The gemara lists a series of Oaths that klall yisroel made with hashem and some of them include
1) Not to rebel against the nations of the world
2) Not to goup to Erezt Yisroel and take it by strong force
3) Not to be docheik or be marchik the keitz.
Do these Oaths prohibit us from creating a State of Israel before moshiach comes? If their are diffrent opinions are these opinions "Eilu Veilu divrei elokim chaim" or is it definitely prohibited to create a state according to Daas Torah?
Daniel Fishman, Lawrence, America
I strongly recommend that you view or hear the video/audio shiur which Harav Moshe Chaim Sossevsky delivered on our forum on that very question. You can see or listen to it online at
Members ( www.dafyomi.co.il/member-benefits.htm ) can also download the video and audio to enjoy at their leisure.
Kollel Iyun Hadaf
I have listened to the shiur the Kollel iyun hadaf has sent me from R' Moshe Chaim Sossevsky but i am somewhat puzzled. I dont know if the whole Kollel iyun hadaf agrees with what R' Sossevsky has stated because i have some questions and i believe i have some refutations. This might be a lengthy response but i at least would like a email response back that the Kollel will look into my arguments even though it might take a while to repsond.
In my response Some sources may be taken from websites including www.jewsagainstzionism.com and www.frumteens.com and books including Vayoel Moshe, Efes Biltecha Goaleinu, and In the footsteps of the flock.
1. Rav Sossevsky had started off stating that there is a general misconception or fallacy that the difference between the Chareidim and Mizrachi/Religous Zionist side is that the Chareidi side is basically against having a independent Israel or state of israel and the Mizrachi/RZ is for having a state of israel.But he says that isn't true and really everyone agrees in having a independent Israel or Medinat yisroel other than a small group which are Satmar and the N.K. The diffrence he argues is that the Mizrachi/RZ side believe we must actively join and support the Medina/going to the army/joining with secular in order to be mikareiv them and make the state religous.But the Chareidi side is to more isolate themselves so as not have bad influences on their communities from the secular and etc.
However, i thought and i have proof that that's not the case and that most of the Chareidi side is against the creation of the Medinat Yisroel. Here are just some of the statements or sources of Gedolei Yisroel saying the Medina was assur to make:
(i) See Harav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin ZTZL in Kisvei Rav Henkin vol 2 5719 #109, vol 2 in the haskomos, vol. 1 #206, vol. 2 p. 103 where he states "I opposed with all my might the creation of the Medina" and also qoutes that it is against the 3 oaths and hashem will punish us for it,
(ii) The Stiepler ZTZL in the sefer KARYANA DEIGRATA letter # 205 writes in regard to voting in the elections of the Medina it is mutar even though the Medina was originally prohibited to make,
(iii) Harav Reuven Grozovsky ZTZL in Ba'ayot Hazman also held the creation of the medina is assur and further held it was even assur partake of the government,
(iv) The Chazon Ish ZTZL in Kovetz Igros Chazon ish pg 97 and in Mishkenos Haroim p.1195 also holds there the establishment of the State is against the 3 Oaths and assur,
(v) S"T Minchat Yitzchak in Chelek 10 Siman 10 also holds the creation of the Medina is assure and against the Oaths,
(vi) Rav Elchanon Wassermen ZTZL writes in Ikvesa Demishicha that it is assur to establish a state under the 3 oaths and that "the establishment of a state of israel is the worst thing to happen to klall yisrael in galus.",
(vii) The Brisker Rav ZTZL in Uvdos Vehanhagos lbeis habrisk v. 2 siman 140 and in Peninei Rabbeinu hagriz p.148 both show the Brisker Rav holding it is assur to establish the state of israel,
(viii) Harav Elazar M. Shach ZTZL Volume 1 letters I:12 also states the Medina was assur to be created and holds it was against the 3 oaths,
(ix) Rav Avigdor Miller ZTZL writes in many places the establishment of the state of Israel is against the torah and states in "Sing, You Righteous," 46 g."The State of Israel presents the greatest peril to Jewish existence in history.
(x) "The Toldos Ahron Rebbe in Igros Divrei Emunah p. 225 writes against it with also quoting the Oaths,
(xi) In Hapardes (Year 11, Issue 7) Rabbi Pardes describes what he saw at the 1937 Agudot Yisrael Kennisiya Gedola Convention of : "Rabbi Wasserman, Rabbi Kotler, Rabbi Rottenberg from Antwerp, rabbis from Czechoslovakia and Hungary were unanimous in rejecting any proposal for a "Jewish State"-that included "Rav [Elchonon] Wassermen ZTZL and Rav [Ahron] Kotler ZTZL,
(xii) Rav Mordechai Gifter ZTZL also blasted having a State of Israel here is link to the text of his speech http://www.jewsagainstzionism.com/rabbi_quotes/gifter.cfm
Here is an excerpt taken from the end of that speech:
"Along came today's world, in which was started a now form of anti-Semitism. It is called "anti-Zionism", and it has a reason. Truthfully, the nations of the world are speaking to us. We have to consider what form this message is taking, and that is something new, because it is made especially for us. We are being shown how much the epidemic took from Klal Yisroel. We have to awaken ourselves to the fact that Eretz Yisroel belongs to G-d. Eretz Yisroel is for Torah and Mitzvos, and not for a state. It can be a state sometime, but only when it will be to prepare the world for the Kingdom of G-d through the coming of Moshiach.
Such a state the Torah does want, and then the complete hatred of the Jews will go away. It will be as the prophet says - "and all the nations will flow unto you" - but till then, we are not allowed a state. The Torah does not want it. It is contrary to the Torah and contrary to our faith. It is completely incomprehensible how anyone can be so silly as to perform a holy dance in front of such an idol, and not to feel that with this, we are taking upon ourselves the goal of being like all the nations."
R' Sossevsky made his statement that the Chareidi opinion is for the creation of a Medina but qouted no Gedolim who said so?
2. R' Sossevsky then stated that R' Menachem Kasher wrote a monumental work on this called Hatekufah Hagedola and stated "He wasn't ostracized for it but it was a respected work."-I actually thought it was the exact opposite his work was found to be fabricated this was a well known fact here is an article which proves many fabrications in the work and how it was rejected by all Rabbanim and Gedolei Torah. There is even a book written about these fabrications (see below).
