Wednesday, May 07, 2008



by Akiva at Mystical Paths

Anonymous commentor, in response to my post of Holocaust articles on Israeli Holocaust Remembrance day, commented, "So Akiva, you're a Zionist, not a choside, eh? At least be upfront about it."

Almost every settlement in the West Bank has a Chabad house. Are they not chassidim because they are in the West Bank? The settlement Tel Tziyon is mostly chassidim, but they're in the West Bank. So is Immanuel.

Charedim, the ultra-orthodox of which chassidim make up a major percentage, almost all receive kitzvat yeladim (national child support payments from the Israeli government). Hmm, that's money from the Israeli government. Does that make them not choside? Bet they go to the national health clinics also, probably have babies in the national health system hospitals (exception in Netanya, where the chassidim built their own hospital).

But yes, I am a Tzionist! I yearn for the Land of Israel. Every time I eat, I pray for the rebuilding of Jerusalem! (Bet you do too.) I am thrilled to walk the holy ground given to us by G-d, promised to Avraham Avinu, to Yitzchok, to Yaakov, shown to Moshe Rabaynu, entered by Yehoshua bin Nun. I believe when the Torah says Yishuva Haaretz, settle the land, that's as much of a mitzvah as tefillin or mezuzot or kashrus. While in the US, I cried when I heard of a bomb blast in Israel, of our brethren being killed in the holy land simply for being Jews. I raged at the foolish politicians who believe nothing and trade away the Land given by G-d and showered with obvious miracles for false promises and they're own false glorification.

I am a tzionist from the Torah. I refuse to separate from the Land because a foolish government and a wacked ideology of Zionism without Hashem came into being. (Just as I advise the chilonim I know, the ultra-secular Israelis, because they disagree with the charedim is no reason to cede their portion of the Torah away.)

If being a tzionist is one to believes the words of the Torah and Hashem's promises to the bnei Yisroel regarding it, with not merely include but literally focus upon Eretz Yisroel, the LAND of Israel, then indeed I am.

Personally, I don't find this being at odds with being a chossid. My chassidus is not in the White Russian style long coat I wear, it is in the understanding of Hashem that I've learned, the avodas Hashem I perform, and the directives of the Rebbe I follow.

There are some rebbe's, notably the Satmar Rebbe, who opposed the creation of the State of Israel, perhaps with ruach hakodesh of much of what has come. Yet others, while not supporting it, were not beyond trying to take the secular vessel and trying to use it and fashion it for holiness.

During the Napoleonic wars, there were some rebbe's who supported Napoleon and France, and some who supported Russia.

All remained chassidim.

However, I ask you, how can one separate from the Land of Israel, from the mitzvos of Eretz Yisroel, from the daily yearning for Eretz HaKodesh, how can one merely mouth the words during every shemona esrai (standing prayer 3 times a day), of benching (blessings after a meal), of the shema (3 times if you're a chossid, morning, evening, and bed time), ignoring their intimate connection to Israel, ignore the request for dew per the weather of physical Israel, of rain per the need of physical Israel, of blossoming trees when they blossom in Israel, of literally facing towards Israel, how can one ignore that, how can one just mouth that, and remain a religious Jew?

I am not, however, a secular zionist out to create a new Jew, a national religious imbuing the State with kedushah, a charedi who would maximize use of the State while minimizing contribution, or a chiloni who would utilize the State to crush away the vestiges of old-style Jewishness. I am a Lubavitcher, I seek to extract every spark, to utilize every neutral tool for kedushah, and those with true potential for kedushah, to wake up that potential.

Support the Path! - Posted at Mystical Paths,


Anonymous said...

"There are some rebbe's, notably the Satmar Rebbe, who opposed the creation of the State of Israel"
Some?! /ALL/ Including the Rebbe Rashab and the Frediker Rebbe (who davka took US citizenship!) The Rebbe took nesius after the fact, but viewed the tzioni klipa the same way.

Advice for someone who claims "I am a Lubavitcher": learn what your Rebbes said about Zionism (not what you might /think/ they meant).

Jewish Person said...

The hardest part about being a blogger - a frum blogger at that- is that everyone thinks they can criticize you.

