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ZIONISM / OATHS-----the oaths

MODERATOR Posted - 30 May 2002 19:49

The following Q was posted by MusicMan is a different forum. I am moving it here:

Hey Moderator - I posted these questions elsewhere but I think the topic may have been discontinued. Anyhow, the two questions are as follows:

1) What is the orthodox Jewish view on Israel? I see a lot of posts saying what it is NOT - but what IS it?

MODERATOR Posted - 31 May 2002 2:56

In order to understand the great significance Eretz Yisroel plays in the Torah, we need some background on the very fundamentals of Judaism.

The purpose of the entire world is for us to do Mitzvos, thereby meriting the Final Paradise (Olam Habah) which is what the world will be when Moshiach comes.

Currently, Hashem cannot (kavyochol) send Moshiach, the reason being the world is not ready for it. That means not only the people, but the very world itself. The world is much too unspiritual now, to be able to exist in the atmosphere of spiritual energy that Moshiach will bring. In a nutshell, if Moshiach would come now, it would be like being nuked.

Our job, given to us by Hashem, is to condition ourselves and the world, raising it to a sufficient level of spirituality that it will be ready and fitting for the spiritual energy of Acharis HaYamim (i.e. the post Messianic era).

We do this by performing Mitzvos and learning Torah. The spiritual energy generated by Torah and Mitzvos sanctifies us and the world, raising it higher and higher until it reaches the point where it is ready for Moshiach.

Eretz Yisroel was designed in a very specific spiritual way, in order to assist us in this task. It is imbued with a "sensitivity" to every act of spiritual significance done within its territory, and, through the medium of the Bais HaMikdash and the service done therein, directs that energy throughout the world, thus sanctifying every inch of it, conditioning it for Acharis HaYamim.

You can say that the acts of the Jews provides the energy, and Eretz Yisroel provides the conduit, the arteries that connect the energy generated by us throughout the world.

Eretz Yisroel also has the ability to amplify the energy of any act of spiritual significance done within its borders. So not only does EY provide the conduit to sanctify the world, it also enhances the spiritual energy that we generate at the same time.

NOTE: The above applies not only to Mitzvos, but to aveiros as well. Because of this amplification power of EY, any Mitzvah done in EY is greater than an equal Mitzvah done in Chutz La'Aretz, AND aveirah done in Eretz Yisroel is worse than an equal aveirah done in Chutz LaAretz.

Thus, EY is the best place for Tzadikim and the worst place for Reshayim.

In fact, the land itself, because of its sensitivity to the acts of our souls, is affected by our Mitzvos and Aveiros. When we do Mitzvos in EY we enhance the sanctity of the land. When an aveirah is done in Eretz Yisroel, it pollutes the land, stripping it of its sanctity.

What was supposed to happen then, is that we would fulfill the Torah in EY until the world would be ready for Acharis HaYamim.

Unfortunately, we messed up. We sinned. And the spiritual energy that was generated was no longer strong enough to sanctify the world. EY is the arteries, but Klall Yisroel is the heart. If the heart isn’t pumping, the arteries are useless. Never mind the fact that they get clogged up due to our mistreatment of them.

We were no longer able to do our job from within EY. EY as a homeland no longer served any purpose for the nation. We became too spiritually weak for the land.

We were no longer accomplishing our job by being there.

So we went into Golus, to be spread all over the world to MANUALLY sanctify it all over, where previously we were supposed to do it long distance. We lost the ability to use EY to fix the world, but we can do it ourselves, locally, by being all over the world and doing Mitzvos

Hashem gave us the land ON CONDITION that we keep the Torah. We broke the condition so Hashem took away the land. Mipnei Chataeinu Galinu M'Artzeinu.

Whether there is a Mitzvah for individuals to live in EY during Golus is a disagreement in the Poskim. But everyone agrees that as a nation, we no longer have any homeland.

But Jews in Golus are out of their natural environment, which is connected to EY. We have no choice - it’s the only way to accomplish our mission in this world, but there’s a problem:

The Jewish nation was not designed to live in Golus. We were designed to live as a nation in EY. We have no choice currently because it’s more important to fulfill our mission in the world, but because we are not on "home ground" we are like a sheep among 70 wolves.

In Golus the Goyim have the upper hand - and that includes within the borders of EY also, nowadays that Golus has occurred. In our unnatural state of being, we are like living every day with our head in the mouth of the lion. What are we to do to survive?

