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What are the Biblical and Talmudic sources against Zionism? Why do you stress Talmudic sources so much?

10/25/06

Dear Rabbi,

For a long time I was what you would call a Zionist.
I've come to learn that the Israeli Government is corrupt and only shortening the life span of Jews not only in Israel but Globally.
My question is, can you show me some Biblical and Talmudic references that oppose the state of Israel or how Israel was created?
Because I see all of the Rabbinical teachings but I want to know if there is any Information in the Torah that opposes this creation?
Any Information is greatly appreciated.
Thank you and G-d bless

The state of Israel contradicts the Jewish belief that Moshiach will come and afterwards all the Jews will return to the Holy Land. They will go there under Moshiach's leadership. See Isaiah Chapter 11 which begins with a description of Moshiach, 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 Moshiach 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 Moshiach) 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.

In Deut. 4:27 it says that Hashem scattered us among the nations, and the Gemora in Pesachim 87b explains that this was for our benefit ; see our Parsha Pearls on Vayishlach.

The main Talmudic or Rabbinic source against Zionism is the Talmud, Kesubos 111a. There the Rabbis derived from a verse in Song of Songs 2:7 that when G-d sent the Jewish People into exile, He made them take three oaths: not to go up to the Holy Land as a wall, not to rebel and fight wars against the nations, and not to force the end of exile. Having a government in Eretz Yisroel is a violation of the oath not to force the end of exile, since sovereignty inherently contradicts the concept of exile. Furthermore, the State was established through mass immigration (a violation of “that they should not go up as a wall”) and wars (a violation of “not to rebel against the nations of the world”).

The reason we stress the Rabbinic sources more than the Biblical is that there are many religious Zionists who believe in the Bible and yet support Zionism. Their claim is that G-d is doing all this, through the medium of Zionism. To them, this is comparable to our belief that although we work for a living, G-d is the One sending us the money. We must work only because G-d so decreed, and He sends us money by way of our work ("hishtadlus"). But once one studies the Rabbinic sources, it becomes clear that any activity on our part towards gathering the exiles and political sovereignty is forbidden. We are not allowed to do any "hishtadlus" to bring the redemption, other than repentance and mitzvos. Now that we see in our time many Jews who violated this prohibition and worked to achieve a political entity, we know that this was not G-d's will any more than any other sin. This is certainly not the redemption or any part of it. And on the contrary, they have already sacrificed 14,000 Jewish lives and are currently putting many more in danger, as you wrote. May Hashem save us all!