Why can't the Zionist redemption be G-d's hand?

08/31/07

Dear sir,
As your opposition of the present State of Israƫl is based on the Thora, which texts of the Thora do you use and how do you read them?
Yours sincerely,
H. Frank

The state of Israel contradicts the Jewish belief that the messiah will come and afterwards all the Jews will return to the Holy Land. They will go there under the messiah's leadership. See Isaiah Chapter 11 which begins with a description of the messiah, and then says (v. 12), "And He (i.e. Hashem) will lift up a banner to the nations, and He will gather in the scattered of Israel, and the diaspora of Yehudah He will gather from the four corners of the earth." See also Rambam Melachim 11:1, "The king the messiah will eventually arise and restore the kingship of the house of David to its former status, build the Temple and gather in the exiles of Israel."

There are many verses in the Bible that say clearly that G-d (through His emmisary, the messiah) will be the one Who redeems the Jewish people from exile and gathers them in. See Deuteronomy 30:3, Isaiah 27:12, 40:9, 41:14, 43:5-6, 52:12, 54:7, 56:8, Jeremiah 16:15, 23:3, 30:10, 31:9, 33:7, Ezekiel 11:17, 20:34, 28:25, 34:13, 37:21, 36:24. Hosea 1:7, Micah 2:12, Zachariah 4:6, 8:7, Psalms 53:7, 106:47.

On the verse in Deut. 30 the Abarbanel, one of the most important Scriptural commentators, says: "We see from here that Hashem Himself will return our captives, and it will not be like the beginning of the Second Temple era, when the Jews returned to their land by the permission of Cyrus, king of Persia."

Lest you say that the Zionist enterprise is G-d's way of gathering the exiles, the Talmud says that we are forbidden to do this on our own. In Kesubos 111a it states that an oath was imposed on the Jewish people not to go up "as a wall" to Eretz Yisroel. This means that individual Jews are allowed to live there during exile, but a mass movement, and certainly a military conquest as happened in 1948 and 1967, is forbidden. G-d hides behind nature and the acts of man, but in this case we cannot say that this is G-d's ingathering since it was explicitly forbidden to us. Obviously the Jewish people is supposed to wait for G-d to do it in a supernatural way, or at least through an emmisary who is clearly a prophet and can tell us that the time has come.

There are two other oaths mentioned there that apply to the state of Israel. One is the oath against forcing or pre-empting the end of exile. The other is the oath against rebelling against the nations. We are supposed to be submissive and peaceful during exile, not wage wars.

There are those who claim that the Zionist state is not a substitute for redemption, but simply another stage in the exile of the Jewish people. But the Midrash on Song of Songs 2:7 says that the Jewish people were foresworn not to go up as a wall from exile, for "if so, why does the king Messiah come?" The commentators Maharzu and Yefei Kol explain that gathering in the Jews to Eretz Yisroel is the messiah's job, and it is not for us to do it in advance.

Thank you very much for your long and elaborate answer to my short
question. But, if you would forgive me, I think you are making a
mistake. Yes, a mistake and a very grave one. Israel consist of 12
tribes. The Jews are only two of them, Judah and Benjamin. Where the
rest is, nobody knows except the Lord, Who has not forgotten them. All
texts you point to refer to the whole of Israel, so 12 tribes in all.
The ten tribes as a whole are often called Ephraim. Pars pro to to as
Holland for the Netherlands and England for Britain. As not even the
members of these ten tribes themselves know they are, they are not yet
allowed to return as they don't know they have a right to do so. So this
return can only commence after the arrival of the Messiah, as of course
He knows who is an Israelite and who is not.
Now the argument that the present State of Israel is one like every
other state on the face of the Earth, like Holland, France or Italy.
Believe me, that is not so. Take only the language, Ivriet. There is no
other language that has come to life after not being spoken for so many
centuries. The Jews in the diaspora spoke the language of the countries
they were in, or Yiddish -which is not Hebrew but rather some kind of
German- or perhaps another tongue or local dialect, but not Hebrew.
Ivriet had to be put together so to say and introduced as the national
language of the State of Israel. The land the Zionist have today is not
conquered by them. The Israeli's (including the Arabs living in Israel)
have to defend it to be sure, but they have not conquered it. Palestine
was never without a Jewish population of some size. The Jews who
emigrated to Palestine after the British conquest of 1917, bought their
land and settled as farmers. And when they were traders and craftsmen,
they settled in the cities, where they bought their homes and workshops
and started their businesses. To be sure the Arabs, who benefited very
much from the Jewish presence, nevertheless saw this Jewish presence as
a threat. Of what, they still don't know. The consequence of this Arab
feeling where proposals to divide the land between Arabs and Jews. The
Jews always accepted these proposals, the Arabs always rejected them, up
to this day. So when the British withdrew, the newly formed Jewish state
was attacked by the Arabs. Imagine mister Lowenthal, a state with a
population of about 650.000 Jews, so considerably less that one million
and almost no weapons, had to face an onslaught of no less than five
fully equipped Arab armies with tanks, airplanes, artillery, many many
soldiers and what have you. And you know what? The Jews won, with almost
bare hands. If this is no Miracle, what is? You know what I think, the
Jews won because their Lord fought for them, just as in the days of
Gideon and David before he became King. Who else you think could have
done it?
What do you mean by Wall? The Jews who emigrated to Israel, came per
person or as families, but never in large organized groups, except for a
short time after the Shoah. The British, to be sure, diverted these
groups to Cyprus, where they were put in camps again. So when did it
happen that Jews came as a Wall to Palestine? I think this will happen
after the coming of the Messiah, as the whole of Israel, so all 12
tribes will emigrate to Palestine in a very short time. These groups
will be so large that some sort of organisation has to be put in place
as to avoid chaos. But why bother now? Under the Kingship of the
Messiah, everything will be different.

