The Mesorah Of Chesed

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By Barry Jacobson –

Originally published June 13, 2013 –
A beautifully arranged presentation, graciously hosted by the Wolfson family, was held this past Motzaei Shabbos regarding the upcoming plan in Eretz Yisrael to conscript yeshiva bachurim into the IDF. Sadly, at the conclusion, I left with a feeling of disappointment.
No questions were permitted from the floor. I had the opportunity to speak with one of the speakers afterwards, who generously listened to me. But that was not the same as a full discussion of a difficult issue.
I am grateful to Rabbi Bender for his infinite chassadim to my family in numerous areas. Any comments I make are in no way intended to minimize the tremendous feelings of respect I have for him. Similarly, I had the opportunity to know the father of Rabbi Ginzberg from my days in yeshiva. He was a paragon of seiver panim yafos, friendship, kindness, and concern about the welfare of all the bachurim. Any points I raise here are only intended as an exchange of ideas and an expression of deep pain for what I and many others see in the current state of affairs.
I was inspired to devote a number of years to learning in my early youth. The warm feelings towards Torah, Yiddishkeit, and a Shabbos table filled with ruach will never be dimmed. The desire to maximize that path motivated me to send my kids to chareidi yeshivos where they were given a warm and meaningful Torah education. However, I am deeply disturbed at what has been happening on a wider level in the klal as a whole. I believe I speak for many others, and I know my chaverim have discussed these issues with me, as well.
After introductions by Rabbi Kobre, Rabbi Bender opened with a discussion of the importance of Torah in protecting the klal. He quoted the Gemara in Cheilek that one who says “Mai ahanu lan rabbanan, ldidhu karu ldidhu tanu,” is an apikorus. (One who says, ‘What do the rabbis help us? They only learn for themselves.’ He is considered an apostate.) Rabbi Bender discussed how there were a certain number of yeshiva bachurim learning, while the soldiers fought, during the times of Tanach. He also mentioned how the chareidim have a much lower rate of incarceration in Israeli jails than the general population, thus demonstrating that the Torah teaches good behavior. Finally, he mentioned that there are a number of chareidi organizations which do much chesed for the klal as a whole in Israel, not just for the frum segment, such as supporting the poor and providing assistance with medical issues.
Rabbi Ginzberg focused on why even people who had respect for gedolim in the past, such as those of the stature of Reb Moshe Feinstein, now seem to have wavered, and why questioning daas Torah has become more widespread, particularly on blogs.
Rabbi Eli Paley focused on some of the technical issues, such as how many soldiers the army really needs, and some of his own experiences in the army which seemed to be difficult for a chareidi lifestyle. He seemed to imply that the army is used in some ways as a form of indoctrination and acculturation with the secular viewpoint, rather than as an absolute necessity for security.
Rabbi Kobre mentioned some of the problems chareidi soldiers have recently faced, including medical exams which intruded upon their sense of privacy, and that even in the newer chareidi programs, 25% of the alumni come out non-frum. He took umbrage with a statement from a high level army chief that the chareidim are a worse problem than Ahmadinejad. Rabbi Kobre concluded that this is a state of emergency, and we all need to cry out for salvation.
All of this is true. But it is totally beside the point. The main problem that needed to be addressed, but was totally ignored, is why the chiloni sector has turned on the chareidim at this point in time. It is my belief that we are largely to blame. If it were only a matter of logistics, with the enrollment of more chareidim, suitable infrastructure would be set up so as to better serve them. But that is not at all the point of this article.
For the past 100 years, the chareidi world has been fighting Zionism like it is some kind of poison. They coined fiery slogans such as the Zionists didn’t become frei in order to build a state; they built a state in order to become frei. Aside from being totally foolish, as one can become frei by going to the McDonalds down the block without going through the backbreaking effort of building a state, it is an insult to the downtrodden Jewish people. After suffering 2,000 years of persecution, poverty, plagues, and pogroms at the hands of their host countries, which caused the spirits of many to break, is there no understanding why the status quo was unbearable? Many were converting and leaving Judaism in droves because they couldn’t take the anti-Semitism, discrimination, and misery. Many fled to America or wherever else they could get into.
Theodore Herzl warned that things would only get worse, and his prophecy was 100% correct, as we saw in the Holocaust. He knew the answer was for the Jews to get a place of their own, and he tried his best to help his suffering brethren, despite whatever personal failings he may have had. He did magnificent work. Think about how hard it is to organize a shul dinner, and then imagine how hard it is to organize a country. He had to rally the Jews, raise funds, meet with countless heads of state. The chareidim totally vilified Herzl and forbade any hazkarah in his honor within the city of Brisk after he passed away. The rav of the main shul in town locked the doors to prevent it. But the population was undeterred and broke the lock and held a massive service with thousands of people in attendance. To this day the vilification continues.
In 1923, the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah passed a resolution condemning the efforts of the Zionists and vowed to fight any attempt to set up a state with all means at their disposal. This was 25 years before the saga of the Yemenite children whose peyos were allegedly cut off. This fighting and denigration of the medinah continues until this day. Chareidim refuse to say the tefillah for the medinah or for the chayalim in their shuls, citing all kinds of Kaballistic reasons, or because we don’t have power to write new tefillos (despite that we say new kinnos on Tishah B’Av for the Shoah) or other creative points. However, in the old siddur Otzar HaTefilos, written about 100 years ago, there is a tefillah for Czar Nikolai, his wife, his parents, and children, mentioning them all by name, with effusive praise for each. We are allowed to say a tefillah for this individual who was no friend of the Jews, but for our brethren in the Israeli government, it would somehow ruin the davening.
The average Jew is tired of this stuff already. When a Jew goes to Israel and is greeted at the airport by the sign, Bruchim Habaim L’eretz Yisrael, his heart soars. When he enters Yerushalayim and sees the beautiful floral arrangement spelling out Bruchim Habaim LiYerushalayim, and sees the Old City and the Kotel, his heart is torn with emotion. When he sees young soldiers guarding the streets with dangerous weapons, the same age as our kids, who are often roaming the pizza shops, he is amazed at the level of responsibility and maturity they have achieved at such a young age. When he sees how advanced the country has become technologically, such that it exports its know-how all over the world, in areas such as military technology, water management, agriculture, medicine, electronics, software, and nanotechnology, his heart bursts with pride. When he realizes that there is freedom to set up as many shuls and yeshivos as he pleases, without any fear of pogroms or anti-Semitism, he is overjoyed and dumbfounded that for the first time in 2,000 years, this is possible. Medinas Yisrael is the biggest berachah the Jews have received since the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash.
Now we run into a problem. When somebody tells us that daas Torah is opposed to this, or that the founders of the state were wrong, or bad people, or that we should not say the tefillah for the Medinah, should not celebrate Yom HaAtzamaut, should not sing Hatikvah, should not stand for the memorial sirens on Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaShoah, the average Jew becomes rather confused and torn, with his heart telling him one thing, and all kinds of yeshivishe propaganda that has been drummed into his head telling him another thing.
A little while ago, there was a picture on the front page of the 5TJT of a young child hugging his father’s grave at the military cemetery. The father died so we can enjoy the freedom and the shuls, yeshivos, and mekomos hakedoshim of Eretz Yisrael that we now have. Can chareidim not give this poor child respect for two minutes and stand still while he cries? How dare any leader not emphasize basic decency in his yeshiva. When a frum IDF soldier is stoned and rained with trash when he enters Meah Shearim, the rest of the country is sickened. We often hear that it is one meshugeneh. Totally wrong. When verbal violence is preached at the top levels, physical violence results at the lower levels.
All the chesed that the chareidim do, while certainly well appreciated (as it is here in the Five Towns, as well), it doesn’t come to a drop in the ocean of the chesed that the Medinah does. The chareidim may provide transportation, food, or advice to people in need of medical treatment. But who provides the hospitals, medical training, medicines, instruments, research, universities where training and innovation is carried out, and roads to transport the patients and medicines, etc. They also pay for the care, to begin with.
The chareidim give generously to the poor, but how many mouths does the government of Israel feed? Who ensures that the economy runs smoothly, that there is electricity, and engineering training to design a power grid, and water, and chemists who know how to test its safety? Who protects this vast infrastructure, and provides army personnel to stand watch day and night? The Medinah dwarfs all chesed organizations put together. Where is the hakaras hatov?
The klal craves achdus and warmth. The constant anti-Zionist propaganda spewed forth by chareidim is causing giyul nefesh (utter disgust) in me and many of my chaveirim who learned in chareidi yeshivos, not to mention the chilonim themselves.
Rabbi Ginzberg asks why there is a reduction in respect for gedolim. Well, Sunday following parashas Korach there was a massive demonstration where two warring brothers found that they don’t hate each other more than anything else in the world, as previously believed. It turned out that they hate the State of Israel even more. And the entire ideology is based on some obscure aggadeta (Shalosh Shevuos) not brought down in any of the classic codifiers, which is itself based on a verse in Tanach, from which we don’t generally derive halacha, anyway. Incidentally, a possible message of the Shalosh Shevuos is not to rebel against one’s hosts, out of derech eretz. Would that, perhaps, be applicable as well to Jewish hosts, or are they less deserving than King Henry VIII or Queen Isabella? This movement often resorts to outright lies, such as that the Zionists colluded with the Nazis, when letters have recently become available that Ben Gurion begged the British government to allow Jewish fighters to go to Europe to fight the Nazis. They also claim that enormous numbers of Jews have died as a result of the Medinah, when the number is 25,000 in 150 years, far less than in many other similar eras in Jewish history.
Another rav Rabbi Ginzberg is fond of quoting spewed forth the same type of anti-Zionist vitriol for years. One can open up a book of his transcribed speeches in English. This same rav also founded new political parties. One would think some important ideology was at stake. But it was his dislike of a certain rebbe. For some unknown reason, despite this rebbe’s incredible erudition, breadth, and kindness to all segments, this rav considered the rebbe to be inferior to himself. He disliked that rebbe so much that when that rebbe’s wife passed away, he told other rabbanim not to pay a shivah call. The klal is mortified and tired of this. These types of things have led to a weakening of faith in daas Torah.
Is it telling that the preceding two-brother chassidic movement, and the preceding rav’s yeshiva are now both torn asunder by internal machlokes? Walls have had to be built and smoke bombs have been thrown in the beis medrash of one of the world’s most prestigious yeshivas in Israel. Midah kneged midah? Perhaps. But maybe just the natural progression of things. When multiple generations have been raised on hatred and sinas chinam, the imbibed hatred is then used on each other, as well.
A few years ago, there was a major chinuch protest demonstration, with all chareidim in Israel urging their followers to attend. What was the issue? The Israeli government was upset that a certain school was separating the Sephardic girls from the Ashkenazic girls by means of a fence in the middle of the school building, and down the middle of the playground. Personally, even if a thousand gedolim held a demonstration with a million followers urging people to be cruel to young Sephardic girls, I would follow my heart and simply ignore it, and instead welcome them with open arms. The hamon am is disgusted.
Torah has become an exercise in mental gymnastics, with the primary message being ignored. When Rebbe Akiva said that v’ahavta l’rei’acha kamocha is klal gadol baTorah, he meant it. It supersedes all other considerations. Am I ignoring or denigrating daas Torah? I hope not. Rabbi Ginzberg has mentioned on more than one occasion the importance of keeping mesorah. There is one mesorah we have which is even older than the mesorah of learning—by about 500 years. It is the mesorah of chesed. It was taught by Avraham Avinu. When three individuals who he actually thought were idol worshippers (see Rashi) showed up at his door, he did not spit, as some chareidim now do, at priests of other religions. Rather, he served them a delicious meal and gave them a place to rest, before sending them on their way. Chesed comes before ideology.
When Avraham was told that anshei Sdom were going to be punished, he didn’t smirk that they deserved it, but he screamed to the Ribbono Shel Olam, “Hashofet kol ha’aretz lo ya’aseh mishpat!?” Will the judge of the entire world not do justice!? He was our father, and the father of all peoples of the world. Av hamon goyim.
One of the speakers mentioned that we are experiencing a war against Torah Judaism, an oft-heard refrain of the last hundred years, that the chilonim and Zionists are aiming to destroy Torah and see the chareidim as its symbol. This is needlessly inflammatory (but admittedly effective as a way to rally the troops) and simply false. Reb Aryeh Levine dressed chareidi. Yet the Knesset dedicated a special day in his honor and made a special plaque which was awarded to him in a major presentation. He worked with all his might to help the fighters in the early days before the state. After davening, he walked tens of miles on Shabbos to the prisoners in jail to tell the families how their loved ones were doing. He cried out on Rosh Hashanah, mentioning each by name, when they were sentenced to the gallows. The chilonim recognized that he loved them with all of his pure heart. The chilonim, in turn, loved him with all of theirs. If we acted like Reb Aryeh, and gave the chilonim the slightest bit of hakaras hatov and warmth and appreciation for the amazing achievement they accomplished (bsiyata deshmaya), not just as a condescending ruse to be mekarev them, but with a sincere and full understanding of the miracle they created and the intense effort they put in; and if we offered to move our yeshivos to the army bases to keep them company in times of war and be mechazek them with kindness; and if we stopped our foolish and angry (and baseless) rhetoric, they would never think of drafting a single yeshiva bachur. We have only ourselves to blame for this miserable situation. Let us try to rectify it before things get worse.
For now we need to know that there is nothing more to Yiddishkeit than simple kindness and mutual love and respect. In the words of Hillel, idach perusha hi—all else is just commentary. Perhaps it is not the chilonim who have gone off the derech. Perhaps it is us. I am not rejecting daas Torah, rather I am relying on the daas Torah of Reb Aryeh Levine which goes straight back to Avraham Avinu.
The author may be reached at

