Monday, September 05, 2005

The Religious Zionism Debate XIII

The Frumteens moderator has selectively quoted from the historical record in this post, ommitting material that completely undermines his claim that all of the Gedolim oppose any form of Jewish state in the land of Israel before the messiah arrives. He writes as follows:

In the summer of '37 at the third Kenesia gedolah of the rabbinical leaders of Agudath Israel held in Marienbad, which included hundreds of rabbis, heads of yeshiva religious academies and grand rabbis of Chassidic communities from a number of countries. Rabbi Aharon Kotler attended this convention.

From the journal Hapardes (Year 11, Issue 7) describing the convention:

"Rabbi Wasserman, Rabbi Kotler, Rabbi Rottenberg from Antwerp, and rabbis from Czechoslovakia and Hungary were unanimous in rejecting any proposal for a "Jewish State" on either side of the Jordan River, even if it were established as a religious state because such a regime would be a form of heresy in our faith in the belief in the coming of the Messiah, and especially since this little "Jewish" state would be built on heresy and desecration of the Name of G-d.

The late Rabbi Shlomo Rottenberg (a historian and author of Toldos Am Olam and other works), who also attended the Convention in '37 used to say that he could still remember what was discussed there, and the harsh opposition of these rabbinical leaders to a "Jewish State" that is a violation of the Three Oaths mentioned in the Talmud. (Rabbi A.L. Spitzer)
What the moderator fails to mention is that these rabbis were outvoted!!! That's right. The issue of HaPardes that the Frumteens moderator quotes is available online here (PDF) and the relevant passage is on page 8. After the part quoted/translated by the Frumteens moderator, the article continues:
Arguing against them were the Admo"rim from Boyan and Sadigora, Rav Tzirelson (the president of the [Agudath Israel] congress), Rav Levin from Reisha (the head of Agudath Israel), and Rav Sorotzkin, [who said that] it is possible to agree, according to the laws of the Torah, to the establishment of a Jewish state in its portion of the land of Israel without denying the belief in the coming of the redeemer. There is no need to be concerned that the non-religious will chase, through the Jewish state, the religion. Therefore, it is forbidden to push off entirely the matter of the Jewish state; rather we must pursue expanding its borders and ensuring that the laws of a Jewish state will be founded on religion and tradition. And to protest that they did not ask Haredi Judaism and did not include its leaders in this discussion.

And those saying yes won!
Incidentally, the Boyaner Rebbe's son, who is still alive and well in New York, told me that he once heard his father and the Satmar Rav in the former's house screaming at each other about the state of Israel, with the Boyaner Rebbe opposing the Satmar Rav's harsh anti-Zionist stance. After that, they agreed to never talk to each other about the subject again.

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