How Ami Magazine Convinced Me to Celebrate Yom Ha-Atzmaut


The editorial in Ami did not promote such celebration, of course. It provided an original and thought-provoking reason to celebrate its non-celebration, so to speak. Survivors of the Holocaust would naturally take great comfort in seeing the creation of the State as a Divine Hand reaching down to comfort the bedraggled remnant of the Jewish people. It took principled courage, claims the author, to resist what he calls “the comforting interpretation of Jewish history.” Survivors refused the convenience of such an interpretation of the events around them out of fealty to their religious convictions, which had no room for a secular state replacing the yearnings of the Jewish soul. (You can and should read the original, which is posted here.)

The implication is that those who continue to ignore Israel’s Independence Day act in the same spirit today. “It [Yom Ha-Atzmaut] was celebrated last week throughout the world by countless Jewish people, though not by many in the Orthodox Jewish community. Yom Ha-Atzmaut is generally either ignored or treated with disdain by most Orthodox Jews.”

The piece has generated vigorous discussion. Is it true that most Orthodox Jews ignore Yom Ha-Atzmaut? Do not a majority of Jews who accept the Thirteen Principles of Faith, i.e. the Rambam’s definition of who is an “insider,” in fact celebrate the day? (We should probably accept the author’s protestation that by “Orthodox” he meant “charedi,” and was guilty of poor word choice, but not malice.) Is it true that “subsequent…military action stirred additional rabbinic opposition to Zionism, and was seen as proof that the Zionist idea was, from a perspective of Jewish tradition, illicit from the start?” Wasn’t this just the reaction of Satmar and Brisk, and in fact rejected in all other Torah circles? Can the position of Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik be reduced to nothing more than seeing the State as “a buffer against assimilation,” while dismissing “the idea that its creation was in any way associated with the concept of redemption?” Does Rav Kook merit any attention at all? Did the author ever see the newsreels of Novemeber, 1947 (the reaction to the UN partition vote), with circles of charedim and secular Jews dancing together in unbridled joy? They don’t really support the conclusion of a wholesale charedi rejection of the State. Nor does the signature of R Itche Meir Levin on Israel’s Declaration of Independence, nor all of those who did mark the first few anniversaries of the Declaration with joy and thanks to Hashem.

I will leave to others to develop those objections, and turn to one that I believe may be the most serious flaw in the editorial. Even if the facts would have been as the author has them (and I do not believe that this is the case), they would have little relevance to us today.

Yom Ha-Atzmaut is not a celebration of secular Zionism, or any kind of Zionism. It is the celebration of the coming into existence of an independent Jewish community – no, nation – in the land that is ours. Israel is the largest Jewish community in the world. Its continued existence, its thriving against all odds, is a gift from Heaven. It can, should, must be appreciated as an enormous chesed from HKBH, Who allows us to live in our holy Land and work again to slowly build up a Jewish nation. How can we fail to acknowledge the incredible saga, past and present of rov minyan and rov binyan of the Jewish people? What do we do to ourselves when we stand to the side as literally millions of Jews celebrate in their own way (even if not the way we would have designed such celebration), and we do not feel their simple joy of being Jewish? What damage do we foist on future generations of our people, as we propagate division and dissension by not smiling at them and saying “Chag Sameach,” even if it is not mentioned in Parshas Emor?

The author cited Rav Soloveitchik, and I will do so as well. Among other things, I admired (albeit from a distance, since I never attended YU) two elements in his life and thought that are actually intertwined. The first is that he was capable of changing his mind. He was an Agudah firebrand at one point, but he jumped ship. That doesn’t happen to gedolim in our revisionist biographies; it does happen to real people.

The second is his finding that halacha has its protocols of psak, which determine how to decide between competing positions. History, he said, is what sometimes determines the outcome of hashkafic debates. In the debate over the significance of the Jewish State, history was machria that it is significant.

This is not dependent on the ideology that is called Zionism. Many years ago, I heard a young rosh yeshiva argue that all of us were like the Japanese soldiers who remained holed up on Pacific islands many years after the end of World War Two, still keeping guard at their posts. They were living a war that had already ended. There was a war for the heart and soul of the Jewish people between secular Zionists and those faithful to Torah. Secular Zionism lost that battle! We in the Torah community should have declared victory and moved on! We now have a country of our own, and we should take our places in its development, without fear of supporting an ideology that died a long time ago. Yom Ha-Atzmaut is not about ideology today – it is about the privilege of having a place where we need bow to nothing but Hashem. Recall the words of the Rambam (Chanuka 3:1) writing about why Chanuka was important: “Jewish governance returned to for more than two hundred years, till the churban.” Those two centuries were presided over by rulers a good deal more evil than the people sitting in Knesset.