You are just never left to feel/ be/ think for yourself. Once you belong, its like 'well, you ought to think this!' or 'you ought to believe that' etc etc etc.

Its sickening the way we judge each other. If you say x. "ooooh! so you are far far into the right aren't you, weeeeeell..."

If you say y, "aaaaaaah! so I always suspected you were such a leftist!'


Which is why we all have to post in anonymous names. HAHA HAHA HA. so sad.

Reb. Nati said...

Well I'm a breslover chossid, and I would gladly shed every drop of my blood for the land and for every Jew. But I wont shed a drop of sweat for the state. I as Akiva Am here because i wanted to keep al the mitzvot I've planted trees , kept orlah build house mine aswell as for others. Iwould not call my self a Tzionist as per the negative conotation but I am every part a believing Jew who clings to Hashem the Land the Torah and to it's people even the non knowing ones you see I didn't say non believing ones as there is no such thing! the ones who apear Jewish and percecute us are the erev rav which are not Jews at all they have jewish goof but but goyish neshama where a ger has a goyish goof but a jewish neshama. but we are to be a light to all regarudless of who they are i dont see types i just see jews one big family. its a shame that all of us dont see this way!!!

Akiva said...

Once again someone reads a whole article and still gets it conceptually wrong. (Maybe my writing is that bad?)

I am not a Zionist, in the form that Anonymous-1 refers to that people and the Rebbe hold against.

However, the Torah intimately ties Am Yisroel to Eretz Yisroel. In benching (blessings after eating bread), don't you say "rebuild of Jerusalem"?

In Shemona Esrai, don't you say "May our eyes behold Your return to Tzion in mercy. Blessed are you Lord, who restores His Divine Presence to Tzion"??

Don't you want the return of the Divine Presence to Tzion? Don't you pray that 3 times a day?

Do you mean you don't mean it because of a misunderstanding of the Satmar rebbe's disagreement with the secular zionists who started Israel and the misuse of the word zionists by those anti-Torah people?

Rafi G said...

I always say that Moshe Rabbeinu was a real Zionist,

josh said...

The problem is that some 'generic' terms are 'stolen' and given such negative connotations like zionist, settler, Messianic Jew, American, etc...

The mpaths crew is right on here. Every Jew needs to be a 'zionist', otherwise their daily prayers are meaningless. The start of modim - v'techezena einenu - return to zion is another example I love.

The largest cities in the 'West Bank' are full of Hassidim - Kiryat Sefer and Betar Illit.

I serve in the army, but thank God (and the evil people who performed it) since the girush of the Jews from Gush Katif, the purpose of that service has been better defined. I serve in the army to honour God's name and to protect Jews no matter if it is people skiing on Shabbat at the Hermon, suntanning in Eilat, or farmers in the Beit Shean Valley.

Chabadnik said...

Chosid know thy Rebbe

by Rabbi Yehoshua Dubrawsky

This happened many decades ago. I was working then for the "Shulsinger Brothers" famous printing and publishing establishment. They had acquired a reputation for the number of sefarim they had printed as well as the quality of the printing and binding, "good ink on good paper," which had become the standard in the Jewish world.

The two owners of the printing company, Michel and Shmuel Shulsinger, had a great share in the dissemination of Toras Chassidus Chabad - of the Rebbe Rayatz and the Rebbe nasi doreinu - after the war. At that time, Shulsinger Brothers invested over $30,000 a year, an enormous amount at that time, to print various sefarim (Chassidus, sifrei chinuch, pamphlets etc.).

The truth is that on more than one occasion they really went "all out" in order to do what the Rebbe wanted (for example, printing a book or pamphlet as quickly as possible, and sometimes impossible ... and remember, this was when printing was done with molten lead, not with high speed computerized machinery). Thanks to their efforts, they had the privilege of enjoying an especially warm relationship with the Rebbe Rayatz, and then as a natural extension of that, with the Rebbe.

However, they were "farbrente tziyonim" (ardent Zionists), and as such, they did not manage to absorb the pnimiyus of the closeness they enjoyed with the Rebbeim, which led to the following incident.

One day when I arrived at the printers, the brothers attacked me with complaints and a hue and cry (as though I was guilty for something). Mind you, by nature they were excitable fellows.