Hashem told us. He gave us instructions on how to survive Golus. If we do this, we will survive. If not, death and annihilation await us. To quote Chazal "[G-d will] allow your flesh to be hunted like animals in the field."

The instructions are: Shelo yaal bachomah - Do NOT go back to Eretz Yisroel as a national homeland. You may live there as individuals - maybe even it’s a Mitzvah to do so - but as a nation, its not yours anymore. You’re in Golus. Do NOT try to fight the Golus. It will not work. Instead, live in it.

Two, Lo l'hisgaros b'umos - Do NOT confront the nations of the world. Be subservient to them, accept their yoke, do their will, do not defy their demands, do not say "NO" to their wishes, and do NOT attract attention to yourselves.

The only way to survive with your head in the lion’s mouth is to make sure the lion does not get annoyed with your head there. As soon as he gets annoyed, its curtains. The best thing you can do is not be noticed.

As Rav Elchonon Wassermann put it: To the extent that the nations do not pay attention to us, we are safe. To the extent that we are the focus of attention of the nations, we are in danger.

We are in enemy territory in Golus. Our job is to lay low, accept any casualties that may tragically occur, but wait for Hashem to rescue us. If we defy our orders and make like we are a nation like all nations - with an army, a State, demands, territory etc - we will be left on our own, to be hunted down and killed by the wolves c"v.

Just like an assimilated Jew will be subject to anti-Semitism in order to remind him that he is a Jew - he cant change that - so too the sheep (Jews in Golus) who try to make like a wolf (be a nation among the nations) will be reminded that he is a sheep, and the nations are the wolves. Rachmana Latzlan.

This is the only way for us to accomplish our mission in this world. We brought this upon ourselves. We are behind enemy lines and our job is to lay low and "plant" sparks of holiness around the world so that when Moshiach comes those sparks will erupt in a conflagration of spiritual energy that will bring the Ultimate Victory - Acharis Hayamim.

Eretz Yisroel is holy. It still is. But it no longer serves our purpose of a homeland.

Going back to it as a nation - for individuals may (and maybe should) live there, under the sovereignty of other nations - is like the Jews trying now, to move back into a house the bank foreclosed on you years ago. Two thousand years ago. We had a choice. We chose sinas chinam over Eretz Yisroel and the Landlord kicked us out. And now we wander like sheep. The solution is to lay low until the shepherd comes and blows our enemies away.

Our job vis a vis the situation in EY today is to protect the lives of the Jews there. Not to protect the land. One Jewish life is worth more than all the land in the world.

A thousand people would violate Shabbos to save one Jewish life - even if it were merely a doubt of danger. Our most prized possession, to say the least, is a Jewish life.

Whatever it takes to save and to protect the lives of Jews in EY must be done, whatever the cost in terms of territory or national humiliation. One Jew is worth it.

The only question is, what does that entail? The problem is, those privy to the information that can help us make the decision - the politicians and the high government officials - c\do not share this agenda, and they cannot be relied upon to convey the reality to us.

That leaves us with one real option: To turn to Hashem. To pray to the shepherd as lost sheep, begging Him to help us.
There is no other choice.

Ain lanu al mi l'hashan ele avinu shebashamayim.

KYYLCLH Posted - 02 June 2002 19:04

Just want to point out that the MOD's thoughts on some issues dealing with Israel today are A particular view on the issue.

There ARE other points of view on modern-day Israel. Ayen Rav Kook on Eretz Yisrael, Rav Shlomo Aviner (Rosh Yeshiva Ateret Kohanim), almost all modern-day 'Zionist' poskim who don't hold with the so-called 'Three oaths' (for reasons such as not being Medaresh Halacha from Aggadeta, etc.), etc.

Just wanted to point out that there IS another side to the matter!

MODERATOR Posted - 02 June 2002 20:24

Sorry, KY, but its not so. The Zionist idea of disregarding the Oaths is Halachicly absurd, and worse, dishonest.

The Oaths are quoted in Chazal, Rishonim and Achronim l'halachah, and have been used throughout history as fact, and nobody until the Zionists came along ever tried to disregard them, due to the obvious wrench they throw in their agenda.

It’s a pity that the Rambam, who, in Igeres Taimon warns us not to dare violate the Oaths, did not know that they don’t apply.

In fact, one of the most outrageous Zionist falsifications to to claim that the Rambam did not consider the Oaths binding since he did not bring them in his Mishna Torah.