When I left kollel, I was an anti-zionist kana’i. I’m not sure if there is much of the old-style Zionism left to oppose. Today, there is only the reality of a world in which, as the Satmar Rov once said, “When they say Zionist, they mean us.” Like it or not, that exasperating, poorly governed, socially divided patch of land is seen by the rest of the world as identical with world Jewry. I support the State not because of speculative ideology, but because of the certainty that I want to defend Yidden. For many years, I felt jealous of those who could celebrate on Yom Ha-Atzmaut, who could share the thanks, the concerns for the future, and the joy. My previous training left no room for it. Gradually, I made some room. (I don’t say Hallel, because I am not bowled over by the arguments to do so. I do say tachanun, and don’t see any contradiction. I attended the local Consular affair, but left deliberately before the musical entertainment, because of Sefirah.) But I always looked over my shoulder, feeling a bit uncomfortable. As a yeshiva-trained Jew, did I belong there?

Ami’s piece was so wrong, that I now have reason to shake off the discomfort. That is important, because when you cannot bring yourself to sincerely join in the aspirations, dreams and joy of other Jews, it becomes so much easier to write them off as “the other.” It bcomes that much easier to see yourselves as the only legitimate emissaries of G-d. From there, you and your friends can spiral out of control, taking over neighborhoods and schools contemptuously, or wearing Auschwitz uniforms in Kikar Shabbos.

Faced with the choice of celebrating with people whose religious outlook I do not share, or accepting an outlook that is too narrow and off-putting to be true, I will go with the former.

Thank you, Ami, for making life a bit less worrisome.

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80 Responses

  1. Natan Slifkin says:

    I think Bob Miller was joking. Although one never knows.

  2. Steve Brizel says:

    Lawrence M Reisman-the only substantive critique of the Kol Koreh as recounted by R Kasher ZL was the use of Aschalta D’Geulah, which despite appearing countless places in Chazal, Midrashim and the writings of Rishonim and Acharonim, has been viewed solely as a slogan for RZ, as opposed to the supposedly more neutral term “Kibutz Galiyos”, which R Kasher pointed out was viewed as a prerequiste for Aschalta D Geulah by the Gra and his talmidim, the Baal Shem Tov and the Baal HaTanya. Viewing the amazing developments of the creation of a sovereign Jewish state, albeit a secular state,in the immediate aftermath of the catastrophic events of the Holocaust and the phoenix like rebuilding of Torah life in Israel, as well in the USA, as not representing miraculous events is akin to a yeshiva bachur going on a shidduch date, and blaming the Shadchan for concluding that the Shidduch was , for whatever reason, “not shayach” for him.

  3. Bob Miller says:

    With a proper knowledge of codes, one can find ancient references to this blog and its authors.

    [YA I’m sure that this is true, and they can all be found through the Codes in Moby Dick, the New Testament, and the Manhattan White Pages.]

  4. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    Sorry, Mr. Brizel. There have been many criticism’s of Rav Kasher’s recounting of the Kol Koreh. In any case, sometimes “revisionism” is simply correcting prior misconceptions.

  5. Steve Brizel says:

    Lawrence M Reisman quotedthe following and other portions of a letter from R E Bloch ZL:

    “However, in my view since the creation of the State of Israel is indeed an important milestone in the life of our nation, our relationship to it, therefore, is positive, and our participation is obligatory.”

    The sole critique of R Kasher ZL’s rendition of the events portrayed therein with respect to the Kol Korea was a sefer by a Toen , R M Weinman, which engaged in revisionism of the events leading thereto.

  6. cvmay says:

    Jodi, I am with the Rabbi on that one.
    Torah Codes is not a thing of vital interest, concern or heart-throbbing as other day-to-day issues are. (difference of opinion is great and there are audiences on both sides of the fence).

  7. Jodi says:

    “…It didn’t seem pressing enough to actually go out and buy it…]”

    It’s a point by point refutation of your article, and has a letter of endorsement from Rabbi Moshe Heinemann of Baltimore. If that’s not “pressing enough”, I don’t know what is.

    [YA They’ve been trying to refute the truth for ten years. Why would anything change now? I’ll look at it when someone sends it to me, but my guess is that it is more same-old same-old distortion.]

