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How should I teach the evil of Zionism to the newly observant?


Dear Rabbi,

I am asking for a framework within Torah for behavior towards my fellow Jews who are supporters of Zionism.

Initially, I would assume (in my ignorance) that if I accept that Zionism is a mistake, then it is akin to any other mistake that an individual Jew makes and I am already familiar with guidelines on how to approach an individual in that regard (even though learning such behavior has taken a good portion of my life).

But Zionism affects so many people and appears to even threaten Jewish existence itself. If I were not convinced by demonstration over the last four decades that antisemitism has a direct connection with the way in which individual or groups Jews behave, I would have had questions about the position of the Satmar Rav zt"l.

As it is, I do not know how to properly address this antizionist issue with regard to my fellow Jews in any other than an adversarial manner. And I have learned from experience that such rarely is ever effective. But there must be something that I can DO. And that is what I am asking - when faced with an evil which is apparently not in my direct sphere of influence, what is my appropriate course of action? What does JAZ do explicitly to address the issues that Zionism puts in everyone's face? In other words, how does one promote anti-zionism without undermining or further endangering one's fellow Jew.


Dear Naftali,

You want to know how to be mekareiv Jews who are Zionists, without turning them off. You know how to be mekareiv people who, let's say, don't keep Shabbos fully, or don't keep Hilchos Niddah, because you know that kiruv goes little by little, and it's not necessary to overwhelm a person with everything at once. At the same time, those in the middle of the teshuva process are also aware that there are many laws in Shulchan Aruch that they don't yet keep, and they understand your position about them. But in the case of Zionism, how can you pretend to go along with them if they ask you a question like, "What do you think Israel should do now?" To pretend to be a Zionist is to be false and perhaps even heretical, but to answer truthfully, "They should give up their political sovereignty" would shock them and they would be turned off.

Related to this is the question of people who already keep halacha but are Zionists. How do you begin to approach them without turning them off?

My rebbe gave me the following advice: When you are teaching someone Gemora or Chumash or other standard subjects, keep away from the subject of Zionism for a while, until they see that you're a normal person who knows how to learn with intellectual honesty and has ahavas yisroel. Then when the subject of Zionism comes up, they will respect your opinion.

So, please continue to talk to people. You can also help us by distributing the Parsha newsletter in your area. (Currently it is only send by e-mail, not distributed on paper at all.) . And if you have any material for our website, or issues you think we should concentrate on, please feel free to write again.