Yeah, right - except for the fact that the Rambam himself warns us not to violate them or else in I.T. Its falsification enough for your ideas when the Rambam disagrees with you, but to have the Rambam himself disagree with your interpretation of the Rambam is living in the twilight zone.

And I guess the Ramban was wrong when he says that the reason Jews en massse (except 1500) did not follow Coresh's call to go back to Eretz Yisroel was because they did not want to violate the Oaths.

And I guess the Maharal was wrong for saying that it is better to die than violate the Oaths.

And I guess, too, that Hashem was wrong for killing all the Bnei Ephraim in the desert for violating the Oaths. I guess Hashem didn’t know that the Oaths do not apply.

Please. This is why Zionism is not considered (by anyone except the Zionists) to be a legitimate "shita" but rather a deviation of Judaism, and even idolatry.

In a Machlokes between the Rambam, the Ramban, the Rivash, the Rashbash, the Marhral, Rav Yonason Eyebuschitz and all the others who do believe in the Oaths, never mind Chazal who tell us say masses of Jews have died for violating them - against a few twentieth century Zionist poskim, we pasken like the first side.

Can you please tell me, if all the Zionist heterim did not save the Bnei Efraim, why should we think they will save us? Egypt surely persecuted the Jews "more than enough" yet the entire tribe was annihilated in the desert for leaving Egypt early because of the Oaths.

grend123 Posted - 02 June 2002 22:56

the bnei efraim are a much different story –

1) Its a medrash, not a posuk in torah

2) The land had NEVER been given to bnei yisrael (they were premature in the same way lot was premature in allowing his cattle to graze), while after the second beis hamikdash we say "kidsha shniya kidsha leasid lavo" - its STILL the holy land (it wasn’t yet then until yehoshua was koveish it).

Again, this has little or no bearing on post-bayis sheini Zionism.

MODERATOR Posted - 02 June 2002 23:02

Doesn’t matter - you still see that violating the Oaths brings death. Which means its binding, in opposition to the opinion of the Zionists who say it’s harmless to violate the Oaths for whatever reasons.

PS - The holiness of the land has nothing to do with the Oaths.

KYYLCLH Posted - 02 June 2002 23:26

I believe Rav Aviner has a whole book on this issue. Ever read it?

MODERATOR Posted - 02 June 2002 23:41

If the Oaths were conditional the Bnei Efraim wouldn’t have died - for Egypt surely violated their "oath".

And the Jews would have been able to ascend in the days of Koresh, for the Goyim surely violated their oath even more until then.

And the Rambam would have no reason to warn us not to violate the Oaths, because the goyim violated their oath even more until then.

And the Gemara would not say that the Oath applies to Bavel, since they violated their Oath in a big way.

The Oaths can’t be interdependent because all three Oaths were for the sake of the Jews - as opposed to Interdependent Oaths, where each Oath is for the sake of the Other party.

As a drush, this is cute, but l'halachah, it’s a joke.

And it also shows that the Oaths are not non-cognitive Agada, also a scam that ignores the Chazal Rishonim and Achronim.

As for Rabbi Aviners material, yes, I have read it. And Rabbi Teichtel, and Rav Kook (the new material that just came out that includes comments on Kesuvos), and Rabbi Aron Soloveichik, and Rabbi Menachem Kasher, and Rabbi Chaim Zimmerman (did I leave anyone out?)

They’re all pretty much repeats of each other, with little variations and additions. Their arguments have long been shown to be useless (in fact, most of them were pre-empted long before these chiburim came out). They’re really not impressive.

Here's how this works: Throughout history, Klall Yisroel has had religious, scholarly people who have taken us off the Derech with their Torahs. Korach, Yeravam, the Meraglim etc. All of these were more religious and more knowledgeable than the Zionist Poskim, and on a higher spiritual level. But history - and Chazal - teach us that that’s the way the world works. Just because a person or a group of people are "legitimate" does not mean they cannot be totally off the derech. Korach had his followers too - 250 heads of the Sanhedrin - and so sis the others. They had their 'Torahs" and their "proofs" too.

But we know that issues such as these are judged by their own merits, and not by the fact that religious or even scholarly people espouse them.

And on its own merits, Zionism doesn’t work. Neither from a Torah perspective nor from a historical perspective.

And even from a "who said what" perspective, the great bulk of Torah leadership - quantity and quality - have said that Zionism is beyond the pale. Not to be considered even a legitimate, minority opinion.

