Posted 17 January 2012 - 07:39 PM
I will explain shortly. At least for now, let us understand that there is nothing in Judaism that can explain religious Zionism.
Posted 20 January 2012 - 01:28 AM
Lets say we said religious zionism was the desire to return to EY and live there under Jewish control, but not necessarily trying to bring the geula early, just wanting to live there and be under Jewish jurisdiction to enable us to keep more mitzvos. Could there be a source in Judaism for wanting this? I feel like I have heard that some major gedolim support this and are not antithetical to this but not sure I would need to do more research.
Posted 20 January 2012 - 03:16 PM
We will see that when we understand the history of Zionism and how it developed, we will understand perfectly why Zionists have those bizarre attitudes toward Israel and why their religion basically revolves so much around it as opposed to the standard Torah values.
Then there's more. When we are done learning what Zionism is, the question you just asked, as well as others, will answer themselves.
Posted 23 January 2012 - 03:35 PM
However, i always thought of religious zionism as completely separate, and was about religious Jews who wanted to live in E"Y under Jewish rule to keep the Torah and Mitzvos better and in a safer environment.
Posted 05 February 2012 - 03:12 PM
Three Serious Problems
We can classify the problems with Zionism into three groups. I will explain each one separately:
1) It is a redefining of Jewish identity and values (i.e. the ideology of Zionism; not the State per se).
2) It is a violation of the Gezeiras HaGalus (i.e. the State, not the ideology of Zionism).
3) It costs precious Jewish lives.
Posted 05 February 2012 - 03:24 PM
Look at these statements and guess who made them:
The Jews are a non-people, a non-nation - non-men, indeed.
Jews have taken on a number of antisocial characteristics
Jewish life is a dog's life that evokes disgust.
Jews are like filthy dogs, inhuman dogs.
The Nazis? The Ku Klux Klan? David Duke?
No. Those statements were made by early Zionists and Maskilim. The second one was said by Herzl. That's why they created Zionism. They were unhappy with the traditional Jewish "nation" (and its despised state among the nations) so they strove to get rid of it and replace it with a new one. A real one. One that would be "normal" - like the Goyishe nations.
Their goal was to re-define the very meaning of a Jew and the Jewish nation.
Rav Avigdor Miller ZTL describes it as follows:
What Haman and Titus could not do, the Israelis are attempting. The first could only attempt to destroy the physical existence of Israel, but the State of Israel is attempting to counterfeit the term Jew and to erase all boundaries between Jew and non-Jew (Sing You Righteous, p. 20).
The way they sought to accomplish this was through rewriting national history, including creating new national heroes, allies and enemies, politics, aspirations, culture, even a new language, and re-educating the masses, especially the youth who they tried very hard to separate, culturally and psychologically, from their parents. They would leverage thousands of years of Jewish history and religion, and exploit them to give an illusion of historical momentum to their newly created nationality. And, of course, they would also use plain force of arms to make sure that the New Hebrew replaced the old religious Jew (as in the case of the children of Tehran). They learned these tried-and-true methods from other people who used them or variations thereof, including the Bolsheviks / Communists.
That's the executive summary. See below for the details (including the sources of those statements).
The Am Yisroel
Nations are nations because its members share a common land, common language, common culture, common enemy, etc. The Jewish nation, however, is different. As Rav Sadiah Gaon says, the Am Yisroel is not an Am because of any such factors. We are a nation for one reason only: Because we share the Torah. Our religion is our nationhood. Nothing else contributes to our nationhood besides the Torah. Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch writes that the reason Hashem gave us the Torah in the desert is to show that the Jewish nation does not need a country to be a nation. We are a nation because of our religion. The language we speak, the place we live, the food we eat, etc., have no impact on our being an Am. The Am Yisroel is the Am Yisroel because we came out of Egypt and Hashem gave us the Torah on Mt. Sinai.
"Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity." . To understand the concept enough for our purposes, please read at least first and second parts of that Wikipedia article (until after the History section). As people in many different lands were starting to define themselves through national identities, the secular Jews were not far behind in wanting their own national identity as well. Identifying with their host countries was unsatisfying for them, because due to antisemitism, they found that they were not really welcome much as German or Russian nationals. Identifying with their religion was not an option either because they rejected their religion.
But even more than rejecting the religion itself, they rejected, in the most awful terms, the identity and the self-image that the Jewish religion bestowed upon a Jewish person. They rejected the national identity of the Am Yisroel. The hatred that these assimilated Jews had for the Jewish identity that resulted from Torah and Mitzvos was terrible to behold.
One need not search hard to find denigrating images of the Altjude [traditional Jew] in Zionist rhetoric and pamphletry. Herzl had already noted in 1894 that Jews had "taken on a number of antisocial characteristics" in the ghettos of Europe, and that the Jewish character was "damaged." Frishman opined that "Jewish life is a dog's life that evokes disgust." Joseph Haim Brenner likened Jews to "filthy dogs, inhuman, wounded dogs." Gordon wrote that European Jews were parasites. Berdyczewski christened traditional Jews "spiritual slaves, men whose natural forces had dried up and whose relation to the world was no longer normal," and elsewhere, "a non-people, a non-nation - non-men, indeed." (Efron p.88, Rabkin, p. 46).