The following is copied from a posting about Hatekufah Hagedola on "ANYTHING ABOUT JUDAISM" which can be found at the following URL:
http://www.frumteens.com/topic.php?topic_id=5960&forum_id=45&Topic_Title=Zionist+Apologetics&forum_title=Zionists%2C+and+Arabs%2C+and+Eretz+Yisroel . (The comments in brackets are from the moderator of that forum.)
>>Following the mention here of the sefer Hatekufah Hagedolah by R. Mendel Kasher, and its use by many Religious Zionists as a Mareh Mokom for "religious" pro-zionist material and more recently as proof of Charedi acceptance of the "Aschalta DeGeula" concept, my attention has been brought to the sefer "MiKatowitz ad 5 B'Iyar" by well known Yerushalmi lawyer/to'en rabboni R' Zvi Weinman, who (amongst other matters) deals quite severely with the Hatekufah Hagedolah, revealing the deliberate misquotes and deletions of its author - resulting in a complete misrepresentation and falsification of the facts. Despite the respect for his monumental Torah Sheleimo, many have been uncomfortable with RMK's Mizrachi-style views as stated in HaH, and which have made him into something of an ideologue in Religious zionist circles.
At the time of its publication the tone and content of his sefer upset some and not surprisingly, the Beis Din of the Edah Charedis of that time, led by Rav Pinchos Epstein z'l, issued a warning against the reading the HaH, labelling it 'Dei'os Kozvos' [ = bogus teachings] and adding that 'shahneh minus d'moshcheh..." [= "Apikorsus is unique in that it drage people into believing it"]
But it is doubtful if even those who railed against him at the time, expected RMK to resort to doctoring and censoring material in order to 'manufacture' evidence for his ideas.
It seems surprising that a person with his vast knowledge, required the use of misleading and deceptive information to prove his case. [It is not surprising at all. Nothing in his vast storehouse of knowledge was able to support religious Zionism, and so he had to fabricate material.]
And if a layman like RZW can cut right through important historical facts of his book, one must wonder what a Talmid Chochom could do to the mareh-mekomos used in the rest of Ha"H? [ One need not wonder. The entire sefer is no better founded than that of Rabbis Aviner or Zimmerman, which is why none of the above are even taken seriously in Torah circles]
RZW goes to the heart of the Kol Koreh (recently mentioned by RSH) and printed in HaH, p.374, which is a call to vote for the Chazit Datit Me'uchedet, and featuring the notion of "Aschalta DeGeulah" following the establishment of the state of israel.
This KK is signed by chief rabbis Herzog and Uziel plus over 150 rabbis and Roshei Yeshivos - a number of them highly respected in the Charedi world.
The propaganda value of this KK can be seen from the fact that it is referred to again and again as clear and open 'proof' that even the Charedi gedolim accepted the ADG status of the new israel. (I have yet to see proof for any sighting of a repeat of this comment by these gedolim.)
However RZW goes further in his book (from p. 131) and discusses the background to this and the 2 other KK's of the time (one by the Admorim and another by Roshei Yeshivos - neither which mention Atchlta D'Geulah). He also notes that the ADG-KK was only published in the Mizrachi Hatzofeh - and NOT in the Agudist press (obviously they would have 'smelled a rat.').
Upon investigating the matter and contacting some of these signatories for their explanation, he found that they NEVER SIGNED THIS KK!
The modus operandi of the organisers for the KK was simple. They mailed out the text of that KK, notifying the recipients that anyone who does not send in an objection, will have his name added to it.
This explains - writes RZW - the signature of Rav Menachem Kooperstock, who had passed away TWO AND A HALF YEARS prior to the date on the KK!!! He simply couldn't object...
RZW comprehensively debunks RMK's statements (p.231) that "k'mat kol gedolei hatorah vechol RY's bo'oretz" accepted the concept of ADG, and (Ha"H page 387): "...kovu v'ishru 200 rabbonim miyisroel kimat kol rabbonei ho'oretz gam chavrei Agudas Yisroel (milvad HaNeturei Karta).. .hashkofas daas hatorah merabonei ho'oretz bli pipukim vechashoshos...shehakomas medina hi...kehashgocho protis min hashomayim K'ASCHALTA D'GEULA."
As already mentioned above, RZW says that these quotes from HaH are regularly used by those who need it, to prove that the Gedolei Yisroel accepted the ADG.
(Indeed, I noticed in my (borrowed) copy of HaH that RM Kasher himself considered this KK so important, that he refers the reader to it - **right at the beginning of his book** - even before his Hakodomo.)
RZW continues, that not only did he speak to the Gedolim, who denied ever signing such a KK, but - after much effort - found the original document - with the signatures...and of course the document with signatures NEVER has the words "Aschalta DeGeula" on it!
The actual words there are (reproduced in his book): "...hanitzonim horishonim shel KIBBUTZ GOLIYOS..." (The HaH version: "...hanitzonim horishonim shel ASCHALTA DEGEULA."!!!)
(Incidentally, RZW adds, that at that time no one yet had any idea that this "kibbutz goliyos" would also cause with the mass Haavora al hadass in the Olim camps.)
RZW notes (p.144) that his criticisms of the HaH were originally published in the Z'eirei Agudas Yisroel monthly Digleinu (Shvat 5738) - during the lifetime of RMK, who obviously wouldn't or couldn't respond. (This is despite the fact that at the end of his foreword, he invited comments.) For more please click here: http://www.herzl.org.il/course/1/ravi.htm
Later on (p.282) in his book, RZW brings further evidence, that RMK's bias and prejudices caused him to censor/misquote and misrepresent facts in an article in the rabanut publication Shono Beshonoh, in order to give the impression that his pro-zionist views were not in conflict with the majority of the Gedolei Yisroel.
