leshaym shomayim. You want to make a kiddush hashem to the goyim by proving how goyishe you are. Sorry, that is not a kiddush hashem – we are above all culture and above all materialism. It means nothing to us and is there to distract the goyim so they dont hunt us down and kill us.

  18. Brisker rov said H’ can do whatever He wants. He can use Zionism to bring about a teshuva movement, just as He used Christianity to bring the world closer to H’, as the Rambam writes. Nevertheless, we have to go by the torah. just as we won’t become Christians, we can’t be Zionists, because it’s against the torah.

  19. AA – it is only due to the yatzer hora for zionism that such thing pass as valid by otherwise talented, learned people. The rabbis I mentioned above who wrote nonsense, it happens, are pretty talented in other areas – yet when it comes to this, they write stuff a mesivta guy could rip apart.

  20. We can also see the rumkeit of zionism when we observe one phenomenon unique to the dati-leumi camp(or rather, parts of it):

    Take two people: one is a guy raised dati-leumi, who is totally shoer trah umitzvos, learns all day, etc.., now one day he decides that dati-leumi is not right for him – he;d rather accept the hashkafos of, say, the chazon ish or rav shach. He could be the biggest baal tzedaka, bigest tzadik – yet he will be lambasted, totally scathed as if he ere the biggest rasha in the world. I kno a professor, a modern Jew, who was denied an aliyah in his shul for writing a book about orthodox opposition to zionism – this is ludicrous. They give aliyos to people who abrogate negiah, are oiver on lo sasuru every 10 minutes, whose wives dress like shiksas, and so on – surely, they could find room to accomodate something which at least was championed by tzadikim? The answer? The yatzer hora for zionsim is strong indeed. My igh school principal, when hearing me praise a certain tzadik, who was the warmes,t most caring man in the world – a man who finished shas 63 times and knew the chovos halevavos by heart, Horav Avigdor miller zt’l, she said ‘you kno he as very against israel’ – this is the guage of who is a gadol and who isn’t, by whether they went to college and whether or not they support the state of israel – both anti-torah, or at best non-torah attitudes – total avodah zara.

    Conversely, one can be the biggest rasha and get plenty of kovod by the dati-leumi. czase in point – hertzl. Somewhere deep in gehinom, there lies this rodef, this man who wanted jews to convert to christianity, only to abandon that idea because it wouldnt stop anti-semitism – a man who would have just as easily made his state in Uganda, a man who did not believe in G-d, torah, or the holiness of eretz yisroel – a man who certainly had no ‘ahavas eretz yisroel'(whre does this thing come from anyway? where is this mitzvah to love EY?! To me it seems contrived ex nihilo)

  21. Of course, the gemora is filled with praises of eretz yisroel, and amoraim who jumped at the opportunity to eat its peiros – for ruchnius reasons, they loved its holiness. BUt nationalistically? No mekor whatsoever.

  22. #20, LOL!
    And now back to our show: I want to thank Reb Matis for taking the time to teach me a lot–really. I sincerely thank you. I don’t agree with a lot of it, and I hope to argue why, but nonetheless, I thank you for all your effort. There’s a lot there to digest. Yasher koach.

  23. sure thing shmuel – your thanks should really go to the rabbonim at naturah,and at frumteens – most of the mekoros come from them.

  24. To mattis: Ketusbim 111 also says due to the land’s great holiness it cannot tollerate sinful behavior and if this happens it will cause the inhabitents to be vomited out(G-d forbid)

    The Zionist state’s main industry is weapons, all levels of government are corrupt, some rabbis have even decided to form their own sanhedrin in order to authorize going to war (which is forbiden without a sanhedrin). Drugs, prostitution, debautchery are frequently seen in places like Tel Aviv. Even the Zionist Anthem says they want to be free, free from religion.

    At the same time alot of these Zionists have no exposure to Judaism and fall into the catagory of Jews kidnaped by idol worshipers and are not Chayiv for alot of the things they do.

    While it is alot easier to scream at them and to throw rocks in their direction, we have to use alot of Chessed to get show them Torah and Teffelin.

    I highly doubt Herzl knew anything about Judaism, we should not be so quick to condemn fellow Jews. Rabbi Akivah once said “who is worthy of criticing people in this generation?” Rebbe Nachman of Breslov says that Moshiach hasn’t come yet because people want to be correct all the time, and by focusing on peoples faults it is if you are stirring a dried piece of feces, it makes it smell worse than it is because you are agitating it.

    We need to fight darkness with light, evil with good, wickedness with Chessed and masim tovim. We cannot fight darkness with darkness.

    Through these acts of Chesed may we merit the true redemtion and return to Eretz Hakoidesh with Moshiach speedily and soon