  8. Jodi says:

    Many of us are hoping you’ll respond to Harold Gans’ article in the May 9th issue of Inyan (Hamodia) concerning your recent dismissal of the Torah Codes?

    [YA – I heard about such an article, but I haven’t seen it to know whether I (really we – there were three authors of the Cross-Currents piece that responded to the first inaccurate description of the Codes – need to or want to respond. It didn’t seem pressing enough to actually go out and buy it…]

  9. SL Zacharowicz says:

    I am reminded of the quip the Ponevezher Rav supposedly said when asked, several decades ago, what he does on Yom HaAtzmaut.
    “I do exactly what [then-prime minister] David Ben Gurion does,” he replied, with a wink. “He doesn’t say Hallel and he doesn’t say Tachanun.”

    Interestingly, the Ponevezher Rav also would have the Israeli flag flown about the yeshiva that day.

  10. cvmay says:

    Lacosta: The most comments are usually attached to Rabbi Adlerstein’s posts since there is a call for discussion, not “no comments allowed” or “closed to comments”. Also the subjects are objective, unbiased and RA allows respectful dialogue.

    BTW Zionism = Israel = Judaism = klal yisroel. Since its a debate ignored in schools, yeshivos and shuls where else but CROSS CURRENTS can intelligent people add their POV, tidbits, past experiences and challenges.

  11. lacosta says:

    the fact that this is amongst the more commented articles on this site reflects to me the rift in Orthodoxy that Zionism still causes…..

  12. Yisrael Asper says:

    A lot of people are still Jewish because of Israel. The real problem will be that once Israel becomes mostly frum in population Hashem will no longer judge us as overall going up spiritually with all the Baalei Teshuva that will choose frumkeit because of increasing exposure to frunkeit, in addition to all those born and perpetuating it. The judgement will then be other measures of frumkeit. Let us hope we pass the judgement better than 2000 years ago.

  13. cvmay says:

    “What took me by surprise was your taking issue with AMI [another area on which we disagree.]”

    Lacosta, Joe and David: The problems & disgrace of the editors of AMI are many, will focus on one that we can all agree upon. They do not investigate, research or stand behind what they write and publish. Their article on Bet Shemesh for one was completely full of inaccuracies. They apologized twice already on “Hitting the pen/typeboard without asking questions”.

    Raymond: It would be hard to determine if Yom Haatzmaut has any religious significance since the Torah World has never delved intensely into “Messianic Redemption” as a day-to-day affair(& for many reasons*). It is not halacha l’maasah as is; kashrus, tznius, business dealings, ahavas yisroel, shabbos, muktza, etc. The over-all feeling is through YAD HASHEM it will unfold, happen and arrive. Dverai Chazal that describe the details of ‘rays of redemption’ have begun to shine through, is that acceptable enough or do we need a Navi to proclaim it from the hilltops?

    G’dolim of the last century have murmured & stated: “End of Galus”, “Beginning of Redemption”, “Sparks of Redemption”, “Wink of an eye”, “Flowering of R”, “the end but not yet the beginning”……wouldn’t you agree that there is indecision regarding what we are experiencing and actualizing today?

    *(Since Chabad has monopolized the term ‘Geulah’ & ‘Moshiach’ the rest of the Torah World does NOT touch it with a 10foot pole)

  14. dr. bill says:

    Joe, i think there is a fair claim that the views of YU expressed are to the right in that institution. When i see an article about RAL, gush etzion, or R. Rosenzweig, etc. told accurately, or even the RY who are in the center, i will change my mind. (BTW, I think R. Rosenzweig is closest to the Rav hashkafically.) And this from someone pictured in the article about RHS; i am the one standing next to the rav ztl in a striped/colored shirt, something easy to spot. i expected them to crop me out; but then again you would be surprised who else is in the picture.

  15. Herschel says:

    Ami’s editor wrote a very moving article this week in defense of the Shomrim boys in Baltimore who happen to belong to Modern Orthodox synagogue. I’ve never seen such genuine ahavas Yisrael. He calls them family. Those who attack him obviously don’t read Ami.

  16. Nachum says:

    “continues to currently be run largely by secular socialists”

    Socialism is a joke in Israel. (Typical attitude: I once attended a workshop explaining Israeli paychecks. We got to one line about mandatory vacation days, and the presenter said “Oh, here’s a little legacy from our Bolshevik past.” The room had a good chuckle.) The Prime Minister is anything but socialist, and Israel hasn’t been for years.