KYYLCLH Posted - 03 June 2002 15:11

"As a drush, this is cute, but l'halacha, it's a joke..." I was going to say the same thing about your arguments.

Has there been a book published countering those 'Zionist' counters to the issue of the three-oaths that you mentioned above, or just that all your Rabbonim 'say' that it's a bunch of junk and has been pre-empted, etc...

Also, you forget the fact that there's historical proof that Hashem didn't hold the 'oaths' against us here. If He wanted to, there would have been ample opportunity to wipe out the Medinah - how about '48,'54,'67,'72 etc... There davka is proof that there was Neis to actually save the then weak Israeli state. I'll tell you some stories if you like...

MODERATOR Posted - 03 June 2002 15:34

Oh please. Such "books" are no more compelling then the books put out by Reform or Conservative rabbis "countering" the arguments against them. More books mean nothing, they will all be disproved like the first dozen or so were. And you don’t have to be much of a Talmid Chacham to do it.

Just like you’re "proof" that Hashem doesn’t believe in the Oaths because he in His mercy does not wipe out Israel. These indeed are the types of arguments that Zionism has to rely on, nebach. (Incidentally, it says nowhere that if you create a State, G-d will "wipe it out". It merely says that G-d will allow Jews to be killed.)

Of course, the fact that G-d allows evil in the world does not prove that He approves of it. G-d allowed six million Jews to be killed - does that mean He approves?

As far as miracles go, that, too, is a joke. The Gemora is replete with miracles done for idol worshippers and enemies of Hashem.

The Arabs can tell you of equal or better miracles done for them. Arafat's plane crashes in or about 1995 (I forget exactly), all passengers in the plane are killed immediately, but he walks out unscathed. I guess G-d approves of Arafat.

The Dor Haflaga shot arrows into the sky to "kill" Hashem. the arrows, the medrash says, came down dripping with blood. They archers thought they wounded Hashem.

This was a miracle, obviously. Not kishef - for the archers themselves were the ones fooled. But the rule is, "haba l'tameh poschin lo" - Hashem allows miracles to happen for good and for bad.

Rav Yaakov Saaportes, the great fighter against the Shabse Tzvi records miracles that were performed for the Shabse Tzvi and his followers. S"T used this as "proof" that G-d approves of him. The Gedolim of those days told the people that miracles prove nothing and G-d allows miracles for bad people as well as good ones, for numerous reasons, but we have no idea what G-d's cheshbonos are. Miracles are not proof of validity.

And now the Zionists are using the arguments of the Shabse Tzvi.

MODERATOR Posted - 03 June 2002 16:01

"As a drush, this is cute, but l'halacha, it's a joke..." I was going to say the same thing about your arguments.

Of course you would. But you have not provided nay reasoning except wishful thinking. My arguments are not mine, but existed before you - and I - were born. And any high school kid is capable of asking "Hey if the Oaths are merely Agadita and they don’t count then why were thousands of Jews killed for violating them??" Or "Hey if the Oaths can be ignored cuz the Goyim were too bad to us, then why does the Rambam warn us not to violate them or else?" Its not rocket science.

The fact that in Zionist enclaves these "proofs" are still being given despite their being compellingly squashed before the Roshei Yeshiva in many of these places were born is a spiritual crime. Go ahead. Ask any "Zionist Posek" for an answer, and see what you get. Copy these pages and give it to your local Zionist for an answer, and then you tell me if they came up with anything different than what was already disproved decades ago.

If you have no answers or support from precedent, you are obligated to change your position. That applies to the "Zionist poskim" themselves.

PS - re your "historical proof". Fifty years is not much of history. In Maaseh Ish it relates that when asked if the Medinah halachicly negates the status of Yerushalayim bchurbanah, the Chazon Ish answered, "The Medinah? And how long do you think the Medinah will last? About 50 years, maybe?"

Do not be quick to demand Hashem's punishment on Klall Yisroel. Be happy, instead, that He has Rachmonus. It is terribly dangerous to say "If I am doing something wrong then why isn’t hashem punishing me?" You understand what the Mida k'neged mida can be...r"l.

MusicMan Posted - 02 July 2002 15:46

Two Things Moderator:

1) I don’t understand why there is so much talking about whether there should or should not be a state of Israel. I think that people on both ends of the argument have to wake up and realize that it no longer a conceptual debate - it is REALITY - the state is here. I think you have wasted so much time debating whether or not it should have happened instead of trying to deal with the reality of the situation.