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41 thoughts on “The Mesorah Of Chesed

  • June 17, 2013 at 8:22 am

    “For some unknown reason…”
    You really don’t know the reason why the rav was opposed to the rebbe? The fruits of that reason have been painfully clear for the past 19 years, and there is no sign of things getting any better; quite the contrary!

  • June 17, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Wow – just excellent. And I agree wholeheartedly.

  • June 17, 2013 at 11:28 am

    כן ירבו

  • June 17, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    >>>For the past 100 years, the chareidi world
    has been fighting Zionism like it is some
    kind of poison

    Well what can we do, it IS poison. Or as R Elchonon Wasserman calls it in his ikvesa d’meshica – “avoda zara” Or as R Aron Kotler called it at the 3rd Kenesia Gedola – “kefira”

    >>>They coined fiery slogans
    such as the Zionists didn’t become frei in
    order to build a state; they built a state in
    order to become frei. Aside from being
    totally foolish, as one can become frei by
    going to the McDonalds down the block
    without going through the backbreaking
    effort of building a state

    The “they” was actually the Godol Hador – The Brisker Rov, that made this statement. To say about such a statement “lo zachisi l’havin” is one thing. To say its totally foolish is asinine. If there is anything totally foolish here, its Mr Jacobson’s comment about Mcdonalds. You can’t change the identity of an entire nation & destroy Torah by convincing Jews to go to Mcdonalds. You can however accomplish it by creating a state built upon treif hashkafas of kochi v’otzem yadi & by systematically tearing down the traditions of new immigrants (like the yaldei Tehran) by segregating them from their parents when they arrive.

    ( see here in detail how you use a state for this purpose )

  • June 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Theodore Herzl warned that things
    would only get worse, and his prophecy
    was 100% correct, as we saw in the Holocaust.
    He knew the answer was for the
    Jews to get a place of their own

    To say that the cause of the Holocaust was anything other than disobedience to the Torah & that a State of Israel would prevent it is the polar opposite of Torah-Hashkafa

    אחד מעיקרי האמונה אשר הכופר בהם מאבד בכך את שייכותו לעם ישראל הוא האמונה בשכר ועונש, היינו האמונה כי מרגע שניתנה לעם ישראל התורה הקדושה למרגלות הר סיני מתנהלת כל הבריאה באופן של מתן שכר בעקבות שמירת התורה והמצוות וענישה בצורות כאלה או אחרות בתגובה לעבירה על המצוות וכל שכן בתגובה להתעלמות מהן או חלילה כפירה בהן ובמי שציווה עליהן וכמו שכותב הרמב”ן (סוף פרשת בא) וז”ל: “שאין לאדם חלק בתורת משה עד שנאמין בכל דברינו ומקרינו שכלם נסים אין בהם טבע ומנהגו של עולם, בין ברבים בין ביחיד אלא אם יעשה המצות יצליחנו שכרו ואם יעבור עליהם יכריתנו עונשו הכל בגזירת עליון כאשר הזכרתי כבר” וכן הרמב”ם (בריש הלכות תענית) וז”ל: “מצות עשה מן התורה לזעוק ולהריע בחצוצרות על כל צרה שתבא על הצבור שנאמר: על הצר הצורר אתכם והרעותם בחצוצרות כלומר כל דבר שייצר לכם כגון בצורת ודבר וארבה וכיוצא בהן זעקו עליהן והריעו. ודבר זה מדרכי התשובה הוא. שבזמן שתבוא צרה ויזעקו עליה ויריעוידעו הכל שבגלל מעשיהם הרעים הורע להן ככתוב עונותיכם הטו וגו’ וזה הוא שיגרום להסיר הצרה מעליהם וכו’..”.