(to be continued)
Posted 07 February 2012 - 07:48 PM
Zionism: The Transformation of the Jews into a Secular People
Enter Zionism: The Re-Defining of the very meaning of Jewishness. Religion of course would have to go. The Jewish people, instead of being defined by Judaism (religion) would be defined like normal nations are - a common land, a common language, a common culture, common enemies. The New Jewish Nation would no longer possess all those despicable characteristics of the "Golus Yidden," such as the Chofetz Chaim or the Vilna Gaon did. Instead, the New Jewish Nation will be strong, proud, and feared. To do this, the Zionists leveraged the already-existing Jewish national symbols, traditions, and even its history, and used them as propaganda tools for the transformation of a nation.
The Rewriting of Jewish History
History was rewritten. Jewish history is replete with sufferings of the Jews, but also with lessons from the sufferings. Indeed, the Meforshim write that there is no purpose in telling over tales of Jewish suffering unless there is also the lessons and the Mussar that comes in its wake. And so -- the first Bais HaMikdash was destroyed - it was due to the 3 most severe Sins; the second Bais HaMikdash was destroyed, it was due to Sinas Chinam, and of course the militant attitude of the Baryonim. There is no thought in Chazal of how to avenge Jewish blood form the Romans or to boycott their empire. Jews knew that the Goyish nations can do us no harm -- "it is not the snake that kills, the sin kills." And although we never rely on miracles, that is only as individuals. When the Nation of Klall Yisroel is concerned, our very existence is a miracle, and, nationally, it is our MItzvos and Aveiros that we always knew determined our fate.
Our heroes were the Tzadikim. The Reshayim were disdained.
The Zionists rewrote all that. Jewish suffering was mentioned as a result of our exile from our land. Our very nationhood was destroyed when we went into Golus, according to them. Jewish suffering led to the degradation and humiliation of our being a non-nation with no home -- and our having no home led to our degradation and humiliation. Jewish history always led like a compass to the happy ending of the State of Israel (with all the blue and white confetti and the soldiers smiling and waving from tanks in joyful parade).
Their heroes? Yuck. Did you ever heard of Masada? The IDF soldiers used to be sworn in at that site. Do you know who those people in Masada were? They were not heroes. They were Sicarii (ironic, how that name is used today. These were the original sicarii - the name they use today is taken from them!), knife-killers, thugs who were run out of Jerusalem during the days of the Churban Bayis Sheni. Murderers of Jews, those people on Masada were. They once came down from their Masada fortress and butchered 700 Jews in Ein Gedi, stole their food, and went back up to Masada. The worst of the worst kind of human beings, they were.
They were the actual SIcarii. The same group who terrorized and killed Jews.
And yet Zionists glorify these people, and their collective suicide. They twisted the entire story and created a political myth, concocted mostly by Shmaria Guttman and Yigal Yadin, that is proudly touted and taught to young Israelis, all in order to create a fake history of Jewish militant hero role-models,
The "climb to Masada" is part of the propaganda. One secular Jew, a young writer who climbed Masada as part of BIrthright, desribes the experience:
We go on a physical quest -- the dramatic hike at sunrise. Then we're told an inspiring tale designed to give us moral guidance...You're looking out on the desert, physically unchanged since the Sicarii's time. Feeling that you are a part of their history is almost effortless. And Israel has tons of enemies who you can put in place of the Romans. If you see them as role models, ones that could even be your own ancestors, why wouldn't you be inspired to defend [Israel] at all costs?
Other details of the story were also fabricated, not the least of which was the "battles" between the Romans and the fighters on Masada. There were no battles. It was a typical Roman military siege, followed by a collective suicide of these Sicarii. (This is an excellent book on the topic.)
The Zionists glorified and admired the SIcarii, and the Baryonim -- the enemies of the Jews who caused the destruction of our Bais HamIkdash. In October '31, Abba Achimeir, Uri Zvi Grinberg and Yehoshua Yevin formed a militant activist group called "Brit HaBaryonim" (many of its members were previously members of the Etzel and Lehi). One of the books of the Brit HaBaryonim is called "We the Sicarii."
Our enemies are their role models. Our heroes are what they look down upon.
Almost 2000 years of Jewish life in Golus became irrelevant for the Zionists (except of course for the suffering which they used in their propaganda). The Zionists required a new past, a new history, and they created it.
The Israeli Declaration of Independence states that the Land of Israel, Palestine] was the birthplace of the Jewish people.
No. The birthplace of the Jewish people was Har Sinai!
It states further:
After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people kept faith with it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom.
No.We hoped and prayed for Moshiach and the Geulah, NOT for political freedom. Not להיות עם חפשי בארצינו
But the hijacking of our religion and using it as a tool for secularization is not limited to their revisionist history.