Isaiah 11:12 refers specifically to gathering the diaspora of Judah. In Deut. 30:2 it says, "And you will repent to the L-rd your G-d and hearken to His voice&" and then it says, "And the L-rd your G-d will bring back your captives and have mercy on you&" If these verses are referring to the Ten Lost Tribes as you say, who don't even know they are Israelites, then how can they repent before the ingathering? Clearly the Torah is speaking of Israelites who have always known they are Israelites. And it says G-d will bring them back, not that they will bring themselves back.

To say that all the prophetic verses refer only to the Ten Tribes makes no sense, in view of the fact that most of the verses I listed were from Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, who all lived with and spoke only to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The Ten Tribes were already gone before Jeremiah and Ezekiel were born.

You mentioned the phenomenon of Ivrit coming to life. Actually the true Hebrew language was never dead; it was continuously used by Jews throughout the exile for scholarly purposes. Every Jewish child from age 5 onward was taught to read and write in Hebrew. The language created by Eliezer Ben-Yehudah (1858-1922) is based on the original Hebrew, but is molded to fit into the modern world and facilitate easy word-by-word translation to and from European languages such as French and English. Besides the thousands of words borrowed from European languages and then Hebraicized according to the rules of grammar, there are many words whose original meaning was changed so that they corresponded to European words. For example, "ishi" for personal, "rahitim" for furniture, "gil" for age. Other words were taken from holy Jewish sources and applied to mundane concepts. For example, the angelic term "chashmal" was taken from Ezekiel 1:4 and used to mean electricity. The Talmudic term "teiku" meaning an unresolved question was used to mean a tie in a sports event. The pronunciation adopted by the Zionists is a hybrid of the Sephardic vowels and the Ashkenazic consonants, and thus is not the same system used by any Jewish group until that time. In short, we do not look at the development of Ivrit as the resurrection of a language, but on the contrary as the corruption and destruction of the true Hebrew language.

You bring proof from the Israeli victory in 1948. Even if it were a miracle, we do not bring proof to refute a religious principle from a miracle. If a Jew got into his car on the Sabbath and a serious accident happened and, miraculously, he came out without a scratch, would you say that this is proof that a Jew may drive on the Sabbath?

Also, twenty thousand Jews lost their lives in that war. Is that any comparison to the miraculous war of Gideon? Furthermore, the Zionist victory was because the Arabs armies were unprepared and untrained for war. Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was a captain in the Egyptian army at the time, said that during the operations his soldiers thought they were engaged in practice exercises on Egyptian soil. They were not ready for the desperate fighting of the Zionist settlers. The Jordanians were untrained and had to rely on British leadership. And again, even if G-d helped the Zionists win, G-d expects us to decide right from wrong based on the Torah, not based on whom He gives success to. History has seen many wicked people who succeeded in their wicked goals.

You ask when Jews came as a wall. The answer is that coming as part of a mass movement, even if you buy your ticket as an individual, is called "as a wall". And what happened in the early fifties when masses of Sephardic Jews were absorbed into the new state was certainly mass immigration.