    א”כ, גם שמתעוררת גזירת כליה ח”ו על חלק כה גדול של יהדות אירופה פשוט הדבר כי היא תוצאה של מעשיהם של ישראל וא”כ היכן שנמצאים החוטאים ברובם, תגיעֵם הפורענות שנתחייבו בה במקומם יהא מקומם אשר יהא. ואם יצאה הפורענות לפועל באירופה הרי זה משום שגם כלל ישראל אשר נתחייבו בדינם נמצאו אז שם. הטענה כי אילולי היו היהודים באירופה מקדימים לעלות לא”י היתה נחסכת מהם הפורענות מקורה בהנחה הכפרנית האומרת כי אין קשר בין כל מאורעות המלחמה באירופה למעשיהם של ישראל ותולה את המאורעות בכל מיני אירועים פוליטיים או חברתיים וכד’ כאלה או אחרים (תליה שהרמב”ם שם מגדירה בהגדרת התורה: “והלכתם עמי בקרי”) וכל השפעתם על יהודי אירופה היא רק מחמת שנמצאו בזירת האירועים ואילו היו עולים לא”י לא היו נופלים קרבן למציאות הקשה של מלחה”ע השניה על נוראותיה. אך האמת היא כמו שהוסבר לעיל כי כל הסבה להתפרצות המלחמה היא גזירת הפורענות על כלל ישראל שהיה באירופה ולכן אם היו עולים כל יהודי אירופה לא”י הרי שגזירת הפורענות היתה עוברת עמהם לא”י ויוצאת שם לפועל. לא המלחמה באירופה גורמת את הפורענות ביהודים אלא גזירת הפורענות על כלל ישראל בגין מעשיהם מעוררת את המלחמה באירופה (הפורענות שבעקבות החטאים).

    מעבר לכך, כל טענה זו היא רק בבחינת “חכם לאחר מעשה” שהרי לאורך רוב שנות המלחמה לא היה ברור כלל כי א”י מחוץ למקום הסכנה. ברחמי שמים מרובים לא הצליח היטלר להכנס לא”י ולבצע שם את מה שביצע באירופה.

    האם היתה לבריטים או לכוחות הצבאיים השונים של התנועה הציונית לפלגיה תכנית מסודרת כלשהיא להדיפת היטלר שעליה יכלו לסמוך כל כך כל אותם השואלים בתמיהה: “למה לא עלו לא”י?”?.

    הכח הצבאי שהיה בא”י באותם ימים והיה אמור להיות זה שיתן את המענה לחיילות היטלר היה מורכב מהצבא הבריטי (שמבחינה צבאית לא היה מצויד כמו חיילותיו של היטלר באל עלמיין) וכן מהכוחות החמושים של ארגוני הטרור (“המחתרות”) השונים של התנועה הציונית לפלגיה שהגדול והחזק מביניהם היה ארגון ה”הגנה”.

    הבה ונראה מה בפיו של הסמכות הצבאית הגדולה ביותר- מפקד “ההגנה” יצחק שדה באשר לתכנית מסודרת במקרה שיצליחו חיילותיו של היטלר להכנס לא”י, וז”ל:

    “שקלנו והערכנו שעיקר כח האויב שיגיע יהיה כוח טנקים, ועל כן בחרנו- מתוך הסכימה המשוערת של תנועת האויב- סביבה שבה תנועת הטנקים מוגבלת ביותר. סימנו את חזיתנו מסביבות חניתה, דרך הרי נצרת-ואדי ערה עד זכרון יעקב, הוא השטח שבו יתרכז, בשעת סכנה, היישוב כולו. רצינו לצייד בנשק כל יהודי המסוגל לשאתו. אמרנו לסגור את המעברים במוקשים ובמכשולים מלאכותיים אחרים, וקיווינו שאם יסוג הצבא הבריטי מהמזרח התיכון, אולי ישאיר לנו תותחים ותותחנים ויסייע לנו בהגשמת התכנית בעזרת הצי שלו מהים… בתוך “שטח ההגנה” נמצאו גם שדות תעופה, שאמרנו להיעזר בהם להסדרת ההספקה בתחמשת קלה, צורכי רפואה וכו’. “ודאי תכנית דמיונית למדי, הרפתקנית. כלום היה מקום לתכניות אחרות?”(“לא על מגש של כסף-תולדות מדינת ישראל מראשית ההתיישבות עד עידן השלום”, פרופ’ יהודה ואלך, הוצ’ משרד הביטחון ואטלס כרטא, ירושלים, התש”ס)

    כלומר, למנהיג הצבאי הבכיר ביותר אין יותר מאשר תכנית שהוא עצמו מגדירה כ”דמיונית” ו”הרפתקנית” וביחס לכוחות הגרמניים שעמדו להכנס לארץ נוכל אנו

  • June 17, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    >>>This fighting and denigration of the medinah
    continues until this day. Chareidim refuse
    to say the tefi llah for the medinah or for
    the chayalim in their shuls, citing all kinds
    of Kaballistic reasons

    I dont know what hes talking about, nobody cites “kaballistic” reasons. We dont say the tefilla for the medina because we reject Zionism b’shtei yodayim. Also R Zev Leff tells how he heard from R Moshe Feinstien himself that the whole concept of “raishis tzmichas geulasainu” is an absolute mistake

    >>>Now we run into a problem. When
    somebody tells us that daas Torah is
    opposed to this, or that the founders of
    the state were wrong, or bad people, or
    that we should not say the tefi llah for the
    Medinah, should not celebrate Yom HaAtzamaut,
    should not sing Hatikvah, should
    not stand for the memorial sirens on Yom
    HaZikaron and Yom HaShoah, the average
    Jew becomes rather confused and torn,
    with his heart telling him one thing, and
    all kinds of yeshivishe propaganda that
    has been drummed into his head telling
    him another thing.

    I don’t know what the “average jew” does. But a loyal G-d-fearing jew with emunas chachamim would do well to listen to the daas-Torah of k’maat all the Torah authorities of the last 50 years. As R Eliyahu Dessler puts it:

    Michtav M’Eliyahu (1:75): Our Sages have already told us to listen to the words of gedolim – “Even if they tell you that left is right.” Furthermore a person should not think, G d forbid!, that they have certainly erred just because someone so insignificant as himself has perceived that they erred. In fact it is important to know that one’s perception of reality is totally null and void as the dust of the earth in comparison to the clarity of intellect and Divine assistance that they have. We have an important halachic principle that one beis din can not nullify the ruling of another beis din unless it is greater than the first in wisdom and number. Otherwise it is likely that that which he thought that he perceived is merely an illusion and distorted understanding of reality. This is what is meant by Daas Torah – which is an aspect of Emunas Chachomim (faith in the sages).

    • June 18, 2013 at 10:28 am

      To Larry,
      With regard to your invocation of Daas Torah, let us not pretend that one source can clear up any debate on the matter. While the Sifrei does in fact say “Even if they tell you that left is right,” the Yerushalmi says “Only if they say right is right and left is left do you have to listen to them.” Moreover, the whole debate regarding the meaning of lo sasur applies only to the Beit Din Hagadol and not to an individual rav. Baruch hashem, there is no source in the halacha for completely and generally relinquishing one’s common sense.
      As for your point regarding the tefiloh for the medinah, fine. So you reject the state. Why though can you not say the tefiloh for tzahal? Or word the tefiloh for the medinah differently so that it is not seen as an endorsement of a philosophy you disagree with. What I fail to understand is that the principle of “mishum aivah” dictated so much of Judaism’s interactions with its host nations for the past 2000 years, but when Jews themselves are running a nation there is no comparable communal restraint in arousing the hatred of those hosts. More than that, the tone of every one of your responses drips with hatred and disgust for your fellow Jew. It’s appalling.
      Lastly, do you not see the hypocrisy in rejecting Zionism and the State of Israel “b’shtei yodayim” whilst simultaneously participating vigorously in elections and, without shame, relying on the state’s welfare programs?