Their main point was: we never realized that the Lubavitcher Rebbe is such a kanai (fanatic), even more of a kanai than the Satmar Rebbe!

What had happened to elicit this outburst? It took some time before they calmed down and could tell me what happened.

At that time, the Shulsinger Brothers were pioneers, and for quite some time they were the only ones, who published Jewish calendars. Their satisfied customers were Jewish organizations, particularly those involved in fundraising, that used the calendars for advertising.

Lubavitch had ordered calendars. Rabbi Chodakov a'h would carefully go over every single item under the Chabad name (Kehot, Mercas L'Inyonei Chinuch, etc.). The Shulsinger Brothers always wrote "Yom Ha'Atzmaut" (Israel's Independence Day) for the date 5 Iyar. When they brought the proofs for the Chabad calendar to R' Chodakov, he noticed those two words near the date for 5 Iyar and he erased them so vigorously that not a trace remained of them.

When the proofs were back at the printer and they noticed this correction, they went crazy. They were simply furious and they resolved that this would not be allowed. They set off for 770, went into R' Chodakov's miniscule office, and began shouting: How could he?! They screamed all the reasons why noting Yom Ha'Atzmaut on the calendars was a sacred principle for them.

R' Chodakov, in his usual unflappable manner, heard them out and when they were done, he responded calmly though resolutely, saying that it was out of the question for those words to appear on a Chabad calendar. Without getting into a debate with them, he let them know that if they would stand on their principle, Chabad's order was cancelled.

The brothers realized they had wasted their efforts in the wrong place, because he wouldn't change his mind (one of them said dismissively, "speaking to a Yekke like him is like talking to the wall"), and they decided to go over his head.

In those years it was still relatively easy to get an appointment with the Rebbe, especially for those who had enjoyed such a close relationship. Within a short time they had an appointment with the Rebbe. This is what the Shulsinger brothers told me that day:

First of all, how could Yom Ha'Atzmaut be erased from the calendar? The day the state was established was in the way of "ischalta d'Geula" (the beginning of Geula)! How could it be ignored?!

The Rebbe responded sharply: "Ischalta dGeula"? Chas V'Shalom! It was not the ischalta d'Geula!

The brothers began arguing: Nu, fine, it wasn't the beginning of the complete Geula, but it was still a day of salvation and redemption for the Jewish people! Why should it be erased?

Again, the Rebbe responded sharply: No! It was not a day of salvation and redemption for the Jewish people! (there were some other phrases which I don't remember now).

The brothers remained dissatisfied and even raised their voices (as they themselves told me), and tried to plead with the Rebbe that even if it wasn't an actual yeshua for the Jewish people, it was at least a festive day, and it represented salvation for many Jews.

I think the Rebbe also raised his voice - the talmidim in the yeshiva who sat in the small zal, not far from the yechidus room, said that they could hear the voices of the brothers the entire time, but then suddenly they could hear the Rebbe speaking loudly. This is what the Rebbe said which the brothers repeated to me:

"Not only is it not the ischalta d'Geula; not only is it not a Yom Tov and a day of salvation for the Jewish people etc. - but this delayed the Geula for such and such a number of tens of years!"

One of the brothers remembered a certain number the Rebbe had said, though he said it with reservations, "I think .." while the other brother remembered a different number, and was also doubtful. It's interesting that they didn't remember the number precisely (maybe due to their emotional state at the time).

(and for me too, so many years later, it's hard to pinpoint what they said, but I think that the number was forty-five years).

That was when the brothers finally understood how the Rebbe regarded Zionism, with a "fanaticism that was greater than Satmar's" - while at the same time, how precious every Jew is to the Rebbe, even those who still believe in Zionism.

Akiva said...

Chabadnik - I'm not sure I understand your point. My post does not say a single word about the State, nor recommend holding by the ideals propagated by the modern zionists.

I'll also note the Rebbe specifically sent shluchim to Israel, again and again, approved the creation of Kfar Chabad and many other Chabad organizations in Israel, and specifically helped fund the rebuilding of the Menucha Rochel Kollel in Hevron.

Like most Chabadnikim in Israel, I simply live within the State and appreciate the Jews here, but love the Land of Israel.

Anonymous said...

if only we had the strength to listen to the rebbe about the land ? ! what is wrong with me with you with us ?

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