    Over half the Knesset is Shomer Shabbat. (They may not wear kippot, but they are. Avigdor Lieberman is a good example of this.) Many more (including, for example, the Prime Minister) are strongly traditional. If anything, religious people are over-represented in government. A while back, there was a picture of Netanyahu at a meeting in Washington with his closest advisers. At least half of the ten people at the table had kippot. The National Security Adviser (a retired general) has a long beard.

    Is it reflected in practice? Increasingly. But you certainly can’t say that the state is run by secular socialists.

  17. Joe says:

    Lacosta, I think you are delusional about Ami and Mishpacha. Mishpacha only featured Chabad and YU when Rabbi Yitzchak Frankfurter wrote about them. Ami has continuously written about Chabad and YU and other religious Jews. .

  18. Meyer says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein,

    I guess one can look at things from various vantage points, but the Jewish State is, willy-nilly, the Jewish national visage, not merely the government of its montage of citizens, which would be true even if it were non-Jewish.

    Many state-sponsored events are a slap in Hashem’s face (did you catch a glimpse of this year’s Israel Prize award ceremony? You would have to avert your eyes quite a bit. Poor Rav Druckman…), and, again, passionately loyal Jews are undeniably on the fringes of that national visage. It is certainly well within the parameters of a Torah hashkafah that holds “You shall love Hashem your G-d” dear, to insist that the yardstick for celebration ought to be the extent to which “This nation that I created for Me so that they will recount My praise” is fulfilled by a particular historic event. As a small but salient, painful example, the State’s as yet unaltered national anthem, fails miserably in that regard.

    The Chafetz Chaim’s son envisioned a possibility of Yachin Rasha Vetzadik Yilbash regarding the Zionist enterprise. I prefer to wait until the day when the Tzadik Yilbash becomes a reality, and rejoice on that day, not on the 5th of Iyyar. Rav Wolbe was also a serious thinker not given to bombastic proclamations. He was also “faced with the choice of celebrating with people whose religious outlook I do not share” and expressed major reticence toward Yom HaAtzmaut due to concern for Chanifah to said (ir)religious outlook in doing so.

  19. Ben Waxman says:

    There are many salivating over the opportunity to force haredim into situations like the regular IDF, which is not a fit place for a serious eved Hashem.

    The fact that so many true ovdei Hashem have served and serve shows that the above statement is simply ridiculous (at best). I wonder if the author of this statement served or is simply relying on articles that he read or third hand stories that he heard.

  20. L. Oberstein says:

    Pardon what at first glance may be redundant. The reality that one sees all the time is that the chareidi world is supportive of the Medina de facto if not de jure. Every frum person I know who is involved in Federation, AIPAC, etc. lobbies and supports aid to Israel. I saw many times how Rabbi Herman Neuberger used his contacts to help Israel. Only a few people like Satmar are , de facto, against the State . If and this is a big “if” the new coalition actually finds a way to greatly increase Chareidi participation in the army, national service and the work force, you will see a major change on the ground. The chareidim will become part of the Medina and not feel like a hated sub-group.There are valid reasons for chaeidim to have issues with secular zionism, but if one lives in a country one ,certainly over time, becomes part of the fabric of its society. The chareidm are moving in that direction, but there may be detours and bumps on the road. I agree with Rabbi Berel Wein that we have to get over it already and live in the present and not fight battles of another time and place.
    Anyone who thinks that Israel is not a Jewish state is blind to the bonds that tie all Israeli Jews to each other, the chesed, the concern and the sense of family that I feel with every Jew is palpable in Israel and in the Diaspora. Lastly, it is ignorant to blame every ill of the Enlightenment and the Modern Industrial Age on the “Zionists”. Shtetle life was disintigrating without the zionists, they were just one of many groups that tried with some small success to keep Jews part of the people even if they no longer wanted to keep the strictures of the religion. They didn’t invent secularim and the Jews of the United States who aren’t frum didn’t become that way because of secular zionsim. It is like a dysfunctional person blaming all of his problems on his mother. Don’t overdo the blame. There is plenty of blame to spread around. Learn the real history of those times, not the falsified and sanitized stuff that is printed nowadays . We will either all hang together or we will certainly hang together, to quote Thomas Paine.

  21. Menachem Lipkin says:

    “There are many salivating over the opportunity to force haredim into situations like the regular IDF, which is not a fit place for a serious eved Hashem.”