      • June 19, 2013 at 1:15 pm


        1) The sefer HaChinuch says Lo Sasur applies to the gedolim in all generations & even if they say left is right

        Also see letter of Chazon Ish here:

        מכתב החזו”א (חלק ג אות צב) שם הוא מזהיר מפני הטעות כאילו חכמי ישראל אינם מוסמכים להורות בדרכי החיים כי אם בענייני איסור והיתר בלבד

        השיטה לעשות התורה לחלקים שונים,הוראה באיסור והיתר חלק אחד,והוראה בשוק החיים חלק שני,להיות נכנעים להוראות חכמי הדור בחלק הראשון,ולהשאיר לחופש בחירתם בחלק השני,היא השיטה הישנה של המינים בירידת היהדות באשכנז,אשר הדיחו את עם ישראל עד שיתערב בגוים ולא נשאר לפליטה. ההפלאה בין הוראת איסור והיתר להוראת הגדרים והגזירות,הפלאה זו היא גילוי פנים בתורה,ומבזה תלמידי חכמים,ונמנין בין אלו שאין להם חלק לעוה”ב ונפסלין לעדות” עד כאן לשונו הטהור והק’ של החזו”א

        2) As far as a tefilla for Tzahal, I will quote R. Yakov Shapiro (& this I have heard from other Rabanim as well):

        “…the reason for not making the Mi Sheberach is that we are already praying for all Jews in danger, as we say “kol bais yisroel hanesunim b’tzorah u’vashivyah”. There are Jews in danger in Iran, there are Jews who were in danger in Russia, there were Jews who are in danger all over the world. And were, for hundreds of years.
        Please note that Klall Yisroel never singled out a specific group of Jews for a specific Mi Shebayrach over any others – there was no need to, for as I said, all Jews in danger are already well accounted for in our Tefilos.
        There are, and always were, many Jews in danger. So why single out the Israeli soldiers over any one else?
        The reason is not because they are in danger, since that would apply to many others as well. The answer is, since they are soldiers of Medinat Yisrael, they merit a special Tefilah. Not because of the danger they are in.
        We don’t believe in that. All Jews in danger are equally entitled to prayers, and the fact that someone is “serving Medinat Yisrael” does not put him in any different category than any other Jew in danger. Hence, they do not get any Tefilos different than all the other Jews in the same position as them.

        3) >>>More than that, the tone of every one of your responses drips with hatred and disgust for your fellow Jew. It’s appalling.<<<

        Would that you could conjure up a fraction of that indignation for the bizui talmedei chochomim & gedolim expressed in this article…

        a. referring to a well known statement of the Brisker Rov as "foolish"

        b. referring to Rav Shach's Torah -opinion regarding Zionism as "spewing"

        c. ASSUMING that Rav Shach was MOTIVATED by hatred instead of ideology in his battle against messianism. Does Jacobson have any clue who he's talking about?!

        d. labeling the psak & hashkafa of the vast majority of Torah leaders re: Yom Hashoa, Hatikva etc…as yeshivishe propoganda

  • June 17, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    >>>The klal craves achdus and warmth. The
    constant anti-Zionist propaganda spewed
    forth by chareidim is causing giyul nefesh
    (utter disgust) in me and many of my
    chaveirim who learned in chareidi yeshivos,
    not to mention the chilonim themselves.

    So achdus & warmth means we should sit back & listen to the ENDLESS stream of Zionist propoganda from the dati-leumi & mizrachi without responding with what we feel is the Torah-true hashkafa?

    >>>And the entire ideology
    is based on some obscure aggadeta (Shalosh
    Shevuos) not brought down in any of
    the classic codifiers, which is itself based
    on a verse in Tanach, from which we don’t
    generally derive halacha, anyway

    False…see below…

    “If you want to see just how absurd the notion is that “only Satmar and Neturei Karta” hold the Oaths are halachicly binding (besides the slew of poskim and Gedolim from all walks of Torah Judaism who quote the Oaths l’halachah), pick up the Zionist journal “techumin” Vol. 10, and you will see the Oaths quoted l’halachah by none other than Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef.

    He discusses the issue of “Land for Peace”, and mentions the fact that Hisgarus B’Umos – antagonizing the nations of the world – is against the Torah, prohibited by virtue of the Oaths.

    He says that if the nations of the world demand Israel give back land in return for peace (of course it has to be a real deal), and doing so would prevent war, then we are obligated to do so, and we are not allowed to go to war in order to maintain the land. We would be obligated to give the land back because of Pikuach Nefesh.

    He quotes the Megilas Esther that says the reason the Rambam omitted the Mitzvah to live in EY nowadays is because the Oaths negate the Mitzvah.

    Then he quotes the Rashbash who says that the Ramban held that the Oaths only prohibit a massive national ascent to EY, but individuals who want to live in EY are not affected by the Oaths. The Rashbash points out that the Bnei Efraim were annihilated in the desert because they violated the Oaths, and warns us to take heed from what happened to them (“tzai ur’ah mah irah lbnei efraim.”)

    Then he quotes the Rivash who also brings the Oaths l’halachah.

    Then he quotes other Achronim who apply the Oaths l’halachah, as well as those who hold l’halachah that the Oaths even negate the Mitzvah of living in EY for individuals – as per the Megilas Esther. They include Rav Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik ZTL (the “Bais Halevi”).

    His conclusion l’halachah is that because of the Oaths, even the Ramban agrees that there is no Mitzvah at all nowadays to endanger Jewish lives to conquer Eretz Yisroel, and therefore, when you can obtain peace by giving up land, you are obligated to give up land because of Pikuach Nefesh.”

  • June 17, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    >>>Another rav Rabbi Ginzberg is fond of
    quoting spewed forth the same type of
    anti-Zionist vitriol for years. One can open
    up a book of his transcribed speeches in
    English. This same rav also founded new
    political parties. One would think some
    important ideology was at stake. But it
    was his dislike of a certain rebbe. For some
    unknown reason, despite this rebbe’s
    incredible erudition, breadth, and kindness
    to all segments, this rav considered
    the rebbe to be inferior to himself.

    Here Jacobson refers here to Rav ….. who was universally held (at least in the litvishe velt) to be the manhig Ha’dor. The Korachs of the world are alive & well (as it says “u’bnei Korach lo maisu”

    >>>When three individuals who
    he actually thought were idol worshippers
    (see Rashi) showed up at his door, he
    did not spit, as some chareidim now do, at
    priests of other religions. Rather, he served
    them a delicious meal and gave them a
    place to rest, before sending them on their
    way. Chesed comes before ideology.

    I guess Moshe Rabeinu got it wrong when he said “mi l”Hashem ailai” & had the egel worshippers slaughtered. Pity.

    • June 25, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      The problem is, you assume that Religious-Zionists are against God, which is folly and absurd.

  • June 17, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    >>>For now we need to know that there is nothing more to Yiddishkeit than simple kindness and mutual love and respect

    Maybe according to conservative Yiddishkeit. Torah Judaism entails a whole lot more…

  • June 17, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Wow! So beatifully written! And 100% emes.

  • June 17, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    “You really don’t know the reason why the rav was opposed to the rebbe?”
    It wasn’t just the messianism–why did Rav Shach say that the Chabad mikveh was possul and therefore all Chabadnikim are b’nei niddah, they eat treif, they shouldn’t put tefillin on people, they shouldn’t learn daily Rambam, we should give back Yehudah, Shomron and the Golan so as not to anger the goyim, etc.–all of these things have no connection to Chabadnikim saying the Rebbe is/was/will be Moshiach. The only connection is that the Rebbe made a “shturem” about these things.

    I would really prefer to bury the hatchet on all of these issues–we have such problems with ahavas yisrael as is. Please don’t make me have to bring these things up in order to defend the Rebbe’s honor.

  • June 17, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    v powerful writing. tears in my eyes.

  • June 17, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    I wish that Jews would only argue with each other behind the privacy of closed doors.

    Why must our Gentile neighbors witness conflicts between Jews?

  • June 18, 2013 at 8:12 am

    Great article. Sad that Larry the Troll doesn’t get it, but the vast majority of Torah-respecting Jews feels like you Dr. Jacobson. Bravo for speaking up.