He further brings (photostatic) proof from an article in the Rabbinic journal "Hapardes" on the Knessiya Gedola in Marienbad in 1937 reporting the 7-hour discussion on the question of a Jewish state, which was blatantly and unashamedly doctored by RMK, to give the impression that the only rabbonim against, were those from Hungary and Czechoslovakia (and conveniently deleting/censoring the names of RE Wasserman, RA Kotler and Rav Rottenberg of Antwerp.)
He also deleted the sentence that those voting against - held this view under ALL CIRCUMSTANCES - even if such a medina was built upon 'yesodos hadass', because, this (an independent state) would be "Kefirah b'emunas bias hamoshiach..." and especially one built "...al yesodos hakefirah, venimtza shem shomayim mischalell."
In page 286 he also shows how RMK in HaH distorted the words of the Gerer Rebbe (Imrei Emes) z'l at that meeting.
Another person who published (in 5729) an attack on RMK is Rav Moshe Sternbuch shlit'a who was then a Rosh Kollel, living in Bnei Brak. His main aim is the Kol Hator which RMK attached to HaH - claiming it is the work of Rav Hillel Shklaver z'l purporting to be the views of the Gr"o z'l on Inyonei Geula etc - which somehow fit in very nicely with the views of HaH.
RMS notes that the clear evidence that the entire sefer is not from the Gr"o or his students is the fact that it contains many modern Hebrew words and it is therefore unclear what is from the original and what was added later. In his opinion KH should not have been published - being a "Dovor She'eino Mesukan".
He also expresses his surpise at RMK who ignored the Cherem Hakadmonim issued by the Bes Din of Vilna after the petira of the Gr"o not to publish anything in his name without the haskomo of the Bes Din.. [Rav Moshe Sterenbuch's involvement in this is not merely due to his outrage at the Zionist distortion. He is a direct descendent of the GRA, and has spent a lot of his life deciphering his forebearer's shitos. He is something of an expert on the GRA]
RMS continues that RMK well knows the opinion of "rov minyan ubinyan gedolei hador hakodem vedorenu" (including RC Brisker, REC Meisles, RE Wasserman, RBB Leibowitz,RA Kotler and most of the gedolei Hachasidus) on these matters. But he disregards them and only brings those who are leshitoso.
RMS then goes on to prove that even in this version of KH there are many rayos which clearly disprove RMK ideas in HaH and goes as far as calling him a 'megaleh ponim beTorah shelo kehalocho"!<<
His 'maamar' runs approximately 10 pages with point after point disproving RMK's pshat in the KH and the Gr"o.
Hayotze Lonu Mizeh, that it's more than obvious that when it came to stand up for his prejudices, RM Kasher was quite prepared to openly and/or surreptitiously doctor, censor and distort the facts. Thus, LAD, his book should not be used as serious proof for any debate on matters relating to the medina and the views of the Gedolei Yisroel. And, as mentioned previously, all his rayos etc misforim vesofrim must be double and triple checked - before being quoted as "Toras Emes".
It seems to me that this need for distortion and misrepresentation shows that even this renowned Torah scholar felt that without it he could never convince the (Torah) world that an independent medina prior to bias hamoshiach was the ideal choice of the recognised gedolim.
I discussed this material with a Mordern Orthodox Rabbi, who, to say the least (after seeing RZW's book), was quite disappointed - as, until now, the HaH was for him a mekor musmach. After the initial shock however, he went as far as to tell me that it is a 'mitzvah lefarsem' these 'ha'oros'.
3. Then Rav Sossevsky gives some arguments for why the 3 oaths dont prohibit the creation of the state of israel.R' Sossevsky first suggested 1)that if the goyim break their shvua we also should be allowed to break our shvua as the shvuos can be dependent upon each other.
But I dont understand that argument at all because if one even takes a cursory glance at our seforim this whole idea is disproven.
(i) Shevet Efraim left Egypt in violation of the Oaths. Egypt surely violated their Oath when they tortured Jews for centuries. Yet Bnei Ephraim, Chazal say, were all hunted down and killed in the desert for violating their Oath by leaving Egypt early.(Rav Sossevsky even qouted this Chazal)
(ii) The Oaths are brought down l'halachah in Rishonim and Achronim(See below for a portion of the poskim who hold it lihalacha) as viable and very real. This, despite the fact that the Goyim have been violating their Oath for thousands of years.(This may include massacres such as the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans,the destruction of Beitar, the Crussades and the massacres of 1648 (Tach Vetat).How come these aren't a violation of their oaths!?
(iii) The Rambam in Igeres Taimon warns the Jews not to violate the Oaths and he writes there that the Jews are suffering an evil, persecuting government that commits atrocities and wars against the Jews, and therefore the Jews should watch out not to violate the Oath by rebelling against them. It's clear that even though the Goyim violate their Oath of not to be mishtabeid us we cannot violate ours.
(iv) The Medrash Aichah says clearly that the Romans violated their Oath, yet the generation of Bar Kochba was punished Chazal say because they violated the Oaths.So we see again that even if the Goyim break their oath we can not break ours.
(v) The Maharal writes in Netzach Yisroel end of Siman 24 that even if the Goyim force us with torturous death to violate the Oaths, we should rather submit to torturous death than violate the Oaths. Clearly, from this Maharal if the goyim break their oath of being mishtabeid us we can not violate ours.
(vi) And the Gemora itself disproves the idea, since the Gemora says that the reason Chazal commanded us not to go from Bavel to Eretz Yisroel is due to the Oaths, even though Bavel violated their Oath for sure with the atrocities they committed during the Churban (The Shulchan Aruch writes that the Brachah of Vlamalshinim was enacted to praise Hashem for destroying the evil kingdom of Bavel).
(vii) The Gemora then asks on R. Zaira who says that the Oaths only include not taking Eretz Yisroel forcefully, but the Oath not to rebel against the nations is not included. The Gemora could easily have answered that Bavel violated their Oath and therefore our Oath of rebelling against them is null. But the Gemora says no such thing.
(viii) R. Avrohom Galanti (in Zechus Avos) brings a story of the people of Portugal who wanted to defend themselves against the government by making a rebellion. The government then was making forced Shmad and all sorts of persecutions. They asked the "shem hameforash" and were told not to do it because it would violate the Oaths.