    This is exactly the type of inaccurate invective that R. Frankfurter’s original editorial was riddled with. Clearly YM either doesn’t live in Israel or, if he does, doesn’t get out much. There are countless b’nei Torah, Chareidi and not, who are “ovdei Hashem” on a level that those of us who haven’t served can’t even approach. But that’s not the half of it. One of the “situations” every serious plan to replace the Tal Law has also included is an option for National Service. Often such ideas include doing volunteer work for Zaaka, Yad Sarah, etc. So really YM? Zaaka too is no place for a serious “Eved Hashem”?

    Unfortunately, it’s the spread of misinformation like this that is mainly hurting the many Chareidim who desire to become functioning members of Israeli society.

  22. Raymond says:

    Since a few people have responded to my original comments above, I feel it is okay for me to make a second comment here, in response to their comments.

    And so, to answer their challenge, no, I do not believe that Modern State of Israel is part of the messianic redemption, simply because it was founded and continues to currently be run largely by secular socialists, a philosophy radically different from Torah Judaism. And so no, even if I were religious myself, I would not say Hallel on Israel Independence Day, as it is not a religious holiday. It is more like what July 4th is here in America. Plus, to me at least, Israel is not 64 years old, but many thousands of years old.

    But all that does not mean I am anti-Zionist. Just the opposite is the case, for reasons I cited above. Having our own Jewish State, gives us the military means to defend ourselves against our sworn murderous enemies. That would be more than reason enough to support the Modern State of Israel, as I want as many of my fellow Jews as possible to not die violent deaths. Once we have that military protection, we can then live freely as Jews in our own land. And, in fact, something like 80% of Jews living in Israel describe themselves as being at least traditionally Jewish, with a significant percentage of that Orthodox or even Chareidi. So even though Israel is not, at least in my view, part of the Messianic redemption, I cannot imagine any Jew who cares about his or her people, not supporting it nevertheless, precisely for the reasons I have stated both here and previously.

  23. lacosta says:

    —And a centrist publication like Ami

    that is an assertion that is somewhat incredulous… i would have given Mishpacha that title, as it has featured individuals with credentials like chabad, YU, zionist-wing Young Israel , without slurring or disparaging them or their followers..

    the only way i could see one calling Ami centrist , is by keeping in mind that with Mishpacha to its left [isn’t this ridiculous? it’s a purebread haredi mag–we are judging by how vigourously the content slams,ignores, or writes off other jews], and with Yated a bit to its right, one must concede that it doesn’t house the extreme position…..

  24. YM says:

    It is interesting that this is here at the same time the issues concerning the Tal law are being discussed in the media. There are many salivating over the opportunity to force haredim into situations like the regular IDF, which is not a fit place for a serious eved Hashem. Time will tell whether the Israel majority can accept Haredi service on Haredi terms or is really trying to destroy the Haredim.

    I would call myself a supporter of Israel, but not a Zionist, although if a non-Jew asked me, I would say I was a Zionist.

  25. dr. bill says:

    Rabbi, Congratulations on your move to the right side or should i say left. Rest assured that we MO will not invalidate your conversion, despite your lack of complete adherence to every detail of our view of expected observance. we may even tolerate occasional back-sliding.

    On a more serious note, i remember hearing from the RAS ztl, who as has been noted differed with his brother even on saying hallel, that saying tachanum is beyond the pale. he spoke of a reason for not saying tachanun on tu be’av since harugai beitar were brought to their final home/buriul, according to some opinions. i do not remember precisely, but I seem to recall him giving a kal vachomer beno shel kal ve’chomer that we cannot recite tachunun on a day representing the still living being brought home. Someone, not he, said at the time, (40+ years ago) and i forget who, that opposition to such logic reflects a position on “zionism” that is mekalkelet es hashurah.

    The celebration of yom hatzmiut by R. Bloch ztl is addressed in RD JJ Shachter’s essay over a decade ago on historical accuracy in the TUMJ. I believe it includes a piece of physical evidence.

  26. Tzvi Samson says:

    Please brush up on your history ! Certainly, if you can make a shechyanu on a new suit – you can make one on the state of israel. But to imply that ,Zionism wasn’t a false idol replacing Judaism for many decades,is naiive on your part. If you believe that times have changed then you can slowly begin presenting your idea in a balanced respectful way. Your article especially the title, makes you seem as much a fundamentalist as those whose viewpoints, you attack.
    Tzvi Samson
    Manhattan N.Y.