  • June 18, 2013 at 10:57 am

    Kibi – Instead of merely cheer-leading, try & address the issues…

  • June 18, 2013 at 11:29 am

    The haranguing had me a little confused, but I think I have sorted it out by now.
    The Gedolim in 1923 foresaw that Zionism is opposed to Judaism. The bloggers of the time derided them. When, 25 years later, the prophecy came true, the credibility of those Gedolim should be verified. Instead you use that as a counter proof?! Obviously, they understood more than you could, because they saw the drive to make a state as more than just security. It was a desire to make a new jew, that does not see himself in the light of the covenant between G-d and his people, only as a person with a state, flag, language, culture etc.
    You equate the Rav of the Shul in Brisk (Reb Chaim Brisker) with Berel Begin (known for his emotional disturbance) who smashed down the doors to the shul?!
    The average Jew is now a valid opinion on Judaism. Never mind that your claim proves the point of the anti-Zionists. The fact that the average Jew is so confused that a sign in Alef-Beis letters in an airport is enough to make him change the picture of Judaism, is a proof to the dangers of Zionism. The entire chinuch of Jews has been changed and we must fight them to keep the ancient Torah system going.
    The Tefila for the King and Queen is still said in many charedi shuls. That is a posuk in Yirmiyah. Maybe we should extrapolate from there that the town’s shoemaker is certainly more important than the Czar and we should have a tefila inserted for the shoemakers of town. Obviously, there is a specific purpose to the Tefila for the King and that has nothing to do with the State of Israel.
    You misrepresent the argument against the army. From the very fact that National service may be substituted for army service one can see that the objective is seeking a ‘common cultural ethic’ to replace that of the Torah. If there is even a risk of that being true, it is too much for us.
    If you granted a minimum benefit of the doubt to people way smarter than you, you would actually understand. Even if you were right, the Chofetz Chaim, Reb Chaim Ozer, the Chazon Ish, the Brisker Rav etc. at least deserve an honest hearing. After all, how would you fare in an argument with them in Maseches Bovo Kamo?

  • June 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Great essay Barry! I will link to it on my blog.

  • June 19, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    Rabbosai, if you were dirt poor, and stuck in a dangerous neighborhood, where you had been badly beaten up 10 times, and had been chased from one hovel to another, and all of the sudden, your non-religious brother appeared out of nowhere and said, look, I have a house in a nice neighborhood that I just refurbished, and you can have it for free, and kasher the kitchen any way you like, would you not be happy? Would you not take the house, because he may believe in kochi votzem yadi? Or maybe you would take it, and not talk to him because he is not religious, or maybe you would talk to him about some things, but make sure not to thank him for the house because he isn’t religious, and you don’t want to be beholden to a nonreligious person.

    Do you see how this simply doesn’t make a drop of sense, and is downright cruel and antisocial behavior? The Torah doesn’t want us to be antisocial. Therefore, given that premise, without even knowing anything about halacha, we can already get a good sense of how we are supposed to act. Any halacha that one would quote which might attempt to validate or mandate such antisocial behavior must right off the bat be a mistaken or out of context application of that halacha. I rest my case.

    • June 20, 2013 at 9:30 am

      The Rambam on anti-social behaviour:

      Hilchos Deos
      Chapter 6, Law 1

      “It is the inherent nature of man (lit., ‘it is the way of a person’s creation’) to be drawn, both in his attitudes and deeds, after his friends and associates, and to act in the manner of the inhabitants of his country. Therefore, a person is obligated to befriend the righteous and to constantly be in the presence of the wise in order that he learn from their acts. He should [likewise] distance himself from the wicked who go in darkness in order that he not learn from their ways. This is as Solomon stated, ‘[One who] walks with the wise will become wise, and one who befriends fools will suffer harm’ (Proverbs 13:20). It also states, ‘Fortunate is the man who did not walk in the counsel of the wicked, [and in the way of sins he did not stand, and in the sessions of the scorners he did not sit]’ (Psalms 1:1).

      “So too if a person is in a country in which its practices are bad and its inhabitants do not walk in the upright path, he should move to a place in which its inhabitants are righteous and act properly. And if all the countries that he knows of and has heard of act improperly — as in our times, or he is unable to travel to a country where its practices are good because of bands of soldiers or [his own] ill health, he should dwell alone, by himself, as it states, ‘Let him sit in solitude and be silent’ (Lamentations 3:28). And if [his country’s inhabitants] are evil and sinful [so much so] that they do not allow him to live in the country unless he is involved with them and acts in their bad ways, he should go out to caves, brier patches and deserts and not accustom himself in sinful ways, in the manner that it states, ‘Who would give me in the wilderness a guest lodge…’ (Jeremiah 9:1).”)

    • June 20, 2013 at 10:49 am

      >>Do you see how this simply doesn’t make a drop of sense

      as they say in french “daas baalei batim hefech daas torah”

      one might also be inclined to say that requiring techeiles for a blue talis or a mezuza for a house full of sifrei torah also doesn’t make a drop of sense…

  • June 20, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Larry, You are obviously well versed and undoubtedly quite learned. However, this is the most emotional issue of our times dividing Frum Jews – not only in our community but throughout the world. The intensity is obviously the highest and most acute in E’Y. Your intelligent arguments aside – do you believe for an instant that the Shitas from the G’dolim that you quoted about the return of the Jewish people to Eretz Yisrael visa vis Zionism – were said or referred by these G’dolim as just a counterpoint to an argument to be won. There is no question that with the exception of The Satmar Rebbe – nearly all the G’dolim of the previous generation respected the opinions of Rav Avraham Tzvi HaKohen Kook zt’l or Rabbi Yissacher Shlomo Tiechtel zt’l – they just disagreed with them on this most foundational of issues. But they understood the pain that Barry is speaking about and addressed it in a balance of Shalom & Emes which is a skill you might need to emulate & cultivate. Thank You though for input

    • June 21, 2013 at 9:16 am


      There is a real disconnect here…do you not see the lack of “Shalom” & kavod in Mr. Jacobson’s displayed towards tzadikim & gedolim in his screed?!?!? as I noted above:

      a. referring to a well known statement of the Brisker Rov as “foolish”
      b. referring to Rav Shach’s Torah -opinion regarding Zionism as “spewing”
      c. ASSUMING that Rav Shach was MOTIVATED by hatred instead of ideology in his battle against messianism. Does Jacobson have any clue who he’s talking about?!
      d. labeling the psak & hashkafa of the vast majority of Torah leaders re: Yom Hashoa, Hatikva etc…as yeshivishe propoganda

      I was responding to this kind of bile…If he insulted your father this way would YOU be so tolerant & equanimous?

  • June 20, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    As an example of how given the foundation that menschlachkeit is the ikar, one can show that any halachos applied to the contrary are out of context, I will take one example on this page. Somebody posted a long Hebrew discussion of the reason for the Holocaust as an argument against my essay.

    It is irrelevant. A mashal: Suppose I back my car into yours and do $1,000 in damage. You ask for payment or insurance info. Instead I lecture you with a long excursis about how nothing happens if not as a punishment for sin. I even use kabalistic powers to identify what you did 10 gilgulim ago that made you deserving of getting your car smashed, and therefore I refuse to pay. Does that make any sense? Obviously not. I still owe you for your car.

    Same here. If you want to write a treatise on the theological causes of the holocaust, go ahead. There certainly is a need for that. But it has absolutely nothing to do with how we are supposed to behave to each other, and that is with Hakaras Hatov.

    • June 21, 2013 at 9:33 am

      Rav Hutner on the “hakaras hatov” to the Zionists as it relates to the Holocaust:

      From Rav Yitzchok Hutner ZTL, in the Jewish Observer, 10/77:

      It will be our task this evening to untangle the web of distortions about recent Jewish history, which has already been woven, and uncover the Torah perspective which has been hidden from us.

      To be sure, it will not be easy to regain this perspective. The thoughts that we will explore this evening will be difficult to digest because of our long subsistence upon the forced diet of public opinion. The creators of the powerful force of public opinion are beyond the realm of our control and the mind-numbing results of their influence are largely out of our hands. In order to achieve any hold on the truth, we will first have to free ourselves form the iron-clad grip of their puissance and open our minds and hearts to the sometimes bitter pill of truth…

      An example of how public opinion can be molded – indeed warped – at the whim of powerful individuals can be taken from a study of Russian history textbooks published during the respective reigns of Lenin, Stalin, and Khrushchev … Undoubtedly, “public opinion” during each period, once the children’s minds had been suitably molded, reflected the thinking and the wishes of the state. While more subtle in form, this ability to direct public opinion exists in democratic countries as well. Thus, we already pointed out at the beginning that we must make every effort to free ourselves from the powerful grip of public opinion, and must be ever on our guard that our opinions of the true nature of world events be shaped only by Torah views seen through Torah eyes.

      Sadly, even in our own circles, the mold for shaping public opinion lies in the hands of the State of Israel. And appropriate example of this dangerous process of selectively “rewriting” history may be found in the extraordinary purging from the public record of all evidence of the culpability of the forerunners of the [Jewish] State in the tragedy of European Jewry, and the substitution of factors inconsequential to the calamity that ultimately occurred.

      To cover its own contribution to the final catastrophic events, those of the State in a position to influence public opinion circulated the notorious canard that Gedolei Yisroel were responsible for the destruction of many communities because they did not urge immigration. This charge is, of course, a gross distortion of the truth, and need not be granted more dignity than it deserves by issuing a formal refutation. However, at the same time as the State made certain to include this charge a historical fact in every account of the war years, it successfully sought to omit any mention of its own contribution to the impending tragedy. . . .

