What did Jews do wrong to deserve exile?

12/01/06

Dear Rabbi,

First of all, I must say I'm deeply shocked by what I read in the "Ten questions to the Zionists" section!!

I actually have a question for you. Sorry for my ignorance, but I believe there are many people out there who do not know the same thing. Namely, you say that the Jews failed to observe the Torah and its commandments and that's why they had to go into exile. My question is: What exactly did the Jews fail to do?

I have another question for you: What is, if you know, the percentage of Jews who do not support Zionism?

Thank you for your answers
Very best
Sarah F.

Dear Sarah,

The Talmud says that Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed and thus the exile began because of the sin of causeless hatred, i.e. Jews hated each other for no good reason. The Torah says, "You shall not hate your brother in your heart." (Leviticus 19:17). The only good justification to hate someone, according to the Talmud, is if the person is a deliberate sinner.

The exile was also necessary because the Jewish people was in the grip of wicked men from the sect of the Sadducees, who denied the validity of the orally transmitted laws, and persecuted the sages (Pharisees) and the majority of the people who followed the sages. Also in power was the Herodian family, who took advantage of the people. These two groups were Hellenized Jews, who imitated Greek and Roman practices and were a bad influence on the good Jews. The Talmud compares them to a snake coiling itself around a barrel of honey. The destruction of the Jewish kingdom was G-d's way of ridding the Jewish people of them, because as soon as there was no more power and wealth to be had, these groups deserted the Jewish people. The various subsequent exiles the Jews have been through (Spain, Germany, Russia) have had, among other purposes, the purpose of filtering the bad elements out of the Jewish people.

The Jewish population of the world is about 13 million. This includes many irreligious Jews who have left the Torah behind and thus do not claim to tell the world what the Torah permits or does not permit. The Orthodox Jewish (i.e. Jews who observe the laws of the Torah, the Sabbath and the kosher laws etc.) population of the world has been estimated at between 1.67 million and 1.8 million.

Of those 1.8 million, there are about 1 million who are non-Zionists. Non-Zionist Orthodox Jews includes the entire yeshiva world and its supporters, and the entire Chassidic world. They make up about 10% of the Jewish population of the state of Israel - about 500,000 - and about 10% of the Jewish population of the United States and other countries. These non-Zionist Jews do not see Zionism and the state as an ideal; they did not work to create and fight for the state. On the other hand, some of them for practical reasons (i.e. to get money for their schools) will vote in the Israeli elections. Still it is important to remember that these people still continue in the ancient ways of Judaism, they still consider themselves to be in exile, and it does not make any difference to them if they are living under the exile of the Zionist government or the exile of the U.S. government or any other government. If anything, they will say that the Zionist exile is worse, because instead of secular Gentiles it's secular and anti-religious Jews.

Within the non-Zionist group, there are active anti-Zionists like our organization, whose associated groups and supporters number about 150,000 Jews worldwide.

I hope this information answers your questions.