We see from all these sources even if the Goyim violate are oath we can not violate ours.The Satmar Rav ZTL in Vayoel Moshe I:75 brings the above sources and more to disprove this point. Sources also frumteens.com.
And besides all this, the second Oath, shelo yaalu b'chomah has nothing to do with the Goyim, and would not be dependent on the Goyim's Oath anyway. The Maharal and R. Yonason Eyebashitz (Ahavos Yonaton) write that even if the Goyim give us permission to take Eretz Yisroel we are not allowed to do it. Better we should die than take Eretz Yisroel, the Maharal says.
4. R' Sossevsky's second argument was that if the Goyim give us reshut or permission as he claims they did in 1917 and 1948 then that would not be violating the oaths and we can estbalish a Medina. This argument may also be disproven by our seforim because even with permission from the nations of the world we still have to keep the oaths according to authorities including-
(i) The Ramban in (Maamar Hageulah #1)
(ii) the Maharal in (Netzach Yisroel 24)
(iii) Rav Yonason Eyebushitz (in Ahavas Yonason on Parshas Vieschanan)
(iv) the Yefas Toar also say clearly that even a peaceful, with-permission ascent to EY=it is prohibited according to the Oaths.
(v) The Yafeh Kol on Shir Hashirim raba 2:7
(vi) the Bracha Meshuleshes in Chullin Perek 5 Mishna 3
(vii) Rav Bentzion Sternfeld the Rav of Bilsk (Older conetmporary of the Chofetz Chaim who's haskama is printed in the Mishna Berura) in Shaarei Tzion in Parshas Zachor siman 4, all hold even with permission from the gentiles it is still prohibited.
(viii) The Abarbanel writes in (Mashmia Yeshuah, Mevaser 2, Nevuah 3) that Hashem himself will bring us back from galus to eretz yisroel which will be permanent in contrast to the time of the bayis sheini when the jews returned to eretz yisroel by the permission of the persian emporer Cyrus which was allowed b/c it was temporary.
(ix) The Akeidat Yitzchak in shaar 26
(x) The Tzafnus Paneach on daf 199 Mahdurat R' Avraham Lieffer based on the Zeis Raanan on Yalkut Remez 227,
(xi) and furthermore the Magdanut Avraham who is the Baal Kanfei Nisharim on shir hashirim 8:4 all hold that even with permission it is still prohibited to violate the oaths.
And leaving all these Torah authorities aside the Goyim didn't even give us permission to take eretz yisroel by force-The arabs themselves who are the people living in the land and in all the lands surrounding E-Israel never gave us any permission to establish a state.In fact we did it against their will! That's why when the State was established we had to fight a war with the arabs the war of independence in 1948 where we lossed jewish lives in trying to fight for a Medina.
Furthermore, in 1917 Winston Churchill, in response to the Zionists running around telling the world that see? They said we can take Palestine as our State!, retorted that the declaration did not mean "the imposition of a Jewish nationality upon the inhabitants of Palestine as whole, but further development of the existing Jewish community." In other words, a safe home for Jews to live within Palestine, but not a Jewish State.
See also: www.whistlestop.org/study_collections/israel/large/folder4/isd07-4.htm you will find a letter from Freda Kirchwey to Chaim Weizman. The following is an excerpt therefrom:
"The Jews based their claim to the right to go to Palestine on the Balfour Declaration....[but] The question of a "national home" can be subject to many interpretations. it is hard to believe that the British government, using the words "national home" in 1917 had any idea that there should be created a Jewish State in Palestine without regard to the rights of the large Arab majority living there".
5. R' Sossevsky compared the times being ok to make a medina because the times are "Pekida" the 1st stage of the geuala out of the 3 stages of the geula 1)pekida,2)koshi shibood,3)Geula. He states the time is Pekida because the fruits of eretz yisroel blossom so we can create a medina since the Oaths are "ad shetechpatz"-but if we have some type of indication then we must go up. He stated it could have been the time of Pekida because it is comparable to Koresh's permission. He stated the very fact we were given permission in 1917 or 1948 makes it comparable to Koresh's permission and stated "its exactly how it happened in the times of Koresh."
Firstly i have proved already with a list of authorities above that even with permission it is assur to violate the oaths. Secondly, The Ramban explicitly disproves the idea that its comparable to Koresh's time when he gave permission.The Ramban in Maamar Geuala (at the end of chapter #1) says that when Koresh gave permission for jews to return to Eretz Yiisroel that was ONLY for a small amount of jews in bavel (about 1500) because they had a EXPLICIT PROPHECY to return.But those who did not have a prophecy to return-did not return because that would be a VIOLATION OF THE OATHS. That means by Koresh those jews were allowed only because they had a Nevua that galus ended but there was no nevua in 1948.This Ramban even holds with any permission of the Goyim it is prohibited to violate the Oaths (but only by koresh was it allowed because the jews then had nevua.)
Plus the idea is completely disproven by the Abarbanel .The Abarbanel writes in (Mashmia Yeshuah, Mevaser 2, Nevuah 3) that at the time of the future redemption Hashem himself will bring us back from galus in contrast to the time of Bais Sheini when the jews returned to eretz yisroel by the permission of the persian emperor Coresh.That settlement,since it was established at the command of a mortal human being, was temporary; it came to an end with the destruction of the Second Temple 420 years later.But the future settlement will be established by Hashem himself and therefore it will be permanent.
But even without all these facts there was no permission by the Goyim to establish the state of Israel The state was created against the will of the Arabs who were the people and residents living in the land at the time.The UN is not the Sanhedrin hagadol that speaks for everyone.On top of this Stern Gangs,Hanagnahs and Irguns and a War of Independence was waged in order to create the State of Israel which hardly constitutes a peaceful ascent. The fact is violence and bloodshed took place as a result of the Creation of the State of Israel that's not peaceful at all which even supports the fact the Creation of the State was a violation of the Oaths as the Gemara itself states if we violate the Oaths we will be punished and people will die.