      In 1923 Hitler wrote Mein Kampf . . . [which] was read by Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who found most significant alliances of modern times. . . Not only did the Mufti visit Hitler and his top aides on a number of occasions, but indeed with Adolph Eichmann, he visited the Auschwitz gas chamber incognito to check on its efficiency.

      The extent of the Mufti’s influence upon the Nazi forces may be seen in a crucial decision made by Hitler at the height of the war. Railroad trains were much in demand by the Axis, and Hitler’s troops badly needed reinforcements in Russia. Yet, soon after he landed in Berlin in 1941, the Mufti demanded that all available resources be used to annihilate Jews. The choice: “Juden nach Auschwitz” or “Soldaten nach Stalingrad” was to be resolved this way . . . Two months later (Jan 20, 1942) at the Wannasee Conference, the formal decision was made to annihilate all Jews who had survived the ghettos, forced labor, starvation, and disease.

      Of course, the mufti was serving his own perverted fears, which were the influx of millions of Jews into Palestine and the destruction of the Mufti’s personal empire. Yet, there can be no doubt that through their symbiotic relationship, Hitler and the Mufti each helped the other accomplish his own evil goal. Eichman simply wanted to kill Jews; the Mufti wanted to make sure they never reached Palestine. In the end, the “final solution” was the same . .. At one point, Eichmann even seemed to blame the Mufti for the entire extermination plan, when he declared, “I am a personal friend of the Grand Mufti. We have promised that no Jew would enter Palestine any more.” . . .

      It should be manifest, however, that until the great public pressures for the establishment of a Jewish State, the Mufti had no interest in the Jews of Warsaw, Budapest or Vilna. Once the Jews of Europe became a threat to the Mufti because of their imminent influx into the Holy Land, the Mufti in turn became for them the incarnation of the Angel of Death. Years ago, it was still easy to find old residents of Yerushalayim who remembered the cordial relations they had maintained with the Mufti in the years before the impending creation of a Jewish State. Once the looming reality of a State of Israel was before him, the Mufti spared no effort in influencing Hitler to murder as many Jews as possible in the shortest amount of time. This shameful episode, where the founders and early leaders of the State were clearly a factor in the destruction of many Jews, has been completely suppressed and expunged from the record. Thus it is that our children who study the history of this turbulent era are taught that the Gedolei Yisroel share responsibility for the destruction of European Jewry and learn nothing of the guilt of others who are enshrined as heroes.

    • June 21, 2013 at 9:57 am

      more re: hakaras hatov from Rav Avigdor Miller:

      517. But let us turn to reproach by vile men on the Jewish side.
      The Zionists (also “religious” Zionists) delight in accusing the East-European Torah-leaders as “responsible” for the destruction of the Six Million, because they were not enthusiastic over the Zionist settlement of Eretz Israel. But it is common knowledge that the Torah-scholars founded the Jewish community in the Holy Land, and that the Zionists refused immigration certificates for the orthodox.

      518. Actually, the Torah-leaders were the true shepherds of mercy, but the Nationalists were partners with the nations in the blood guilt of multitudes of Jews. The Zionist organization is powerful, and therefore copies of “Perfidy” are not available even in rare-book stores. “Perfidy” is the toned-down version of what the author really knew, but it demonstrates that the Zionist leaders allowed a great number of European Jews to be destroyed when there was opportunity to save them (754-759). The truth is that the only Jews rescued from Hitler (except Zionist part functionaries who were saved by the party) were those whom the Torah-Sages redeemed with the bitterly scraped-together funds that they personally collected, such as by the Vaad Hatzalah. All that the Zionists did was to prevent any action to rescue Jews, as is documented in “Perfidy”; and that is the reason that this book is not available.

      748. The lilliputian secular leaders and the reform “rabbis” have blindly led the masses into perilous paths, and it was they that poured oil on the Nazis’ wrath and turned it into a cataclysm. “They ridiculed the humble ways of the old generations and they mocked the Torah-way of placating the nations by restraint and quiet diplomacy, and thus the majority of Jewry were misled into the policy of Nationalism and of demanding their rights with vociferousness. This was at a time when most of Europe lay helpless under the feet of the evil Hitler and his allies who clustered around him. At that time these unthinking (the Jewish “leaders”) rose up in their places of security in the free lands and they cast ridicule upon Hitler and enraged him by their irresponsible demonstrations and speeches…and they kindled his wrath by the reckless boycott. All this was in the year 5693 (1933) when the nations were still at peace with this evil one (Hitler) and there was no way other than humility and negotiation by persuasion. But these self-ordained leaders acted according to the opposite of wisdom and the opposite of the oath imposed by G-d (not to arouse the nations by open opposition), and they had a great share in arousing the frenzy of the mad dog to the highest degree” (Min Hametzar, Rabbi M. D. Weismandl).

      749. How different the results would have been had the people given ear to the Torah-Sages! Following the wise precedents of Torah-history, and motivated solely by unselfish principles (unlike the demagoguery and notoriety-seeking of the Reformers and other anti-Torah elements) the Torah-leaders were successfully establishing contacts with Hitler’s lieutenants and might have rescued millions, if not for the non-cooperation of the powerful and wealthy “leaders”, and also because of outright obstruction (read “Perfidy” by Ben Hect if you can find a copy which has escaped the attention of the Zionists). When leaders are not doves, but ravens and buzzards, the masses are not favored by G-d’s approval.

      750. To this day we continue to feel in our bones the effects of wrong leadership. The second Exile was but the result of the first Exile and a continuation thereof, and the first Exile was a direct result of the break off of the Ten Tribes in the days of Rechabeam. How did the break off come? When Solomon was succeeded by his son Rechabeam, the people spoke to the young king: “Your father made our yoke heavy. Now therefore make the difficult service of your father and his heavy yoke…lighter, and we shall serve you…. And the king Rechabeam consulted the Elders… and they said: If you will be a servant to this people…and speak good words to them, they will be your servants all the days. But he forsook the counsel of the Elders and he consulted the young men who grew up with him…. and they said: Thus shall you speak to this people…. My father loaded a heavy yoke upon you, and I will add to your yoke; my father chastised you with whips, and I will chastise you with thorns” (I Kings 12:4-11). The Ten Tribes thereupon seceded.

      751. And now, instead of a united kingdom, there remained two weak states. In addition to squandering their strength by warring with each other, each now became an easy prey for the predator nations; and they went into exile eventually, one after the other. To hearken to any but the Torah-Elders means to invite catastrophe. “If the youths say to you ‘Build!’ and the Elders say ‘Destroy!’ then destroy and do not build, because building by youths is destruction, and destruction by Elders is building” (Megillah 31 B). “An Elder is only one who has acquired wisdom (Torah)” (Kiddushin 32 B); all others are included in “youths”.

      752. This has always held true. During the siege of Jerusalem prior to the Second Destruction, the good element headed by the Sages attempted to make peace with the Roman besiegers, and they were approaching their goal. But the Sadduccess and Herodians, who wished to supplant the Sages as the nation’s leaders, now committed an act of wicked irresponsibility that altered the entire course of events and made the Destruction inevitable. “G-d turned their minds to the worst counsel…. and in order to overthrow Jochanan (the general appointed by the Sages) they determined to admit Shimeon” (Wars, IV, 9, 11). Shimeon bar Giora was admitted into the city, and he and his irresponsible followers warred against the good element and raised the flag of revolt against Rome. Thus Josephus (himself not a follower of the Sages) declares that the Sadduccees and Herodians (the equivalent of today’s Reformers and assimilationist liberals) brought on a reign of terror which destroyed all hope of peace with Rome and culminated in the great Destruction.

      753. Similarly, the disloyal of today work to undermine the welfare of their own people. The Jewish Federation Council of Los Angeles presented its first annual “Hiller” award to a man who donated $50,000 to the A.C.L.U. for the express purpose that the money be used solely to aid the American Nazis to gain the right to parade their banners and slogans in public (Jewish Press 8/18/78).

      754. The Zionist leaders together with the Reform “rabbis” aided substantially in the destruction of the European Jews.
      In July 1938 President Roosevelt convened the Evian Conference to consider the problem of Jewish refugees. At that time a German offer was made to release Jews at $250 per person. The Jewish Agency, headed by Golda Meir, decided to ignore the offer.
      At this conference, the delegation from the Jewish Agency made no effort to influence the United States or any of the 32 other participating nations to open their gates to admit German Jews.