2) Just wondering how you could make such claims as Bnai Efraim should not have died - and claims of that sort. In doing so, you arrogantly assume that you know the reasons behind why events of the past have happened. For you to make the claim that the oaths are not interdependent BECAUSE the Bnai Efraim would not have died if the oaths were, in fact, interdependent - and arguments of that nature - is quite presumptuous.

MODERATOR Posted - 02 July 2002 16:30

Its Chazal who say the Bnei Efraim were annihilated only for violating the Oaths. The same way, like, for instance, Chazal say the Bais HaMikdash was destroyed because of Sinas Chinam.

There is no "debate." Its pretty clear. Of course the State of Israel is a reality - but the question is, what can we do about the problems it causes? And what do we do about the conflict of interest between what is good for the State of Israel versus what is good for Klall Yisroel? What do we do about the fact that Israel represents itself as the "Jewish State" thereby causing anti-Semitism all over the world through its actions and political involvement in world affairs?

What do we do about the fact that the State of Israel tries to falsely convince Jews that its existence saves lives, prevents holocausts, and therefore it is worth great sacrifice to support it? What do we do about the fact that Jews all over the world are in danger because of the State - anti-Semitism is up all over the world because of the middle east conflict, because people mistakenly believe that the actions of Israel represent the opinions of Judaism. And Jews.

Anti-Semitism is up in America after 9/11 because why in the world should Americans suffer because the Jewish lobby in America (according to Forbes magazine, the pro-Israel lobby is the 4th strongest lobby in the entire country!) demands support for Israel, which causes America to have more enemies?

There is enough anti-Semitism in existence already, that we do not need to fan its flames with people who do NOT represent anything Jewish running around telling the world differently.

And never mind the terrible punishment that Hashem said will happen if Jews make a Jewish State in Eretz Yisroel. Hashem Yishmerienu.

Rav Shach writes that the Yom Kippur war came "without a doubt" because of the Jews' belief in the strength of the Israeli armies, so Hashem came and showed them they’re not so strong. Kochi v'otzem yodi is just another avodah zorah.

"Dealing with the reality of the situation" means to eradicate from our hearts anti-torah beliefs. And not to put trust in those who do not care about the Torah. It means to disabuse ourselves of the idea that Israel makes us more of a nation, normalizes us, puts us on equal footing with the other nations, protects us from holocausts etc etc etc.

When Hashem sees that we support what He supports, and we are against what He is against, we will have accomplished a tremendous zechus.

TheBster Posted - 10 July 2002 21:52

Just a small deviation from the topic of the Oaths. What ever happened to Mitzvas Yishuv Ha'aretz? Even if you say that one must follow the Oaths, what about the mitzva for an individual person to live in Eretz Yisrael?

If one would look at the 'Yeshivish' world today one would think that this mitzva di'oraysa doesn't even exist!

The Yeshivos teach Torah and Mitzvos, yet this one is completely ignored! Just go over to any American chareidi and ask him if he has any hava amina of being oleh permanently.

MODERATOR Posted - 10 July 2002 22:03

The Chofetz Chaim wrote in a letter - and Rav Shlomo Kluger says the same thing in Responsa Ha'elef lecha Shlomo - that the myriad Gedolim who lived in Chutz La'aretz throughout the generations did so because of the shitos (Tosfos, and according to Megilas Esther, the Rambam) who argue on the Ramban and say there is no Mitzvah nowadays to live in Eretz Yisroel.

The Noda Beyehuda writes the same thing regarding why the Baalei Tosfos lived in Chutz Laaretz.

There are others who hold there is a mitzvah fulfilled if you do live in EY but not an obligation to do so (Mitzvah Kiyumis). Other hold that even if there is a Mitzvah, if it is spiritually better for you in Chutz Laaretz, you should stay there.

Every Aveirah that someone does in EY is intensified and judged more severe than had he stayed in Chutz Laaretz and done that aveirah. The ibn Ezra writes that EY is the best place to be if you are a Tzadik, and the worse place to be if you are a Rasha. Those in-between have to decide for themselves what is best for them.

HZ Posted - 29 October 2003 14:53

I'd like to add to this discussion that other matters may be applicable. It's harder to make a Parnasa there. And if one makes the extreme sacrifice of moving there and then doesn't have a good Parnasa, it may affect him spiritually detrimentally. This is in at least one of the commentaries printed in the shulchan aruch.

Also R' Avigdor Miller advises against it (at least in some situations) because your parents won't be able to visit their grandkids.

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