Thank you very much for your elaborate answer. I really appreciate this.
However you should know that the prophesies of the Lord refer to the
whole of Israel. If only one tribe is meant, the Prophet says so. Isaiah
11:11-16 refers to Israel as a whole. If the Prophet names the parts, it
is only to say that the animosity between Judah (2 tribes) and Ephraim
(10 tribes) has ended. You have to read the names in context, so to say.
And, believe me, the Lord, your Lord and mine, is much
much bigger than you and me are able to grasp, much bigger. The Lord has
Children among all Peoples of the World, not only in Israel. And,
believe me, mr. Lowenthal, not every member of the tribes of Israel
belong to the flocks of the Lord. If you agree the Lord will gather all
of Israel, so 12 tribes, from among the Peoples of the World, these 10
tribes (Ephraim) need to exist as well. But if nobody from these 10
tribes knows if he is an Israelite or not, they must have turned their
hearts to the Lord without knowing they belong to Israel. Isn't that a
miracle? Praise the Lord so to say. What a happiness there will be, once
the Messiah will be there, or rather here.

The Lord fulfils His Word as He sees fit. Who brought the children of
Israel from Egypt to the land of Canaan and Who brought Abram to the
Promised Land? Well mr. Lowenthal, I think you will agree: The Lord.
Does this mean they didn't had to go themselves and to walk, that they
were carried by Angels or something? No. The lord brought them and they
had to walk themselves. But because of the Word of the Lord, they knew
on beforehand that they weren't walking in vain. That they should arrive
in the Promised Land and that they should take possession of it.
Although they had to liberate the land themselves and had to take
possession of it literally.

Although talking the local language and Yiddish in their everyday lives,
Hebrew was used for study and in the Synagogue, as for example the Roman
Catholics still use Latin for study and in their Churches. This Hebrew
could not be used in everyday life as Latin cannot be used in everyday
life, so it had to be adapted, so to say. That has been done. The result
is today's Ivrit. As every other attempt to construct a language
wherever on Earth has failed, this must be regarded as a miracle as
well. No wonder, the Lord Himself must have inspired the adaptors.

If a Jew got into his car on a Sabbath just to drive
around, he breaks the Sabbath. But if he got into his car on a Sabbath
to bring his kid to Hospital in order to save his or her live, the Lord
will bless him, even if he could have waited until the next day.
If in the War of Independence the Arabs fought in an inferior way, as they
did not only in that war, is that no proof that the Lord fought for His
People, the Zionist? That 20.000 or more Jews died, was because they had
almost no arms to defend themselves. Nevertheless they won, because the
Lord fought for them. To be sure, these 20.000 died from Arab bullets,
not from bullets of the Lord nor from one of His Angels. Gideon lost
nobody, true, but David lost some in his campaigns, although the Lord
fought for him (for Israel) as well. Still he lost some men.

The immigration of Jews to Israel has never stopped. It's still going on
today, although some are leaving. Some days more arrive than on other
days. Some time it's really busy. But what do you mean by wall? Where do
you get it from? I cannot find it in the Thora. You mention Kesubus
111a. Is that part of the Thora? Besides, you promised to prove your
point on the Thora, but have until now used only one text of the Thora.
The others are from the Bible to be sure, but not from the Thora. I
prefer to stick to the Thora and the Bible and to leave everything else
outside. Do you agree?
With all due respect,
Yours sincerely,

When Abram and later the children of Israel entered Canaan, they indeed walked on their own feet, but they were instructed to do so by G-d. No such instruction was given to today's Zionists.

Yes, a Jew may break the Sabbath to save a life. But the Zionists in fighting their war were not saving lives, since the Arab armies attacked only because of the declared state, and no one asked them to declare a state in the first place. A better analogy would be if a Jew deliberately placed 600 Jews in a burning building on the Sabbath, and then brought hoses and tried to put out the fire. In the end he succeeded in putting out the fire, although 20 of the Jews died in the process.

The tractate Kesubos is part of the Talmud, the Jewish oral law that was given at Mt. Sinai together with the written Torah.

Here are more proofs from the written Torah, the five books of Moses: Deut. 4:27 states that G-d will scatter the Jews among all the nations. Since this scattering was an act of G-d, Who knows what's best for us, we are not to come back to the land until He tells us to do so. Deut. 28:64 also speaks of this scattering, as well as Lev. 26:33. In Lev. 26:34 and 43 the Torah says that the land must rest during exile, so clearly we may not end exile early without a command from G-d. In Lev. 26:44 it says that when we are in the land of our enemies G-d protects us from destruction, implying that if we are in the Holy Land during exile we have no such promise.