(to be continued)
Posted 08 February 2012 - 08:15 PM
The new language they created, Ivrit, was also designed to function as a tool to redefine the Jewish nation. This is from Prof Yakov Rabkin, page 57:
Eliezer ben Yehuda (1858-1922), the instigator of the Hebrew revival, had studied at a traditional school in the Russian empire ... In open revolt against Judaism, he promoted the secularizaiton of the language as a means of creating the "New Hebrew Man." Thus the word bitachon, which means "trust in God," came to mean "military security." The shift was far from innocent: the effect was to distance the new Hebrew language from traditional sources and, at the same time, to approach and win over traditionalist Jews, who were drawn by terms familiar to them. The process of distancing concentrated on the meanings of words precisely because the words themselves retained their original form. Thus the messianic term kibbutz galuyot, which meant "in-gathering of exiles," came to mean, in the new context, "immigration;" the Mishnaic term keren kayemet, "permanent fund," which originally meant the accumulation of merits in this life to be "expended" in the world to come, was transformed into the name of the Jewish National Fund, the financial arm of the Zionist movement. Another example is the word agada, which denotes the ethical and inspirational - and non-legal - parts of the Talmud. In Modern Hebrew, agadah has taken on the meaning of legend, made-up story ...[T]hese references to the Judaic heritage paved the way for Modern Hebrew and the Zionist worldview. Vladimir Jabotinsky, for instance, entitled his beginner's textbook of Modern Hebrew Taryag Milim (613 Words) an allusion to the 613 mitzvahs,which, according to Jewish tradition, is the total number of the Jewish commandments (Jabotinsky 1950). Moreover, Jabotinsky's beginners' Hebrew text uses the Latin alphabet, making it possible for the learner to communicate in the Hebrew language but not to access most of the Jewish heritage, which uses the Hebrew alphabet, even when the Lagrange is not Hebrew: e.g. Aramaic in the Talmud, Arabic for most of treatises of Maimonides (1135-1204), the Sephardic philosopher and codifier, and Yiddish for Tsena u-rena, the "Women's Bible" published in the eighteenth century. Jabotinsky's approach was similar to that of his contemporary, Kemal Ataruk. Ataruk's reform of the Turkish language abolished Arabic script and, as a result, severed the overwhelmingly Muslim Turks from direct access to their Islamic heritage. But, several decades later, another beginners' textbook was entitled Elef Milim (One Thousand Words), since the Jewish masses for whom the new manual was written ... no longer recognized the number 613, for all its established place in the Jewish tradition.
And the accent that they designed for Ivrit, made the Ashenazi, Yiddish-speaking accent sound very out of place, even fossilized; and the Sefardic accent coarse and foreign. This, too, was done by design.
It should be obvious to all of us by now what Rav Chaim Brisker ZTL said: "The goal of Zionism is not to create a state. The goal of Zionism is shmad. They just want a state as a means to that end."
(to be continued)
Posted 08 February 2012 - 11:17 PM
All the zionist tools mentioned above, from the importance of nationalism, the greatness of the 'martyrs' at massadah, and learning ivrit, etc. were used against me from the time I was a young child. Support of Israel, we were taught, is an essential component necessary to be a good Jew. If you're anti Israel/zionism, you are a neturei karta extremist. I went to a conservative elementary school where we sang the hatikva every morning. I was taught that Israel has enabled us lihiyot am chofshi, that without the creation of Israel we were doomed as a people. Never was there any talk of golus. The message was pretty much the same when I moved on to a modern orthodox high school. Our bais medrash had an Israeli flag in it, and we were encouraged to take modern hebrew classes taught by non-frum Israelis. Of course there were a few Rabbis who were not zionists, but the leadership and the message of the school was overwhelmingly pro-zionist. I recall being told by the dean of the school that the top yeshivas in Israel (we were taught that the 'Israel Experience' is a must) are Gush, KBY, and Shaalavim. These were such advanced yeshivas, that shiur is given in hebrew! Baruch hashem, my hebrew wasn't that great and I ended up at a more mainstream yeshiva.
Just one more anecdote. While I was learning in eretz yisroel, a group of 9th graders from my alma mater were brought to EY as part of a school trip. There was one kid in particular on the trip who looked up to me when I was a senior. When I asked him how he has enjoyed the trip, he told me that he's "learned so much, most importantly that Judaism and zionism is one in the same." It's bad out there...
Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:10 PM
The Zionists published a Hagadah shel Pesach with no references to Hashem. Instead, the Hagadah, which was used in certain leftist Kibbutzim, replace G-d with Joseph Stalin, who, it read, "led us out of the house of slavery." (Ben Gurion, by the way, was a big admirer of Lenin and the Communists.)
The Yizkor prayer was rewritten, by Berl katznelson. In it, the one praying does not merely ask Hashem to remember the deceased - the meaning behind the death of the deceased one is mentioned. Hashem is asked to remember the Jewish people's "heroes who have given their lives for the dignity of Israel and the Land of Israel."
The Bracha ברוך אתה ה אלקינו מלך העולם אשר בחר בנו מכל העמים was explained as meaning "G-d has chosen us to acquire the land of Israel."