--And about what R' Sossevsky was saying to this about the fruits we see if fruits blossom which they did before 1948 then that's pekida because the oaths are only "ad shetechpatz"-we have a sign geuala is happening so we dont have to keep the Oaths.-- Just look at mostly all the meforshim that talk about "Ad shetechpatz" for starters Rav Yonason Eybeshutz in Ahavos Yonasan as qouted above- That means until "she desires"-until the time arrives when the earth will be filled with knowledge which is when Hashem will come and redeem us as it says "say to the cities of Judah, here is your God"-he himself will come and redeem you. --During that time when hashem redeems us one factor may be that the fruits of eretz yisroel will have a special blossoming, but that is not a indication it is the exact time
6. Here is just a portion list of the Poskim (some of whom were already cited above) who bring down the 3 oaths which i am qouting to support one of my claims above and for sources the Kollel can look at:
(i) The Piskei Riaz (Kesuvos 111) on the spot,
(ii) Responsa Rivash #110,
(iii) Responsa Rashbash #2,
(iv) Megillas Esther on Sefer HaMitzvos of Rambam,
(v) Ramban (Maamar HaGeulah #1 regarding why all Jews outside of Bavel - the majority of Jews at the time - did not go to Eretz Yisroel at Coresh's call),
(vi) Rambam (Igeres Taimon - warning peple not to violate the Oaths or else face grave danger), (vii) Maharal (Netzach Yisroel end of 24) writes that even if the Goyim try to force us to take Eretz Yisroel for ourselves during Golus, we must allow ourselves to be killed rather than take violate the Oaths.
(viii) The Kaftor ViPherach (Perek 10 daf 197),
(ix) Responsa Maharshdam Chelek Choshen Mishpat Siman 364 daf 60b,
(x) Peat Hashulchan Hilchos Eretz Yisroel Siman 1 seif 3,
(xi) Otzar Hachaim Kitzur taryag Mitzvot 59,
(xii) Reponsa Chatam Sofer Yoreh Deah Siman 220,
(xiii) the Siddur Yaavetz (Rav Yakov Emden) see the Hirsch siddur pg .703 qouted on pg.137,
(xiv) in a teshuva on Mitzvat Yishuv eretz yisroel from the Gadol of Minsk Hagaon R' Yerucham Y.L. Pearlmen ZTZL Bsini Krach 6 page 213,
(xv) Aruch Hashulchan in Choshen Mishpat Siman 2 seif 1,
(xvi) Roggachevor Gaon in Tikun Olam, printed in Munkatch, at the beginning of the sefer, and in Responsa Tzofnas Paneach 143 ot 2,
(xvii) Rav Shmuel Salant in Gilyon Tzefunos, year 3 koveitz 1,pg 46,
(xviii) Teshuvos Minchat Elazor Chelek 5 siman 12
I think i have refuted all the arguments made in the lecture -- but these arguments were refuted long before me and most prominetly by the Satmar Rov and almost all Gedolei Yisroel. So i was wondering: are there any accepted Gedolim who held it was/is permitted to establish a medina? I already showed above a list of Gedolim (Chareidi) all against the Medina. Maybe the kollel can show my response to R' Sossevsky or deal on it on their own.
Daniel Fishman, Lawrence, New York, USA
Dear Rav Fishman, Shalom U'vracha!
Firstly, thank you for all the sources you provided. While I was aware of many, you certainly added to my storehouse of knowledge significantly.
I must apologize for not responding sooner but your letter was a rather lengthy one and my time restraints are such that I was simply not able to get around to it until now. Because I am even now under great schedule restraints, I will try to be as succinct as I can be in addressing your points.
1. I will begin with your opening comment regarding my claim that the Charedi world supports an independent State with the exception of Neturei Karta and Satmar. You challenged this via the many sources you cite who wrote that the founding of the State went against the "Oaths."
Please realize that I do not state that the entire Charedi world was for the process and is comfortable with a State that is led by people so disconnected with anything approaching Torah values. The question is the following: Let us assume that the process went against the Oaths (which, I will argue, may not be the case). How do we relate to the State of Israel? Do we see it as something that was sinful because it breached the oaths and, therefore, should *ideally be undone*, or as a gift from Hakadosh Baruch Hu who, in his tremendous kindness, allowed us to be back in our land and independent, even if much of the suffering in the years immediately prior to this may have been caused by the breach of the oaths.
It is regarding this point that I contend that the Charedi world views the establishment of an independent Eretz Yisrael as an enormous Chesed from Hakadosh Baruch Hu, despite its nature or origin. The notable exceptions to this point of view are Neturei Karta and Satmar.
I once made a Shivah call in Bnei Brak where the Avelim and most of the Menachamim were Charedi "Bnei Brakers" (some of them Mechabrei Sefarim). They were reminiscing about the day of the founding of the state and were describing with nostalgia the tremendous joy and dancing of the day. (It is well known that in the early years after the founding of the state, the Israeli flag flew over Yeshivas Ponevezh on Yom ha'Atzma'ut.)
Indeed, although you list Rav Shach ZT"L as one of the Gedolim who felt that the founding of the State went against the "Oaths," he is oft quoted as saying that once the State was founded we are to participate in it politically and otherwise.
My understanding of his position is as suggested above. The events leading up to the redemption may well determine whether the process of redemption will be painful or smooth. Nevertheless, a process it is and, therefore, we have to be grateful to Hashem for what he gave us. This position is borne out by the words of the Vilna Gaon describing what the Ge'ulah will entail (as described later in this response).
We can find a parallel to this in the Ge'ulah from Mitzrayim. According to the Ramban, we were exiled to Mitzrayim due to the sins of Avraham Avinu (however we are to understand them). The immediate event which brought us to Mitzrayim was the sin of selling Yosef ha'Tzadik. The process of Yetzi'as Mitzrayim involved great suffering prior to the Ge'ulah. Yet this does not diminish the greatness of the redemption in the least.
While I understand that one can distinguish between the case of the "oaths" and the above, I nevertheless believe the argument to be a valid one, and that this is the way most of the Charedi world relates to the State.
2. All of the above is based on accepting your assumption that the modern day State constitutes a transgression of the three Oaths. However, I argued in my Shiur that there is ample room to contend that it does not constitute a breach of the Oaths since the Oaths were not meant to be mutually exclusive of each other but interdependent. As the Shulchan Aruch (YD 236:6) rules, when one party transgresses an oath the second party is also freed from its obligations. Therefore, once the nations broke their oath we were freed from ours.