Dear sir,

That G-d gave Abram the order to lift up and go to the Land the L-rd has
promised him, we know from the Torah. But how do you know the L-rd has
not given the present day People of Israel the order to return to their
Promised Land again, so to carry out the Third Return of an Israeli
people (2 tribes only) to Palestine and to what is now the State of
Israel, a state which is not finished yet. Who will built the Third
Temple on Mount Sion if it can't be the Jewish People? If you counter my
question by asking: but how do you know etc. I will not accept that as
an answer as you state firmly: "no such instruction was given". So what
makes you so sure?

How do you know the Arabs would not have attacked the Jewish settlers
in Palestine once the British left? The State of Israel was
proclaimed and attacked (with British help) at about the hour the
British left, so the Arabs had already decided to attack long before
this happened. Do you know how long it takes to organize a military
campaign on such a scale? If you listen very carefully to what the Arabs
are saying time and again, they just want the Jews out of the
Middle-East and nothing less. They don't want to coexist, they want to
get rid of the Jews, no matter if they live in a state or not. Listen
for example to what Hamas says all the time and to what the Arab
mainstream media are telling their peoples about Jews etc.. So the Jews
who defended their homes and farms against this onslaught have surely
saved many lives that should have been destroyed by the Arabs had they
not defended them. What makes you think the Arabs will not dispel the
Jews once they have folded their state?

I know the Torah was given at Mount Sinai, but where in
the Torah is written that the L-rd also gave the Talmud or even
additional tractates at that time and place? Are you not trying to
proof your point from texts outside of the Torah and the Bible?
Leviticus 26 tells us why the L-rd has sent His People into the
Diaspora. But it also says that He will allow them to return. It don't
say that the Messiah needs to come first. If this was a prerequisite
indeed, the L-rd should have told us. Don't you think? By the way,
during exile, Palestine was occupied by the enemies of Israel, Leviticus
tells us, not by their friends. So if the Arabs are enemies, as their
behaviour clearly proves, why do you think they shall leave the Jews
alive once they have given up their state and so their defence as that
is exactly the reason for it's existence. To protect Jewish life and to
give them a chance to lead a normal live while glorifying their L-rd.
Theirs, yours and mine.

With reference to the analogy you used, a better description would be:
the Jews, 650 in number, placed themselves in the building they had
created themselves. This building was then set ablaze by the outside
world, the Arabs, in a way helped by the British. Nevertheless the Jews
managed to put out the fire, although 20 Jews died in the process. So
they managed to save 630 lives. The Jews deliberately placed themselves
in that building, true, but it was not a Jew that set the building
ablaze and it was not burning when the Jews got in. Besides, what makes
you so sure to say the L-rd didn't wanted the Jews to build that building?
Yours sincerely,

From the Balfour Declaration onwards, it was known to the Arabs that the Zionist settlers were not just coming to live in Palestine under Arab rule; they were there to built a Jewish national homeland. It was this that they opposed, and there were many episodes of violence during the mandate period, for example, the massacres in Hebron and Jerusalem in 1929. Late in the 1930's it was Arab violence that caused the British to reconsider the Balfour Declaration and issue the White Paper of 1939. So yes, they were planning a fight (and fighting as well) for a long time, but that was because the Zionist state itself had been in the planning for a long time. If there had been no Zionist movement, there would have been no large-scale organized Arab violence against Jews.

On the other hand, I'm not saying that if Arabs were given power today they would accept the 5.2 million Jews who live there now. They would probably feel that such a large number jeopardizes their control of the country, and would ask some to leave. But the 650,000 Jews who lived there in 1948 were not the majority of the country and would not have posed a threat to the Arabs, had they had no political aspirations.

You ask how I know that G-d did not instruct the Zionists to do what they did. Well, ask them! I don't think any of them claimed to be a prophet who heard G-d's voice.

You are pressing me for proof from the written Torah without recourse to the Talmud. But I am an Orthodox Jew, and for us it is an article of faith that G-d gave both the Torah and the oral laws contained in the Talmud at Sinai. Without this oral law, we cannot really understand any of the Torah's commandments. For example, the Torah simply says, "Keep the Sabbath day, do not do any work" but doesn't specify what "work" means. The oral law tells us that there are 39 categories of work: plowing, sowing, reaping, gathering, etc. Here too, the Torah speaks vaguely about exile and redemption, but it doesn't say exactly how it will happen. The Talmud clarifies the Torah by saying that the messiah will come, that the Jews must wait for him, that they may not take any action on their own before he comes.

So, when I prove my points about Zionism, I am doing so on the basis of the laws and principles accepted by Orthodox Jews. If you are not an Orthodox Jew and do not accept all of these principles, then you'll never accept what I say, and there is nothing I can do about that. It is just as useless as me trying to convince you not to drive on the Sabbath based on a Talmudic text.