The Zionists felt they had no nation to belong to. So they decided to create one. But, instead of creating a new nation from scratch, they decided to take the ancient Nation of Yisroel, gut it and remodel it. They gutted its history and remodeled it to serve their agenda; they gutted its religious ideology and remodeled it with their political, secular, Nationalistic philosophy; they gutted its language and remodeled it to be a wedge between the "old generation" and the young, and to indoctrinate the Jews with their own secular Nationalistic agenda.
They committed identity theft against Klall Yisroel. They were going to be the Nation of Israel. They were going to be the Jews. If you belong to their newly created Nation, you were a Jew; if you are loyal to it, you are a good Jew. Religion was at best irrelevant, and at worst an obstacle to real Jewishness.
And they worked hard, using well known Nationalist tactics to indoctrinate the Jews with their new identity.
It was an ingenious Shmad, something never before attempted. Instead of trying to secularize the Jews with intellectual arguments, as did the Maskilim, they added to their secularism an artificial Jewish ethnicity, and artificial Jewish pride, an artificial Jewish history, and a promise to finally rid them of Antisemitism. Instead of trying to inculcate the Jews with new ideas, It used the already-existing hopes and emotions and yearnings of the Jews and using propaganda, Communist-type brainwashing tactics, historical revisionism, indoctrination of the youth, presented themselves as their fulfillment. They were the Jewish people. We were all, finally, after all these years, the Jewish People.
All thanks to them.
It was identity theft. They stole our name, "Am Yisroel," they stole our past history, and like identity thieves, they presented themselves to the world (and still do) as the Jewish Nation in the Jewish Land. (Again, communist tactics. The Bolsheviks, too, claimed to represent the "masses," which was a complete falsehood.)
(to be continued)
Posted 11 February 2012 - 11:39 PM
OK, and who was looked upon with more disdain- someone who didn't put on Tefillin or a totally frum Yid who was against Zionism?
The majority of students weren't frum altogether, and there was no "looking down" on anyone (it was against school policy). However, if you were frum and wanted to say tachnun or not say hallel on yom haatzmaut, you were looked at by the zionist element in the school as being extremist. No question about it. Agav, you were also considered an extremist if you didn't want to attend the girls basketball tournament...
Posted 15 February 2012 - 11:46 AM
Ok, so I am understanding that certain Jews redefined Judaism to be a national secular identity instead of a religion and stole the ideas and twisted it to their own goal.
Like with the Sicarii. And sorry for harping on this one point but I never heard that before about Masada. But didn't Masada have a Mikvah? Weren't they religious?
Ok putting that aside, I am wondering though if while they tilt history to their needs- its not completely false, just like we interpret history to make sense with our story. Thats just how it is with history- its unlikely to get the true story. Like what Rabbi Shapiro said before about the Brittish and Americans understanding the revolutionary war differently. But I guess the difference is that we have our Chachamim guiding us as to how to interpret events.
Still, I am thinking it was not as simple as this, that why would all these Jewish people have this desire to be shmad CV the Jewish religion.
I understand more though why secular Zionism is so problematic and really anti Jewish religion. I guess religious zionism based off that is really an oxymoron in terms ( I know we are not there yet, but I am not seeing the problem with religious zionism as a totally separate thing of just wanting a Jewish State to serve Hashem better)
Posted 16 February 2012 - 12:06 AM
This is just background. The best is yet to come.
Whoa. That is a lot of intense information. Thank you for putting it all together.
Not "Certain Jews." The Zionists. It was them and only them. There was a whole movement dedicated to this purpose - Zionism. That is what Zionism was about. But more accurately than saying they wanted to redefined Judaism, would be to say they redefined the Jewishness as having nothing to do with Judaism.
Ok, so I am understanding that certain Jews redefined Judaism to be a national secular identity instead of a religion and stole the ideas and twisted it to their own goal.
And their "goal" was to replace Judaism with Zionism.
Of course not. That's what revisionist history is - a national entity , in this case, Israel, makes up or distorts a story and teaches it proudly to its population in order to make a Nationalistic point, but they don;t tell you the true story or the whole story. The only source that Masada ever happened at all is Josephus. Its a small paragraph, very insignificant, and it describes it as I did above, including the murder of 700 Jews in Ein Gedi. Nobody ever went there to visit because there was n reason, till the Zionists built a whole fake story around it and made these guys into national heroes.
Like with the Sicarii. And sorry for harping on this one point but I never heard that before about Masada.
The exposing of the Israel's twisting of the story can be found in many books and scholarly articles. there is no disagreement about this. The Zionists would not even deny it. They created the Masada myth as propaganda to further their ends.
Yes, they were. They were just thugs and murderers too. And enemies of the Torah Jews. Remember the story of Kamtza and bar Kamtza? How people wnated to stab the casket of Rav Yochanan ben Zakai to see if he was really dead? And how they burned the food the Jews had in order to force them to fight the Romans? Which all led to our Bais HamIkdash getting destroyed? They were frum Jews too.
But didn't Masada have a Mikvah? Weren't they religious?