This is argued by Rabbi Shlomo Kluger, among others, who states that at the point that Shibud Mitzrayim intensified to the degree that Mitzrayim tried to annihilate Klal Yisrael by drowning their sons, Klal Yisrael was freed from the oaths and were allowed to be Tzo'ek Yoser Midai. (This was at a fairly late stage of Galus Mitzrayim. The revolt of the Bnei Efrayim that led them to die on their way to Eretz Yisrael transpired earlier).
You argue that at many points in history, the nations persecuted us and, nevertheless, we were unable to transgress our oaths, as the sources you cited indicate.
I believe that you may have missed the most important point of "the Oaths." The Oaths do not obligate the nations to be nice to us. They simply state "u'Bilvad she'Lo Yishtabdu Es Yisrael *Yoser Midai*." The wording presupposes that Galus will not be a picnic. Halachah Hi she'Esav Soneh Es Ya'akov, and there will be persecutions and even pogroms from time to time. Yet Klal Yisrael not only survived Galus in the lands of their domiciles, but thrived both physically and spiritually throughout most of them.
Hence, despite our sufferings, we were expected to be Makir Tov to our host nations - much in the same manner as the Torah tells us not to hate Mitzrim since they provided us with a place to live in Mitzrayim. It was only when they attempted to annihilate us that we were allowed to plan our exit and rebel against them.
There can be no doubt that the Holocaust was an attempt at total annihilation. It unquestionably constituted a Shibud Yoser Midai, rightfully freeing us from our Oaths. (The fact that the Churban was such an event has no relevance, since the Oaths are meant to govern our relationship with the nations in Galus and have no relevance to the Churban of Eretz Yisrael.)
Someone related to me that a certain Rav once stated in a Derashah that Galus Mitzrayim was surely as horrific a Galus as the Holocaust. At that point a Holocaust survivor, in absolute rage, rolled up his sleeve to show the tattoo numbers on his arm and yelled at the Rav, "In Auschwitz nobody ever said, 'Let us turn back and go to Auschwitz,' as they did in Mitzrayim."
(Besides, there is an obvious difference between regular oaths and the "Three Oaths." Neither Klal Yisrael nor the Umos ha'Olam actually took oaths. It was Hakadosh Baruch Hu who wove these "oaths" into our history, having them govern our relationship with the nations of the world. In essence, the oaths warn that should we try to take Eretz Yisrael by force or rebel against our host nations, we will become free game (Hefker k'Ayalos ha'Sadeh) and the process of redemption will be a very painful one. It does not mean that it is not a process of redemption, or that we do not have to be grateful when Hakadosh Baruch Hu does bring us back to Eretz Yisrael. As is replete in the writings of the Vilna Gaon and others, Chazal speak of two scenarios for the ultimate process of redemption: one of "Achishena," if we merit it - which would be a glorious process, and "b'Ito," which is initiated by "Gezeiros k'Haman." Thus, the oaths foretell our history, rather than obligating us to behave in a certain way.)
3. In your letter you mention that, in his enthusiasm, Rav Menachem Kasher resorted to deception to make his points in ha'Tekufah ha'Gedolah. You also objected to the process used to accumulate the consent of Rabanim and Roshei Yeshivos regarding the Kol Koreh. You claim that there was indeed objection to Kasher and his works. You also call into question the authenticity of the Vilna Gaon's opinions on the topics presented by Kol ha'Tor.
It is indeed unfortunate if Rav Kasher's enthusiasm led him to present his material the way he did. However, while there may have been some criticism of his ha'Tekufah ha'Gedolah (you indicate that the "Eidah" issued a statement against it), in general he was not ostracized for it and his stature was hardly diminished for having written it.
The manner in which the signatures were collected, while not ideal, nevertheless offers an accurate consensus on the matter. (Let's face it, it would have been hard to have gone around and gathered signatures from everyone personally.) Despite the fact that such a process can comically lead to someone long dead signing on, the process has validity. I have no doubt that on a matter of such import as the Kol Korei, when told that failure to object to the use of their names constitutes their agreement, most people would vociferously object to the use of their name. This did not happen, certainly not widely.
In your letter you attribute great significance to the fact that the term Aschalta d'Ge'ulah was presented instead of Kibutz Galuyos. While I appreciate your point, there is not much difference between them. The Ramban states that once Klal Yisrael will return to Eretz Yisrael, there will not be a third Galus. (This point is clearly evident from the verse in Amos, "v'Lo Yenatshu Od Yisrael me'Al Admasam.") Thus, once one agrees that Jews are returning to Eretz Yisrael (and that has certainly taken place over the last sixty years), then the process of Ge'ulah becomes an irreversible one. (See also Ha'amek Davar on Devarim 30:3, who writes, based on the Ramban, that first there will be a limited Kibbutz Galuyos through the *permission of the nations*, followed by a further level.)
In terms of the authorship of Kol ha'Tor and its questionable presentation of the views of the Vilna Gaon on the matter, I am aware of the problems with Kol ha'Tor. Today, however, a plethora of writings of the Vilna Gaon exist on the topic (as well as writings of the Ramchal, whose views largely conform with those of the Vilna Gaon). Many are published in the original works of the Vilna Gaon. As these have never been republished, they could not possibly have been doctored. Based on the material presently available, there can be no doubt that the views of the Vilna Gaon presented in Kol ha'Tor were indeed his.
It is recommended to see the Sefer "Acharis k'Reishis" by R. Aryeh Shapiro from the Old City of Jerusalem. (It was printed with the Haskamos of a number of Gedolei Yisrael.) The Sefer is based exclusively on the words of the Vilna Gaon and the Ramchal regarding Ge'ulah ha'Asidah. You will be quite shocked at the forcefulness of their views regarding our topic.
In essence, the Sefer contends that the present Tekufah is beyond Aschalta d'Ge'ulah and well into the Tekufah of "Mashiach ben Yosef." According to the Vilna Gaon, Mashiach ben Yosef does not represent a particular individual, but rather refers to the physical buildup of Eretz Yisrael, "v'Yosef Hu ha'Mashbir . . ."