  27. David F. says:

    Rabbi Adlerstein,

    I’m surprised at this article. Not because of your stance – I understand where you’re coming from and why you feel as you do even if I am perhaps not in complete agreement. What took me by surprise was your taking issue with AMI [another area on which we disagree.] You have loudly praised AMI’s willingness to represent a broad spectrum of views and hold a discussion that spans various communities. Certainly in the larger Orthodox world, the position you espoused is the majority. Well, in this editorial, AMI took the position of them minority and attempted to defend/explain it. Isn’t that the type of open-minded thinking that you so frequently laud or is only good when it goes against all conventional “yeshivishe” thinking?

    Note: I’m not debating your position on YH. I would have no problem if you wrote a long article explaining why you think it’s important to celebrate YH. But why insinuate that AMI was wrong to take a contrary position when you and I both know full well that their view is held by a large segment of the Orthodox community. AMI specializes in being hard to peg and inconsistent and you found great merit in that. If consistency is what you seek – read Yated.

  28. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    To Steve Brizel:

    With regard to Rav Kasher’s sefer, there are many who aver that it grossly distorts and misrepresents facts, and that one should read it with more than just a grain of salt. I read the HaKirah piece, and recommend it to others. The article seems to translate Reb Elya Meir’s letter in its entirety, and one can see a viewpoint that is decidely less enthusiastic about the state than we have been lead to believe. Allow me to quote part of the letter “The collective meeting for Yom ha-Azma’ut was not particularly festive; it was simply a symposium conducted by all the Orthodox factions and gave everyone the opportunity to express their views. Of course, if we would not have attended, the Agudath Israel
    meeting would have turned into a platform focused on criticizing and its leaders who are the “Gedolei ha-Torah.” Our participation on the other hand caused the speakers to speak politely and allowed Agudath Israel to express its views in front of more than one thousand people. Hence even if we would not have related to the State of Israel in a positive fashion, our participation would still have been of value. However, in my view since the creation of the State of Israel is indeed an important milestone in the life of our nation, our relationship to it, therefore, is positive, and our participation is obligatory.”

    Far more conciliatory to the medinah than the kannoyim would like, but far less enthusiastic than the Mizrachi would like to portray it.

  29. cvmay says:

    “in the sense that the modern State of Israel does not represent some Messianic redemption”

    The Torah World has never delved intensely into “Messianic Redemption” as a day-to-day affair (besides the Rambam) (& for many reasons*). It is not halacha l’maasah as is; kashrus, tznius, business dealings, ahavas yisroel, shabbos, muktza, etc. The over-all feeling is through YAD HASHEM it will unfold, happen and arrive. THEREFORE…what do we know exactly about the ‘birthpangs’, ‘labor’, ‘C-section’ or almost arrival of redemption. Words of Chazal that describe the details of ‘rays of redemption’ have begun to shine through, is that acceptable enough or do we need a Navi to proclaim it from the hilltops (outposts) of Judaea?

    Through the mouths of G’dolim of the last century we have heard: “End of Galus”, “Beginning of Redemption”, “Sparks of Redemption”, “Wink of an eye”, “Flowering of R”, “the end but not yet the beginning”……wouldn’t you agree that there is indecision regarding what we are experiencing and actualizing today?

    *(Since Chabad has monopolized the term ‘Geulah’ & ‘Moshiach’ the rest of the Torah World does NOT touch it with a 10foot pole)

  30. Mike S. says:

    Chazal make quite clear, both in their comments to the last passuk of the Megilla and in the dialogues between Esther and the Chachamim cited in the Gemara Megilla, that there was considerable opposition to Purim among the Chachomim of the time. Although they are worthy of respect, their opposition to Purim is not, and shouldn’t be, normative. The Satmar Rov, zt”l’s opinions on Israel have been thoroughly refuted (or “prefuted” in some cases)by such Gedolei Torah as R. Kook, R. Meshullam Roth, R. Yosef Dov Soloveichik, R. Zevin and Rav Kasher. In particular, I don’t see how anyone who reads both Vayoel Moshe and Hatekufah Hagedolah cannot be completely convinced by the latter.

    The gemara in Sanhedrin relates that God, as it were, thought “to make Chiskiyahu Moshiach and Sancherib Gog U’magog” but didn’t because he did not say shirah. We should respect those who were unable to overcome their rejection of Secular Zionism to recognize the importance of the return of Jewish Sovereignty to the Land of Israel. But we shouldn’t let it become normative.