History is hard to get accurately, true, but in this case they purposely changed the story. It's was not an interpretation, it was a purposeful distortion. Its not like the British - it's more like the Communists, or the Holocaust deniers. They know there were no battles between the people in Masada and the Romans. They know the Masada "heroes" were murderers who massacred Jews for their supplies. These were not good people. They were the lowest of the low. The Zionists purposely changed many facts of the story. The story's only record is in Josephus. There is no other source. They changed the story on purpose to make Jewish fighter-heroes that didn't exist. They know that they did this - and they admit they did this.
Ok putting that aside, I am wondering though if while they tilt history to their needs- its not completely false, just like we interpret history to make sense with our story. Thats just how it is with history- its unlikely to get the true story.
But Zionist education, including religious Zionist education, follows the Israeli version, hook line and sinker. It makes you wonder what else the Israelis have faked or distorted and then taught as if it were true? (The answer is, a lot. Wait till we talk about the Holocaust.)
In this case they changed facts, as I said above. This is not an interpretation. It was a purposeful revisionist history created in order to create a fake history. They fabricated these tales on purpose and they knew it. But you are right that what facts they did not change, they reinterpreted as well. Chazal tell us the Baryonim and Sicarii were responsible fr the Churban and our Golus; that they were their thuggish ways destroyed our land. The Zionists hold these people are real Jews, and that people like R. Yochanan ben Zakai were the problem.The Zionists goal is to make the Jews into Baryonim and Sicarii.
Like what Rabbi Shapiro said before about the Brittish and Americans understanding the revolutionary war differently. But I guess the difference is that we have our Chachamim guiding us as to how to interpret events.
I will cover that. But in short, they didnt have anything against the religion per se. They had something against saying that being a Jew has something to do with Judaism. They wanted being a Jew to have nothing to do with Judaism but rather loyalty to the Jewish State. They thought that "normalizing" the Jewish nation in that way would solve all of their problems - real and perceived. When you create a new identity for someone you have to get rid of the old identity. If you want someone to think he is the president of the United States you have to get it out of his mind that he is a janitor. The Zionists wanted Jews to be defined as nationals, religion was not part of the Jewish people's identity. That's why they needed the Shmad.
Still, I am thinking it was not as simple as this, that why would all these Jewish people have this desire to be shmad CV the Jewish religion.
The goal of ZIonism was not a movement to find a Jewish home for the Jewish people - that was a means to their goal. Their goal was to make the Jewish nation a secular, State-based people, as opposed to a religion-based people. Thats whay they needed the Shmad.
As Rav Chaim Brisker put it:
The Zionists are nat trying to Shmad people in order to make a State - they are making a State in order to Shmad people. The reaosn for the State was the same as the language Ivrit, the same as the fake history - to makes the Jews a nation in the same sense and in the same way that the Italians and Spanish are a nation. They wanted the Jews to be like the Goyim, which of course would solve all the Jews' problems. Having a state, like the Goyish nations do, and making that state your nationality, like the Goyish nations do (as opposed to religion being our nationality) is what they were trying to accomplish.
I have one more post about Zionism being anti-Jewish. About the part of Zionism that contradicts Judaism the most. I will get to it iy"h.
I understand more though why secular Zionism is so problematic and really anti Jewish religion. I guess religious zionism based off that is really an oxymoron in terms
Not yet. You will.
( I know we are not there yet, but I am not seeing the problem with religious zionism as a totally separate thing of just wanting a Jewish State to serve Hashem better)
Posted 22 April 2012 - 08:31 AM
"People think R. Chaim [Brisker] became alienated because the Zionists were not observant. Of course it did not help, but that was not the reason. Of course they couldn't attract R. Chaim...I remember my father used to say לאומיות [Nationalism] is apikorsus" - Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik, "Thinking Aloud," p. 175 (i.e., in the uncensored version. it is on p. 174 in the censored version, where they removed, due to public pressure, the negative things R. Soloveichik said about R. Kook).
Nationalism is a political philosophy, like for example communism or democracy, or theocracy. It is a philosophy that teaches how a person relates to his country.
There are many different variations of Nationalism, but to simplify things, before Nationalism, a nation existed as a benefit to its people. I am a loyal American. That loyalty is born of Hakaras HaTov as well as expedience. If America is strong, it is good for me as an American. America exists to benefit its people. Nationalism places the role one's country plays in a totally different light. Your nation actually gives you not only your nationality, but also your identity. See here (emphasis mine):
The adoption of national identity in terms of historical development, has commonly been the result of a response by an influential group or groups that is unsatisfied with traditional identities due to inconsistency between their defined social order and the experience of that social order by its members, resulting in a situation of anomie that nationalists seek to resolve. This anomie results in a society or societies reinterpreting identity, retaining elements that are deemed acceptable and removing elements deemed unacceptable, in order to create a unified community. This development may be the result of internal structural issues or the result of resentment by an existing group or groups towards other communities, especially foreign powers that are or are deemed to be controlling them.