4. You contend that the fruits produced by Eretz Yisrael do not indicate a specific Pekidah. Rather, when Hashem will redeem us, one factor of the Ge'ulah may be that "the fruits of Eretz Yisrael will have a special blossoming." I wish to present two points.
Firstly, Chazal comment that, "Ein Lecha Ketz Megulah m'Zeh." It is not just a factor, but an absolute sign of the Ge'ulah approaching. This is further indicated by the Gemara in Berachos and Megilah where Chazal placed Birkas ha'Shanim immediately prior to Kibutz Galuyos to indicate that once one occurs the other follows. (You yourself admit that we have witnessed a Kibutz Galuyos in our time.)
Furthermore, it can be shown that the physical development of Eretz Yisrael is not just a factor but indeed a precise indication of the time of Pekidah.
Chazal (Shabbos 145) interpret the Pasuk "me'Of Ad Behemah Nadedu Halachu," as saying that for a period of 52 years (the Gematriya of Behemah), Eretz Yisrael was totally desolate with neither bird nor animal treading upon it. (Apparently Chazal learned this from the order of animals in the Pasuk. If Eretz Yisrael was not habitable enough for a bird to merely fly by it, then it was certainly not habitable for animals, who would have to dwell in the land and survive there. They therefore explained that "Ad Behemah" alludes to a 52 year period of desolation. The Navi switched the order of Of and Behemah to allow for this Derashah.)
Rashi comments that the fifty-two year period in this Derashah exactly coincides with the fifty-two year period from the Churban to the Pekidah of Koresh. Once the Pekidah came, even though it was almost immediately rescinded by Koresh due to the protests of the Tzarei Yehudah u'Binyamin, Eretz Yisrael started the process of building itself physically in order to prepare for Klal Yisrael's return. It is, therefore, not surprising that Chazal instituted the Berachah of Kibutz Galuyos after Birchas ha'Shanim.
5. You state that since there is no Navi today there cannot be a legitimate Pekidah.
The Rambam (Hilchos Melachim) writes that a legitimate Malchus must be established by a Navi. Yet, the Rambam himself (in Hilchos Megilah and Chanukah) views the establishment of Malchus Chashmona'im as part of the miracle of Chanukah (unlike the Ramban who felt Malchus Chashmona'im to be sinful since it was not from Shevet Yehudah). In his description of the miracle, he calls it a "return of Malchus" to Yisrael. (In Hilchos Melachim his opinion is that although there can be legitimate Malchus from other Shevatim as well, only Beis David has the "Keser" Malchus.)
What happened to the Rambam's stipulation that Malchus must be initiated by a Navi? (He does not limit this requirement to Malchus Yehudah.) How could Malchus Chashmona'im have been legitimate if there were no Nevi'im in the time of the Chashmona'im?
There are other answers proposed to this question (which may also apply to our days), but the most likely answer is that Pesukim in Chagai and Zechariah allude to Malchus Chashmona'im, and if it is alluded to in the Navi, it is also considered "Al Pi Navi." (There are other proofs to this concept which I will not discuss due to time constraints.) The Vilna Gaon derived that "Pekidah" is one of the stages in the "Ge'ulah ha'Asidah" from Tanachic sources. Therefore it is not required that a Navi initiate it in person; the fact that it has its source in Navi is sufficient.
6. You comment that permission was not granted by the nations for our return to Eretz Yisrael. This is, I believe, a distortion of history. The British, *not the Arabs*, had control over the land. Whether or not there was a misunderstanding vis a vis the establishment of a Jewish State, the British failed to act upon this misunderstanding and accepted the Jewish State as a fact.
Furthermore, the issue was voted upon by the United Nations. Much of the international consent to the State was based on the U.N.'s acceptance of the state.
7. Now to get to what I believe is the crux of our issue.
Honestly speaking, the major concern that the State of Israel constitutes a violation of the "Oaths" is based on the fact that the State, rather than being a Torah entity, is closer to the opposite. How could a legitimate Aschalta d'Ge'ulah take place through a State that tramples upon the very values that our concept of Ge'ulah entails? This is indeed a highly troublesome issue. Let us try to analyze some of the sources concerning this issue.
(1) In Zechariah 3:1-3 (the Haftorah of Shabbos Chanukah), Yehoshua Kohen Gadol (who, together with Zerubavel ben Shaltiel led Klal Yisrael at the beginning of Bayis Sheni) is on trial in the Heavenly Court. Chazal say that he was on trial because his children had intermarried in Bavel. Hakadosh Baruch Hu rebukes the prosecuting Satan with the following statement, "Yig'ar Hashem b'Cha ha'Satan v'Yig'ar Hashem b'Cha ha'Bocher b'Yerushalayim, ha'Lo Zeh Ud Mutzal m'Esh."
Various Mefarshim (Radak, Ibn Ezra, Mahari Kra, etc.) explain this to mean that Hashem is not interested in the trial because he wants to build Yerushalayim. Since Yehoshua is the one through which this can be accomplished, Hashem is not interested in having Yehoshua prosecuted. Furthermore, since Yehoshua was saved from the fire when thrown into the cauldron with Chananya, Misha'el and Azaryah (Mahari Kra) and had suffered so much already, Hashem refused to prosecute him (Ibn Ezra).
I believe the message ought to be clear. When Hashem wants to build up Eretz Yisrael, he uses any and all the vehicles through which He can accomplish this, even if they are not worthy of it. Additionally, when there are so few who were saved from the "burning cauldron," He will proceed to save the remnant of Israel and ignore the logic of the prosecution.
Sefer Acharis k'Reishis quotes a Medrash which states that many Jews who lived at the time of Bayis Sheni did not have faith in the Ge'ulah of that time. They argued that a Ge'ulah could not be brought about through Koresh, a gentile. Could not Hashem have accomplished it through Daniel (who was alive at the time)? The above Medrash clearly indicates that we cannot raise such issues.
