“Spiritually and Physically Responsible ”
From its’ inception, many rabbis warned of the potential dangers of Zionism and openly declared that all Jews loyal to G-d should stay away from it like one would from fire. They made their opinions clear to their congregants and to the general public. Their message was that Zionism is a chauvinistic racist phenomenon which has absolutely naught to do with Judaism. They publicly expressed that Zionism would definitely be detrimental to the well being of Jews and Gentiles and that its effects on the Jewish religion would be nothing other than destructive. Further, it would taint the reputation of Jewry as a whole and would cause utter confusion in the Jewish and non-Jewish communities. Judaism is a religion. Judaism is not a race or a nationality. That was and still remains the consensus amongst the rabbis.
We were given the Holy Land by G-d in order to be able to study and practice the Torah without disturbance and to attain levels of holiness difficult to attain outside of the Holy Land. We abused the privilege and we were expelled. That is exactly what all Jews say in their prayers on every Jewish festival, “Umipnay chatoenu golinu mayartsaynu” – “Because of our sins we were expelled from our land”.
We have been forsworn by G-d “not to enter the Holy Land as a body before the predestined time”, “not to rebel against the nations”, to be loyal citizens, not to do anything against the will of any nation or its honour, not to seek vengeance, discord, restitution or compensation; “not to leave exile ahead of time.” On the contrary; we have to be humble and accept the yoke of exile. To violate the oaths would result in “your flesh will be made prey as the deer and the antelope in the forest,” and the redemption will be delayed.
(Talmud Tractate Ksubos p. 111a).
To violate the oaths is not only a sin, it is a heresy because it is against the fundamentals of our Belief. Only through complete repentance will the Almighty alone, without any human effort or intervention, redeem us from exile. This will be after G-d will send the prophet Elijah and Moshiach who will induce all Jews to complete repentance. At that time there will be universal peace.
THE UNHEEDED CRY
All of the leading Jewish religious authorities of that era predicted great hardship to befall humanity generally and the Jewish People particularly, as a result of Zionism. To be a Jew means that either one is born to a Jewish mother or converts to the religion with the condition that he or she make no reservations with regard to Jewish Law. Unfortunately there are many Jews who have no inkling whatsoever as to the duties of a Jew. Many of them are not to blame, for in many cases they lacked a Jewish education and upbringing. But there are those who deliberately distort the teachings of our tradition to suit their personal needs. It is self understood that not just anyone has the right or the ability to make a decision regarding the philosophy or law of a religion. Especially matters in which that person has no qualification. It follows then that those individuals who “decided” that Judaism is a nationality are to be ignored and even criticized. It is no secret that the founders of Zionism had never studied Jewish Law nor did they express interest in our holy tradition. They openly defied Rabbinical authority and self-appointed themselves as leaders of the Jewish “nation”. In Jewish history, actions like those have always spelled disaster. To be a Jew and show open defiance of authority or to introduce “amendment” or “innovation” without first consulting with those officially appointed as Jewish spiritual leaders is the ideal equation to equal catastrophe. One can not just decide to “modernize” ancient traditions or regulations. The spiritual leaders of contemporary Judaism better known as Orthodox rabbis have received ordination to judge and interpret matters pertaining to the Jewish faith. These rabbis have received their rights and responsibilities and form a link in the unbroken chain of the Jewish tradition dating all the way back to Moses who received the Torah from Almighty G-d Himself. It was these very rabbis who, at the time of the formation of the Zionist movement, foresaw the pernicious outcome that was without a doubt lined up. It was a man possessing outstanding Judaic genius, and a level of uncontested holiness who enunciated the Jewish stance regarding Zionism.
THE ROLE OF ZIONISM IN THE HOLOCAUST
Article by Rabbi Gedalya Liebermann – Australia