Rabbi Yitzchok Weiss, the Spinker Rebbe (1875-1944)

Rabbi Yitzchok Weiss found an allusion to Zionism in the story of the Akeidah. The Torah says, "On the third day, Avraham lifted up his eyes and saw the Place from afar” (Bereishis 22:4). The Place was Mount Moriah, the future site of the Beis Hamikdash. On the word “afar” Chazal (Bereishis Rabbah 56:2) comment that the Place would one day be distanced from its owners, during the exile when Jews would be far from the site of the Beis Hamikdash and Eretz Yisroel. Until when will that exile last? The Midrash finds the answer in the following verse: “And Avraham said to his young men: Sit here with the donkey…” Sit here in exile until the coming of moshiach, who will be riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).

The Spinker Rebbe comments: “We must not force the end, arise on our own and seek power; nor may we take the Holy Land, emigrate to it and rule over it until the king moshiach comes, for this is included in the prohibition on forcing the end, as the Ahavas Yonasan says on the Haftorah of Parshas Vaeschanan – see his beautiful words there. This is what Avraham Avinu commanded us. When he saw that the Place would one day be distanced from its owners and the Jewish people would be in exile, he was afraid that they might want to arise on their own; therefore ‘Avraham said to his young men’ – a reference to the Jewish people, as it says, ‘For Israel is a young man and I love him’ (Hoshea 11:1) – ‘sit here’ – in exile, and do not go up except ‘with the donkey’ – with the king moshiach, who will come and gather in the Jewish people from exile.” (Chakal Yitzchok, Vayeira)