(2) Look at the Malbim's introductory remarks to Chagai 1:1. He states that Klal Yisrael was not worthy of redemption at the time of Bayis Sheni, but Hashem nevertheless sent them a Pekidah in the time of Koresh to save the remnant in Galus who were intermarrying and forgetting their Torah and their language.
Nevertheless, he writes, had they done a complete Teshuvah, and had they all come back to Eretz Yisrael, Bayis Sheni would have been the ultimate Ge'ulah. Since they did not all come back and did not properly repent, Bayis Sheni ended up not being the ultimate Ge'ulah. (The Ge'ulah of Bayis Sheni was dependent on the "en masse" return of Klal Yisrael - see Yoma 9a based on Shir Ha'Shirim 8, "Im Chomah Hi, Nivneh Aleha Tiras Kasef.")
One can draw a comparison to our times. Hakadosh Baruch Hu may have found it necessary to bring us back to Eretz Yisrael even though we did not deserve it in order to halt the intermarriage and loss of Jewish identity which certainly plagues our times.
You comment about the persecutions of the Zionist camp against religious Jews (you mention Teheran). This is true and was truly tragic. Yet it is also true that while in America and elsewhere in the West intermarriage is at a deplorable level and threatens the future existence of the great majority of Klal Yisrael, it is almost non-existent in Israel, even among the secular population! Not only in Israel, but all over the world, the level to which a person identifies with Eretz Yisrael (and, unfortunately, not with Torah) is the only factor that curbs the total loss of Jewish identity.
(3) According to Sefer Acharis k'Reishis, both the Vilna Gaon and the Ramchal state that according to tradition all the Galuyos will share the threefold process of a) Pekidah, b) Koshi ha'Shibud and c) Ge'ulah. They furthermore state that the Pekidah of the Ge'ulah ha'Asidah will be similar to the Pekidah at the time of Koresh which was brought about through the permission of the Umos ha'Olam.
The Vilna Gaon also states clearly that the leadership of Eretz Yisrael and the majority of Klal Yisrael at the beginning of this process will be non-religious. (Considering that the Vilna Gaon wrote this a few hundred years ago, when the concept of secular Jews was just about non-existent, his words are all the more remarkable.)
The Vilna Gaon explains, Al Pi Kabalah, why this has to be the case and why it will be a necessary part of the process of the Ge'ulah. (I imagine that he is talking about a Ge'ulah of b'Ito, and not of Achishena.) He does, however, state that while this is a necessary stage of the beginning of the process, these non-religious will be the ones who will hold back the ultimate Ge'ulah of Mashiach ben David, and therefore, are to be challenged and fought. (It is interesting that even Rav Kook, who had tremendous confidence that the secularists will ultimately be affected by the innate sanctity of Eretz Yisrael, wrote, that if it will not happen to them, the very builders of the Land will at one point become its worst enemies. We see today how anxious they are to give away as much of Eretz Yisrael as possible.)
As I mentioned, the Sefer Acharis K'Reishis has the Haskamah of some of the most prominent Gedolim of the Charedi world. Being quite close to one of them, I know personally that these are indeed his own views.
The Vilna Gaon's and the Ramchal's writings carry an important message to both the Charedi and the Mercaz Ha'Rav -Leumi camp.
Most of the Charedi world shows little or no interest in the plight of their brethren in the Leumi camp because they feel that what they believe in is anti-Torah even though many of the latter are Lomdei Torah and true Yir'ei Shamayim. Despite differences in dress code, there is little difference today between the level of Mitzvah observance found in students of Mercaz Ha'Rav Kook and Charedim. The Mercaz camp is uniquely exemplary in their Midos Bein Adam l'Chaveiro.
Hence, it is shocking that almost nobody protested or even said Tehilim over the plight of the evacuees of Gush Katif.
I know personally that a number of Gedolim tried to get the support of Rav Elyashiv to organize a Kenes Tefilah on behalf of the evacuees. (I was told that Rav Elyashiv said that he cries and is Mispalel for them constantly, but could not declare such an event because of the rift it would cause in the Charedi camp). Others gave Shiurei Chizuk at the relocated Yeshiva of Gush Katif. Unfortunately, because of our prejudices we failed to be Mishtatef b'Tza'aran on the loss of their homes and Parnasos, for which we will certainly have to give a Din v'Cheshbon.
Equally important, the Gra's writings offer a message to the Mercaz Ha'Rav-Leumi camp that at some juncture they must seriously challenge the secular leadership of this country. While initially the secular leadership helped build Eretz Yisrael, it is presently hindering the completion of the ultimate Ge'ulah. This lesson is rapidly penetrating that camp in the aftermath of Gush Katif.
8. In conclusion, there are two opposing views relating to the events of the past century vis a vis the creation of the State of Israel. One is that it constituted a transgression of the Shalosh Shevu'os. The other is that it did not, either because the nations did not keep their Shevu'ah or because it represented some measure of Pekidah. As mentioned above, the Vilna Gaon and Ramchal's formulations of the process of Ge'ulah ha'Asidah lend credence to the second view.
I wish to close with the following observation. Despite the fact that the Bnei Efrayim erred in their calculations as to the Ge'ulah from Mitzrayim, Hakadosh Baruch Hu was kind to them, apparently appreciating their longing for Eretz Yisrael despite their error. (This despite the fact that Aaron, who was a Navi in Mitzrayim before Moshe's return, most likely told them not to go). One opinion in the Gemara at the end of Sanhedrin states that the dead who the prophet Yechezkel brought to life were these Bnei Efrayim, who came to life and proceeded to settle in Eretz Yisrael.
Similarly, the Ma'apilim who insisted, against the explicit warnings of Moshe Rabeinu, to fight for Eretz Yisrael in the aftermath of the Meraglim, were treated with kindness. Thus, according to one opinion in the Gemara, although the father of Benos Tzelofchad was one of the Ma'apilim, a special Parshah in the Torah guaranteed that his daughters would be assured a portion in Eretz Yisrael. We do not find that similar kindness was shown to those who erred in the other direction.
Once more, I would like to thank you for your communication. May we be Zocheh to the true and final Ge'ulah speedily in our time.
Moshe Chaim Sosevsky