      755. When a shipload of Jewish refugees on the Danube river were refused permission to disembark anywhere, Henry Montor the leader of the United Jewish Appeal explained that they could not be allowed to sail to the Holy Land because “Palestine cannot be flooded with… old people or with undesirables” (Feb. 1, 1940).

      756. On Nov. 25, 1940 the Haganah commanders ordered the blowing up of the ship Patria in Haifa Harbor as a protest against England’s plan to send refugees to Mauritius instead of to Palestine, and thus 272 Jewish refugees perished.

      757. On Dec. 17, 1942 both houses of the British Parliament declared readiness to afford temporary residence fro endangered persons, but on Jan. 27 a spokesman for the Zionists stated that the Jews opposed the motion because Palestine was omitted.

      758. The New York papers (Feb. 16, 1943) publicized Romania’s offer of 70,000 Jews of Trans-Dniestria at the price of $50 each. On Feb. 24 Stephen Wise the president of the American Jewish Congress and leader of U. S. Zionists publicly denied the authenticity of the offer and declared that no collection of funds “would seem justified.” The Jewish Agency in England also ridiculed the news of the Rumanian offer. But Under-secretary of State A. A. Berle affirmed privately that the Rumanian government had actually made such an offer to the State Department. Some time later, when all the Jews who could have been rescued had been annihilated, the facts of the offer were confirmed by Bartley Crum, an expert on affairs of the Near East, who declared that the 70,000 Jews could easily have been transported through Turkey by a few days’ travel in trucks, but the State Department had refrained from publicizing the news of the offer due to Jewish (Zionist) pressure.

      759. On Feb. 18, 1943 Yitzchak Greenbaum, chairman of the “Rescue” Committee of the Jewish Agency declared at a Zionist Executive Council in Tel-Aviv: “When they asked me: Could you not give money from the United Jewish Appeal funds for the rescue of Jews in Europe? I said No! And I say again, No! One should resist this wave which pushes the Zionist activities to secondary importance.”

      760. In 1944 the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People called upon the United States to establish a War Refugee Board. Stephen Wise came before an especial committee of Congress to object to this proposal.

      761. In 1948* President Roosevelt planned to open the gates of America to 150,000 refugees, and Great Britain agreed to follow suit. When Roosevelt’s emissary Morris L. Ernst came to England, the Zionist leaders declared: “This is treason. You are undermining the Zionist movement.” As a result, Roosevelt informed Great Britain that the project must be abandoned: “We cannot put it over because the dominant vocal Jewish leadership won’t stand for it.”
      762. In 1947 Congressman William Stratton sponsored a bill to grant immediate entry to the U.S. of 400,000 displaced persons. The bill was publicly denounced by the Zionist leaders, and it was therefore not passed.

      763. On Feb. 23, 1956 J. W. Pickersgill the minister of immigration was asked in the Canadian House of Commons: “would he open the doors of Canada to Jewish refugees?” He replied: “The government has made no progress in that direction, because the government of Israel…. does not wish us to do so”.

      764. On July 15, 1971 the Zionist leaders, through Herman Weissman the president of the Zionist Organization of America, successfully opposed an effort in the U.S. Congress to allow 30,000 Russian refugees to enter the United States.

      765. But when we turn to view the deeds of the true leaders of Israel we see an entirely different picture.
      The Sages of our people, following the principles of the Torah, concentrated all their thoughts and efforts on the saving of Jewish lives. The Vaad Hatzalah was organized by the Torah-leaders, and they toiled to raise money and to carry on negotiations and to send help to their suffering and imperiled brethren. They were not supported by the wealthy, they were ignored by the big “Jewish” organizations, and they were opposed and slandered by the irreligious. But it was they, and only they, who actually succeeded in rescuing many Jews and bringing them to a safe haven.

      766. Had Jews in America, Canada, England, Australia, South Africa and Switzerland and elsewhere followed the Torah-leaders, the story would have been entirely different. Rabbi Weismandel of Nitra poured out his heart’s blood in the effort to save Jewish lives, but the “reform” (assimilationist) and Zionist leaders of the deluded Jewish masses in the free countries turned a deaf ear to his impassioned entreaties.

      767. Because the Jewish populace of Eastern Europe, like those elsewhere, had ceased to regard the Gedolei-Torah as their leaders and spokesmen (740), and they had given prestige and power to the atheists and enemies of Torah, now in their hour of bitter need they were given a taste of the bitterness of the non-Torah leadership. At the famed Kastner trial it was revealed that the Zionist leaders in Hungary, in cooperation with the world Zionist leaders, had betrayed the Jewish masses and had prevented them from taking steps to save themselves by flight over the nearby border. At the same trial it was also revealed that Joel Brand, the emissary who went to meet the Zionist leaders, in Turkey and Palestine, to plead for a relatively small ransom fund to save many Jews from annihilation, was deceived by the chief Zionist leaders and was maneuvered by their trickery into a British prison, where he languished in despair until all those that had sent him were wiped out.

      768. Rabbi Weismandel sent urgent and impassioned appeals for small funds to stave off the deportation of thousands. The assimilationists and Zionists of Switzerland and other neutral countries and of the rich communities overseas refused his request. The Reform “Rabbis” and the disloyal, to whom the public Jewish funds were entrusted, scorned the messages which Rabbi Weismandel smuggled out at the risk of his life, and they allowed the masses of Slovakian and Hungarian Jews to be transported to the German killing-centers.

      769. It was because European Jews put their trust in atheistic Zionist leaders that these leaders everywhere became the lackeys of the Nazis in all the Ghettos. They were the machinery which served efficiently in the task of keeping the Jews docile and of persuading and coercing them to be sent off to their deaths. No Torah-leader ever cooperated with the Nazis in the destruction machinery.

      770. Similarly, it was the “reform” and liberal Jews in the American Civil Liberties Union who fought for the Nazis to win the right to come into the open in the U.S.A. with their hate-and-kill propaganda.

      771. “In the way that a man measures, so is it measured to him” (Megillah 12 B). The masses (many of them still observant) that read the periodicals of the Zionists and looked up to the anti-Torah spokesman, now saw how these same leaders were the implements of the people’s destruction.

      772. The ugly face that the errant leaders display is the result of looking up to the nations for guidance, and these non-Torah spokesmen usually mimic the worst elements of the gentile world.

      773. But G-d tells His people, the genuine Jews: Do you know why you are beautiful my beloved? Because your eyes, meaning your leaders, are like doves. The Torah-leaders are guided by the principles and precedents of the Torah, from which they gain many good qualities. Paramount among these is the quality of humility (“like doves”).

    • June 21, 2013 at 10:13 am

      …of course we could simply dismiss R Hutner & R Miller as “yeshivishe propaganda” that just serves to “confuse the average Jew”

  • June 21, 2013 at 10:02 am

    There is no source before WWI that tells one to follow the advice of rabbinic leadership on questions that revolve around pragmatic issues. There is a huge difference between the classical notion of emunas chachamim, even when they pasken on a halachic question that “the left is right, and the right is left”, and the contemporary notion of Daas Torah, which is about civil leadership, when the unknowns aren’t issues of religion. Classically, a rav was a source of halachic rulings and hashkafic guidance. Full stop.

    And look at the track record since the Agudah set up the Moetzes and told us we are supposed to follow rabbinic civil leadership:

    Many of our sages (although very far from all) were against political Zionism, but Israel today fosters more Torah learning that at any point before in history. (At least since Yehoash haMelech, although probably since Sinai.) And the Zionist enterprise build a country whose culture wasn’t built with enough input from the Torah-following community. Because we weren’t there.

    Many told their followers not to go to the treife medina. Or that Europe would be safe. And of the people who didn’t try to leave, some would have lived.

    They told the masses not to take to the streets for Soviet Jews. But records disclosed since the fall of the USSR show that not only were those SSSJ rallies successful in getting some of our brothers out, they had a hand in the final collapse of the Soviet system!

    They did tell the masses to protest and politicize a number of criminal sentences — Rubashkin, Pollard, the bachurim in Japan. Despite the fact that experts at political activism will tell you that this connsistently backfires. A judiciary can’t be shown as bowing to political pressure. Our activism is part of why Rubashkin’s sentence conformed to ridiculously long and rarely followed sentencing guidelines and Mr Pollard isn’t yet free.

    So, daas Torah is a new, non-traditional idea with a long track record of being in error. Why do we follow it?