In Nationalism, your identity is created by your Nation, and the definition of Nation is basically: common land, common language, common culture, common enemies to fight. Nationalism changes a person's identity from that of an individual into part of a whole. The appeal is similar to that of gang membership, but on a much deeper and broader scale. Before Nationalism, people would follow for their kings or rulers, and even give their life for them. In Nationalism, you would fight for the the collective "Nation" and give your life for it. This does not mean the people of the Nation - it means the Nation itself. Like some kind of corporation, a Nation is a concept that exists above and beyond its members. It is its own entity. The Nation must live. If the Nation dissolves, the people lose their identity. People exist as part of this synthetic entity called a "Nation," which gives them their identity.
Nationalism started with the French Revolution, and maybe, maybe with the American Revolution as well.
Zionism was created as a form of Nationalism, or לאומיות. Consistent with what we read above, that Nationalism "has commonly been the result of a response by an influential group or groups that is unsatisfied with traditional identities," Zionism was created mostly by people who were unsatisfied with the traditional definition (i.e. identity) of a Jew. And for several reasons.
First, they looked down on religious Jews. Like common anti-Semites, they were disgusted by what religious Jews were. This brings us back to what I cited earlier in this thread:
One need not search hard to find denigrating images of the Altjude [traditional Jew] in Zionist rhetoric and pamphletry. Herzl had already noted in 1894 that Jews had "taken on a number of antisocial characteristics" in the ghettos of Europe, and that the Jewish character was "damaged." Frishman opined that "Jewish life is a dog's life that evokes disgust." Joseph Haim Brenner likened Jews to "filthy dogs, inhuman, wounded dogs."Gordon wrote that European Jews were parasites. Berdyczewski christened traditional Jews "spiritual slaves, men whose natural forces had dried up and whose relation to the world was no longer normal," and elsewhere, "a non-people, a non-nation - non-men, indeed." (Efron p.88, Rabkin, p. 46).
They looked at Jews the same way many anti-Semites did: Abnormal dirty anti-social hooked-nosed slouched weakling parasites.
And don't forget: "non-people, a non-nation - non-men, indeed" - part of the "abnormality" of the Jews was that they had no common country, no common language, no common enemy to fight. In the mind of a Nationalist, where one's identity - and self-worth - depends on his belonging to a Nation, where "Nation" is defined as having your own country, culture, language, enemies etc., to such a person, the Jews were indeed a non-people, a non-nation, and therefore, non-men indeed.
It's like the way gang members look at some others who are not members of any gang. They are "nobodies." But Nationalists are much more absolute than the Bloods or the Crips in their determining self-worth as being part of a collective whole.
And the reason the Jews were so abnormal and disgusting? In the words of Hebrew University Professor (and Apikores, for the record) Yeshayahu Lebowitz, who knew Ben Gurion very well:
"Ben Gurion saw Judaism as the historical misfortune of the Jewish people and an obstacle to its transformation into a normal nation."
Please read that line again. Now you know why the Zionists hated - and hate - Judaism. (For example: “I would prefer that my children be Arabs rather than Orthodox Jews.” - Leah Rabin quoted in Panim Hadashot of Tel Aviv.)
Religion was "the historical misfortune" of the Jewish people.
This is what Ben Gurion planned on doing to Halachah once he got his "Medinah":
The Shulchan Aruch is a product of our nation's life in the Exile. It was produced in the Exile, in conditions of Exile. A nation in the process of fulfilling its every task, physically and spiritually . . . must compose a "New Shulchan" -- and our nation's intellectuals are required, in my opinion, to fulfill their responsibility in this. -- (Ben Gurion, Letter to Eliezer Steinman, June 12, '62)
And more: "Some Zionist thinkers openly asserted: "the Jew must negate his Judaism in order to be redeemed." (Rabkin, p. 150, quoting Efron p. 89)
(At best, you will find other Zionists, such as Hersh "Achad Ha-Am" Ginsberg who held that Judaism was "optional" to the Jewish identity.)
To be sure, they also held that centuries of wandering in Golus contributed to our being abnormal, anti-social and disgusting, but religion was a major cause as well, besides being a major cause of why we stayed in Giolus in the first place. Judaism, they held, was a liability to the Jews. perhaps, some said, while in Golus, the Jews needed Judaism in order to give them a will to survive, but it also prevents them from being normal. If we are going to be a normal, non-disgusting, non-anti-social people, the religion of Judaism would have to be destroyed.
That's what Zionism set out to do.
You may ask: If the Zionists didn't like what Jews were, why didn't they just become Goyim?
The answer is they tried, but it didn't work.
(to be continued)
Posted 22 April 2012 - 10:46 AM
Answer: They tried, they thought about it, they suggested it, but it didn't work.
Herzl discussed the idea of intermarriage being a solution to the "Jewish problem" in his pamphlet "Der Judenstaat" in 1896. He would have loved to see it happen, but he said it would not work. He had no problem with it in theory. In fact, in that same pamphlet, in the same part where he discusses intermarriage as a solution, he defends his idea of creating a Jewish State against the claim that doing such a thing would prevent assimilation!
