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ZIONISM / ANTI-----r yaakov kamenetsky ztl

I was reading a book over Shabbos by Artscroll, entitled "Reb Yaakov," a biography of R' Yaakov Kaminetzky ZT"L. R' Yaakov seems to take a different approach to Zionism. I'll quote the relevant passage, please try to respond if you have time and are comfortable discussing it:

"The State of Israel was one example he gave of the need to replace kana'us (zealotry) with a more balanced view.

One the one hand, he fully endorsed a letter issued by Rabbi Eliezer Shach on the eve of Agudath Israel entering the governing coalition in Israel in 1977, which called upon the religious community not to be carried away by enthusiasm for a state founded as a secular state...At the same time, he disagreed with the view of the Satmar Rebbe that the miraculous Israeli victory in 1967 was the work of the sitra achra (satanic forces):

"I deny that miracles can emanate from a destructive satanical force. Miracles of such magnitude can only be performed by a force for good."

"Reb Yaakov felt that, but for the creation of the State in 1948 a million Jews would have become assimilated as a result of the despair that followed the Holocaust and attributed the renascence of Soviet Jewry to the miraculous Israeli military victory in 1967. If only the Israel government had also recognized Hashem's miraculous deliverance in 1967, he added, history would have been changed."

How do you evaluate this? R' Yaakov was pretty frum I think....


The question of Zionisom is whether the creation of the State of Israel was permitted according to the Torah. With the small exception of the Mizrachi, all of Orthodoxy said it was not. Nothing in Rav Yaakov ZT"L's statement contradicts that. Rav Yaakov ZTL also held the State of Israel was prohibited to have been made - a violation of Torah and a rebellion against Hashem. Nothing in the quote you bring even discusses that.

Rather, the issue Rav Yaakov is discussing there is whether an act committed against the Torah could also, even miraculously, bring benefit to Klall Yisorel. This is also a controversy, and Rav Yaakov apparently sided with the minority who held that such a thing is possible.

Rav Yaakov is not saying G-d wanted the State of Israel, but rather that G-d miraculously caused the creation of the State of Israel to do some wonderful good for Klall Yisroel. That is, to prevent assimilation. This is similar to the Rambam's statemnt that Christianity did wonderful things for the Goyim by teaching them monotheism. The Rambam also said that Christianity is idolatry.

It's not a contradiction. Even something that is prohibited can do good. And Hashem, Rav Yaakov is saying, can even take a terrible sin and manipulate events so that instead of total destruction coming from it, Hashem can miraculously make it happen in a way will help people do good in the world.

But all this has to do with what G-d did, that is, to make sure the State is created in a time and manner that will keep Jewish identity going for many Jews. It does not justify what humans did, namely, to create the State in the first place.

The part about a "balanced" outlook was not Rav Yaakov talking, but the author of the book interpreting what Rav Yaakov said. And it does not mean to have a less opposed view of Zionism, it just means to believe that Hashem can cause even the anti-Torah actions of the Zionists to cause good.

Of course, even this statement of Rav Yaakov is not universally accepted.

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