  • June 25, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    BY the way, it should be noted that the “two brothers”, two manhigei Yisrael, perpetrated the biggest chillul Hashem in US history when from they went to Arkaos instead of Batei Din to resolve their dispute, a dispute that appeared on the front page of the Metropolitan section of the NYT (see the Rashi on first pasuk in Parshas Mishpatim). The Jewish judge, who would not rule on the case, gave both of them mussar for not following the rules of their own religion. I do not understand how they get such kavod from the Lakewood Roshei Yeshiva and other leaders of Chasidus.

  • June 25, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I agree with the author’s point of view, but there are a few factual points that need to be corrected.

    1. Regarding Herzl, the Chortkover Rebbe wished to cooperate with him on Yishuv Haaretz, but the Zionists were unwilling to give up their agenda of cultural trasnformation, so the Chortkover pulled out of the negotiations.

    2. Forced secularization of Yemenite Jews–it is an historical fact. Did Yair Lapid do it? No, but let’s not pretend that it is just charedi propaganda.

    3. Contary to what other commenters have asserted, the reason that Rav Schach left Aguda and founded Degel Hatorah was that he did not get along with the Gerrer Rebbe at the time, the Lev Simcha. Only afterwards did the Chabad issue got mixed into the Aguda-Degel rivalry.

  • June 25, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    The gathering that Barry describes is a reflection of the implicit compact between US and Israeli Charedim. Here is the two parties don’t say out loud, but know deep inside.

    Israeli Charedim: “You Americans are second rate charedim. You have secular education, a materialistic lifestyle and a lower level of learning. But we won’t condemn as long as you support our mosdos.”

    American Charedim: “You Israelis need to get off the dole, get a professional education and go to work. But we will stay silent about that issue and contribute generously to your mosdos, as long as you give us Kavod.”

    While Barry openly rejects this compact, the Wolfsons and Rabbis Kobre, Bender and Ginzberg are doing everything in their power to perpetuate it.

  • June 25, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Advocating Herzl’s plan to establish a Jewish government without Messiach is in violation with 2 of the 13 principles of the Jewish religion 1) . Hashem punishes, 2). Waiting for Meshiach,
    1) It is important to remember that Jewish Sovereignty over Eretz Yisroel is CONDITIONAL!!!!

    2) It so happened that in the covenant of Hashem with our father Abraham it was agreed that the
    punishment for violating the Jewish faith, would be Exile/Gules,

    3) Hashem told us thru our NeVeim that the redemption of the Jewish people will be by
    4) The Amoira Shmuel the biggest Poisek in his Generation says: That Hashems decree on us to WAIT
    for Meshiach, is meant for Mesihachs SOLE ACTION to Restore A Jewish Sovereignty and to reestablish
    a government ,””all other attributes to Meshiach can be (and are)disputed””,
    5) The Rambam brings down LeHalucha the words of Shmuel as Impartial: “Umri Chacumim” and states that
    who ever does not WAIT for Meshiach (as described by Shmuel) is an Apikoires

    6) The ReShab Writes a warning for our days : “That even if the Hertzel plan would achieve their
    goal, we must not listen to them in this matter “to make our redemption with our own power”.

    7) So any one who is ONLY in the OPINION that Meshiachs JOB may be achieved without him, is JUST
    Not waiting for him and is an Apikoires , and The punishment for contemplating the Herzel plan is pre warned,

    Please be open minded by joining the Satmers in prayers, that Hashem should not punish us again, because of those who are actively Non-Waiters

    • June 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm


      Your comments are illiterate; if you’re down with the Satmar haskafoh, then why not just say so instead of loading on all of the chassishe jive lingo that no one understands.

      It amazes me that “der Yoilishe” had such vitriol for anything remotely related to Zionism (with the clarion being continued, ad nauseum, to the present day by Satmar Rebbe #1 and Satmar Rebbe #2); yet it was the dastardly Zionist, Rudolf Kastner, who was responsible for rescuing R. Yoel from Hungary and thereby saving HIS LIFE. Yet there has never been a single word of appreciation uttered in public for this enormous act of pikuach nefesh.

      Their entire enterprise makes my skin crawl.

  • June 25, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Larry’s citation of Rav Hutner’s essay in the JO recalls fond memories. Barry, do you remember Rabbi Gold railing from the pulpit about the essay at the time? Or was it something he told our chevrah at his home? I don’t clearly recall. Although I am a great admirer of Rav Hutner and his writings, I found that essay noxious then and still find it noxious. Thirty six years later.

    • June 26, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      What I do remember is Rabbi Fendel’s family trying to grab it away from him one Friday night, because he was getting too worked up to be able to eat or speak.

  • June 26, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Rav Yaakov Weinberg on the Medina, Hatikva & Yom Haatzmaut:

    With regards to the medinah-how can a Jew who believes in the Ribono shel olam relate to the medina? It is anti-God from its inception.

    When they proclaimed the State of Israel they made it clear, officially, that there is no God of Israel.

    The only other nation in the world that followed this path was Communist Russia. These were the only two countries in the world who, in proclaiming their freedom, refused to mention God.

    As a compromise, they accepted “Tzur Yisroel,” the Rock of Israel, so that it should not, chas v’shalom, be the God of Israel or of the world.

    “Tzur” gives everybody the option to interpret it any way they want. You cannot relate to a medinah that is built on such a premise.

    You have to understand more deeply. The medinah not only rejects God but also rejects the whole history of K’lal Yisroel since the churban until the establishment of the State.

    The “galut mentality” is not only deprecated but is also dealt with contempt, and all those years of K’lal Yisroel’s mesiras nefesh, harbatzas Torah, building and creating, are looked at as an aberration and are rejected.

    How can you relate to a medinah that does that? We cannot. We can relate to the Jews in Eretz Yisroel-frum or not-to their needs, their safety, their financial well being.

    But to the State-it is impossible for a Jew who has a Ribono shel olam, a Jew who has a respect for 2000 years of Jewish history, to relate to the medinah.

    It is impossible. So we have to speak about Eretz Yisroel, about its importance and preciousness, and about the waiting of all of K’lal Yisroel to come back to it, without dealing with the medinah. We cannot deal with the medinah! It is impossible!

    I am just going to ask a question and I am sorry if it will offend someone, I really would like not to.

    How can a Jew celebrate a Yom Ha’atzmaut, the day of the proclamation of the State of Israel that rejects God as being involved?

    I would ask you to think a minute and see whether you can think of a greater chilul Hashem that has occurred in all the history of K’lal Yisroel, from creation until the day that the proclamation was made, than the proclaiming of a State of Israel without God?

    The United States is under God; England in under God; France is under God… Communist Russia and Israel are not under God! I am asking you in all honesty, can you think of a deeper, more far-reaching chilul Hashem that has ever taken place in the history of the world than that-than Jews officially rejecting God? This is an awesome chilul Hashem.

    If we had a bais din it would be a day of fasting and mourning. It would be a Tisha B’av. A day in which a Jewish state was proclaimed by officially rejecting God is literally a Tisha B’av, a churban she’ain kamohu.

    I am asking you to be a little honest-how can you celebrate a day that such a chilul Hashem took place?

    The truth is the truth; I do not know how you can live with it.

  • June 30, 2013 at 1:14 am

    Larry, you seem to have a nice collection of sources. Seems like some sort of sport you are playing.

    I have heard others who are on the Chareidi side of things, acknowledge the need to show hakoras hatov. I won’t dig up quotes lest we will get into a competition of who has more quotes. Or whose quotes are from “bigger” gedolim (I love that one!)

    Face it Larry – It is a sad situation we are in. We have many bnei Torah who assume everything is coming to them. They don’t have much hakoras hatov. Not even to their shver who is bankrupt trying to keep them in learning way past the 5 year deal. Some of it is based on what you quoted, but much of it simply part of the culture.

    You can’t deny it. I know it from the inside. And many of us realize this.

    It’s mutar to insult bad guys. It’s mutar to not have hakoras hatov toward the bad guys. It’s mutar to hate the bad guys. They aren’t “achicha” so none of the issurim apply to them.

    Bring up your children that way and you might be sadly disappointed to see their lack of compassion as they become adults. And all in the name of the Torah.

    Oh, you want to be like Pinchos? IIRC Pinchos was Eliyahu haNavi. He was so tough on klal yisroel that Hashem told him to go away. You wanna be a kanoi? I hope you’re as pure as you need to be for that. Otherwise please stay far away from me – You’re dangerous!

    • July 1, 2013 at 8:47 am

      >>you seem to have a nice collection of sources

      thank you.

      >>You wanna be a kanoi?

      Where do you see kanaus here? Quoting R Elchonan, Chazon Ish, R Ovadiah, R Weinberg & R Hutner is Kanaus? What do you mean? If you mean my tone, Dr. Jacobson already set the tone by his odious characterization of R Shach

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