It was not only assimilation that he considered as a possible solution to the problem of being Jewish. Conversion to Christianity was an option, too:
At one stage, again in 1893, he [Herzl] envisaged the general baptism of Jewish children, because the Jews must submerge themselves in the people. He wanted to appeal to the Pope: help us against antisemitism and I in turn will lead a great movement amongst the Jews for voluntary and honorable conversion to Christianity. He envisaged a solemn festive procession to St. Stephan's Cathedral at noon on a Sunday, accompanied by the ringing of bells. The adult leaders of the community would be at the head of the procession, and would proceed to the threshold of the church... (Laquer, p.88-89).
But much more important than Herzl's ideas, was the way the non-Jews treated the Jews, especially in Russia. They made sure that the Jews would not simply become Goyim. Whether Judaism is a "religion" or a "nationality" or both depends on how you define the terms, but the Russian government paskened on their own.
Jews were a nationality, they said, and they made sure that their Jewish nationality was indicated on their identity cards, like the Armenians, or other nationalities. Their being branded like that was a problem for them in terms of getting good jobs and generally being accepted into society. Even before that, Jews were relegated into living in the Pale of Settlement. No matter how much these secular Jews wished they were Goyim, and no matter how hard they tried to be Goyim, the Goyim kept reminding them that they were Jewish.
So the secular Jews were stuck between a rock and a hard place. They kept running toward being Goyim, but the Goyim kept pushing them back to being Jews. But they hated what (traditional) Jews were. And if you are a Nationalist, if you believe that being part of a whole makes you who you are, then the secular Jews were forced to remain non-people, because they had nothing to belong to. It was very frustrating for them, this identity crisis, and feeling of un-belonging. In the words of a young Jew begging to Zionist leader and thug, Vladimir Jabotinsky:
"Our life is dull and our hearts are empty, for there is no god in our midst; give us a god, sir, worthy of dedication and sacrifice, and you will see what we can do" (Schechtman, p. 411).
What, indeed, would they do? What god would these Jews, who had no god in their midst, create, that was "worthy of dedication and sacrifice"
Their solution was fix the Jewish people so that they would be "normal." If Jews could not join the Goyishe Nations, then the Jewish people will themselves become a Goyishe Nation!
And so Zionism was born.
So they set out to change what it means to be Jewish. The Jews will be like all other "normal" nations. Instead of being identified with religion, the Jewish Nation would be identified with a Nation-State - like all other "normal" nations.
Religion would be obsolete. No longer would the Jews be disgusting, despised, non-people, and inhuman dogs. They would be a proud and free people, like everyone else in the world.
The idea of Zionism was to redefine "The Jewish Nation." Nationalism would define the Nation of Yisrael; not Judaism. Religion was at best unnecessary and most probably a liability that caused problems for the Jewish people.
(to be continued)
Posted 22 April 2012 - 11:37 AM
Nationalism, by definition, ties the identity of the Nation to the Nation-State. Where the Jewish nation used to be an effect of the Jewish religion (without Judaism there are no Jews), Zionism-Nationalism defines the Jewish nation as an effect of the Jewish State (without the Jewish State, there is no Jewish Nation).
Obviously, we now understand the quote I cited above:
"Nationalism - לאומיות - is Apikorsus."
Posted 22 April 2012 - 11:40 AM
We've seen that the purpose of Zionism was to replace the Jewish religion with a Nationalist Political Philosophy. The Zionists held that by getting rid of Judaism and replacing it with Nationalism, the Jewish people would then become a real Nation, like the Goyishe Nations, and "normalize" themselves both in terms of who they were and how they were looked at by the rest of the world.
The religious Zionists accepted all of the above except the "replace Judaism" part. Instead of replacing Judaism, they simply accepted Nationalist Philosophy and kept on putting on Tefillin and eating Kosher and doing Mitzvos anyway.
The problem is, that Nationalism - Zionism is by definition a redefining of the Jewish Nation. It is the Nationalist's "god that is worthy of dedication and sacrifice."
And so, we now understand what Rav Elchonon Wasserman meant when he said:
"Nationalism is Avodah Zorah; Religious Nationalism is Avodah Zorah mixed with religion."
I started this thread by asking Religious Zionists why there such a centrality is given to Medinas Yisroel in their religion. There is nothing in Judaism that can explain it. Even their attitude toward "Eretz Yisroel" does not explain the way they have given it - never mind the Medinah itself - a centrality in their religion way beyond what the Judaism gives it. ("Ahavas Hashem, Ahavas Yisroel and Ahavas Eretz Yisroel" - how often have you heard that phrase?)
The answer is, that Religious Zionists have grafted onto their Judaism a foreign philosophy called Nationalism, where a Nation-State is central to a person's identity, and even effects the Nations' existence. Believing this, to whatever extent they do, is the reason for the centrality of the Medinah - and even the centrality of Eretz Yisroel - in the life of the "Religious Zionist."
That is why they have a Yom HaAtzmaut; that is why loyalty to the Medinah all but defines how good a Jew you are - because they accepted the idolatrous idea that a Jewish Nation-State is central to Jewish identity and the existence of the Jewish Nation.
