Could memsheles zadon in the Yamim Noraim prayers refer to the Zionists?

08/31/07

Is there a conection between the zionist regime to the prayer against the Memsheles Zadon in the Shmoneh Esrei prayer of Rosh hshanah and yom kippur?
Can you, the team of the website, publish in the web a parsha pearls about Yom-Hakippurim (Divrei Torah),if it is possible.

We will try. Yom Kippur this year is Shabbos and we are trying to make a new Parsha Pearls every week.

We say in the prayers, "When you cause the memsheles zadon (sinful government) to pass from the earth." This prayer was written 1800 years ago by the Talmudic sage Rav, and it could indeed be that a spirit of prophecy inspired him to choose those words, which can easily describe the Zionist state.

However, we also have to know the simple meaning. Chazal did not fill the prayerbook with words that refer to future events so that Jews should say them for hundreds of years without knowing what they mean.

Someone once asked me a similar question about the blessing "Velamalshinim," in which some people (mainly Sephardic Jews) say, "Umalchus harisha te'aker us'shaber..." - May You uproot, break down, bring low and humble the evil kingdom, speedily in our days. What does this "evil kingdom" refer to? Again, we could say it is a prophetic reference to the Zionists, but we have to know the simple meaning. If it means a cruel government Jews live under, such as Rome, then how does this square with the obligation to pray for our government, derived from Jeremiah 29:7 and Pirkei Avos 3:2? This is what the person asked me.

There are two answers. 1) Rabbi Yaakov Emden writes that the word "minim" (heretics) in the Talmud was a code word for the early Christians, most of whom were Jews. It was to combat them that Shmuel Hakatan composed the Birkas Haminim, the prayer against heretics. At first the Christians had no government of their own, so the words "the evil government" were almost certainly not part of the prayer. But later they set up the Vatican and the Papacy, and became a sort of government, wielding power over Rome and other nations. It may be that at some point after that, either in the time of the Amoraim or the Gaonim, the words "the evil kingdom" were added as a reference to the Church. Thus the words are not a prayer directly against the ruling government, because Rome was not inherently Christian - indeed there were some pagan emperors after that time, like Julian the Apostate. They were a prayer against the Church itself.

2) The Mekubalim say that the "evil kingdom" means the spiritual realm of the Sitra Achra and the powers of tumah.

These same two answers could be applied to the words "memsheles zadon" (sinful government) in the Rosh Hashanah prayers.