For example: Rabbi Herschel Schachter explains why he believes Jews are allowed to risk their lives - sometimes sacrificing their lives - to fight wars in Israel. Why do we disregard the issue of Sakanas Nefashos?
"In answer to this it would appear that at the heart of our preparedness to fight for Eretz Yisroel is the fact that Israel's role today is as the national homeland of the Jewish people. Since a nation's land is vital to its existence as a nation-state, to the point where in limited contexts only those residing in EY are considered full members of Klall Yisroel, conquest by a foreign power is considered a lethal blow to the essence of the conquered nation. Therefore, just as a doctor would amputate a patient's limb in order to save a life, when the "life" of an entire nation is endangered, it is permissible to sacrifice the lives of the few for the purpose of saving the nation at large." (Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society XVI, p.79).
In other words, it is not because going to war is going to save human lives. It is because going to war and sacrificing human ives is going to save the Medinah, and without the Medinah, the Jewish nation is, in essence, dead ("lethal blow to the essence of the nation"; "vital to its existence as a Nation-State"). Sacrificing lives for the Nation-State is analogous to cutting off one's arm to save the body.
This is not Judaism. It is Nationalism. It is the philosophy that says you die for your State. No Jewish source comes close to saying any such things. Pikuach Nefesh is only when a human life is at stake; there is no such thing that when a "Nation-State" is at stake, even if there would be such a thing in Judaism, we can sacrifice lives. Rabbi Schachter does not even attempt to provide a source for his "svara."
The source is the foreign philosophy of Nationalism.
Here we have someone saying that for this idol of Nationalism, for this idea that the land is in essence "the nation at large," we may sacrifice children in war. And that by sacrificing these children (and adults), you are saving your national sovereignty over Israel, which is well worth it, in the same way amputating an arm is worth it because by doing so you save the patient's life.
Then there is this fable, which was, astoundingly, told in all seriousness by the former Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu. In short, some Israeli soldiers were in danger and Rachel Imainu came down, appeared to them, and saved them. Now you might think that the Chief Rabbi would say this was due soldiers happened to be big Tzadikim, or great Gaonim. One might think that after the occurrence of such an apparition, the likes of which only our greatest of the greatest Tzadikim in history ever experienced, we would be running to these young men asking them for their Brachos and hailing them as members of the Lamed Vavniks.
But no. The explanation as to why these young men merited this supernatural vision, which only a handful of the greatest Tzadikim in the past centuries could even dream of meriting, was simply: "The sublime level of the soldiers fighting on behalf of Israel." and: "The great level of the soldiers."
Of course, many Jews risk their lives to protect other Jews - Jewish firemen, Jewish soldiers in the US military, and others as well. Nobody would believe that such people would merit such an apparition. Again - only the greatest Tzadikim could dream of such a thing. But if you are "fighting on behalf of Israel" it is perfectly understandable. (Do we even know that these soldiers were religious at all? We they even Jewish? The rabbi is saying that by virtue of the fact that someone is a soldier for Israel, that itself puts him on such a great level that he can attain such apparitions.)
This, again, grants value to the State of Israel, to Zionism, that belongs exclusively to Judaism and the Torah. One who is a Tzadik, we can expect to be given Heavenly assistance, according to his level. But to say that the most miraculous apparitions can be yours if you are simply - and this is what the Chief Rabbi is saying - a soldier in the Israeli army, not due to righteousness, is Zionism replacing Judaism.
Zionism was designed to replace Judaism. For many secular Zionists, it has done just that. For religious Zionists, it has done it partially. Says Rabbi J.B. Soloveichik:
"Take me. Emotionally I feel Zionism - religious Zionism - has replaced Torah. Logically, philosophically, I cannot interpret it properly..." - (Thinking Aloud, p. 172. In footnote 20, the publisher, Rabbi Dovid Holzer, notes that this was stated "in a negative tone, i.e. it unfortunately appears to him that religious Zionism has made Zionism into the focus of religion, as opposed to Torah being the focus of religion. The Rav felt very strongly that, although living in Israel is very important, it is still just one Mitzvah among many." )
In other words, the centrality given to Israel by religious Zionists is because Zionism has replaced Torah. And that is precisely what Zionism was designed to do. Zionism was designed as a Shmad. Religious Zionists are victims of that Shmad.
Rav Hutner writes (Pachad Yitzchok, Diary, p. 52) that when the Torah warns the Jews on their way into Eretz Yisroel to be careful, lest they "bow down to idols" (והשתחותם להם), as opposed to the myriad other ways a person can worship idols (besides bowing to them), because השתחוה means bowing with your face to the ground. The Torah is talking about someone who comes into Eretz Yisroel and bows to the ground of Eretz Yisroel itself, making Eretz Yisroel itself into his Avodah Zorah. The punishment for this is, as the Posuk says, "and you will be quickly kicked out of the good land that Hashem has given you."
.That is what religious Zionism has done.
And there is one person who is more responsible than any other for grafting Nationalism onto Judaism and incorporating its non-Jewish ideas into the religion of Religious Zionists.
That man is Rabbi Avrohom Yitzchok Kook.