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Rabbinic Quotations

Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik, Rabbi of Brisk (1853-1918)

Sep 24 2012

When Rabbi Chaim of Brisk spoke about Zionism, he gave the following parable: Once there was a town in which there was a well that had been closed and sealed for as long as anyone could remember.

Rabbi Yitzchok Yaakov Reines, founder of Mizrachi (1839-1915)

Sep 23 2012

Rabbi Yitzchok Yaakov Reines (1839-1915) was a leader of Chovevei Tzion and the founder of the Mizrachi movement. In 1902 he published a book called Ohr Chadash Al Tzion calling for settlement in Eretz Yisroel, but cautioning (p.

Rabbi Simcha Yissocher Ber Halberstam, the Chiashenover Rebbe (d. 1914)

Sep 21 2012

In its early years, the Zionists plastered signs on the doors of synagogues all over Europe saying, "Dear brothers and sisters! The long, two-thousand-year exile calls to us and says: If I am not for myself, who will be for me (Pirkei Avos 1:14)?

Rabbi Eliyahu Chaim Meisel, Rabbi of Lodz (1821-1912)

Sep 20 2012

The Zionists do not seek out Zion. They say, our hands will triumph, our lips are under our power. They do not wait for the redemption of Hashem. They have donned the cloak of Zion to fool the weak-hearted and entrap them in their net.

Rabbi Naftali Hermann Adler, Chief Rabbi of the U.K. (1839-1911)

Sep 19 2012

These words come from a speech given by Rabbi Adler in English on November 12, 1898, in reaction to the then-new Zionist movement. It can be found today in the book Ohr Layesharim:

Rabbi Avraham Borenstein, Sochatchover Rebbe, author of Avnei Nezer (1838-1910)

Sep 17 2012

The Avnei Nezer (Yoreh Deah 454) asks: when and where did the Jewish people accept the Oaths that prohibit them from leaving exile and taking over Eretz Yisroel?

Rabbi Yosef Chaim of Baghdad, author of Ben Ish Chai (1832-1909)

Sep 16 2012

On Shabbos Chol Hamoed Pesach we read the Haftarah about the dry bones resurrected by Yechezkel the prophet (Yechezkel Chapter 37). This story took place in Tishrei, so why do we read it in Nissan?

Rabbi Shmuel Salant, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem (1816-1909)

Sep 15 2012

Rabbi Shmuel Salant quotes the law that a wife may force her husband to move to Eretz Yisroel (Kesubos 110b), and then asks why – even according to the Ramban, he says, there is no obligation on every Jew to move to Eretz Yisroel, since this is one of t

Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein, Author of Aruch Hashulchan (1829-1908)

Sep 13 2012

We are also obligated to make sure that there not be found among the Jews, Heaven forbid, any thought, even in the heart, of rebellion against our master the Czar and his ministers.

Rabbi Chaim Chizkiyahu Medini, author of the Sdei Chemed (1833-1904)

Sep 12 2012

Rabbi Chaim Chizkiyahu Medini, author of the Sdei Chemed, was also contacted by the compilers of Ohr Layesharim, and he responded with a letter against Zionism. But his letter reached Kovna too late to be included in the book.

Rabbi Tzadok Hakohein of Lublin (1823-1900)

Sep 11 2012

After the sin of the spies, Moshe Rabbeinu warned those who regretted their original lack of faith that they should not attempt to go into Eretz Yisrael by force: vehi lo sitzlach, it will not be successful.

Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin, Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem (1817-1898)

Sep 10 2012

When Rabbi Yehoshua Leib Diskin, in his last years, heard about the new Zionist movement, he realized the danger it posed to the Jewish people.

Rabbi Yerucham Yehuda Leib Perlman, known as the Gadol of Minsk (d. 1896)

Sep 09 2012

The Gadol of Minsk writes in a halachic response regarding the settlement of Eretz Yisroel: "This mitzvah is different from all others.

Rabbi Naftali Tzvi Yehuda Berlin, known as the Netziv, Rosh Yeshiva of Volozhin (1816-1893)

Sep 08 2012

The Netziv supported the Chovevei Tzion movement, but at the same time he cautioned that settling the land should never be associated with messianism, the Temple or the redemption in any way.

Rabbi Yehoshua Trunk of Kutna (1821-1893)

Sep 07 2012

Even the Ramban, who lists conquering Eretz Yisroel as one of the 613 commandments, would not obligate conquest nowadays.

Rabbi Hillel Lichtenstein of Kolomaya (1814-1891)

Sep 05 2012

Why did Pharaoh fear that the Jews would rebel and join his enemies? Certainly the good Jews, who constituted the majority, entertained no such thoughts.

Rabbi Marcus Lehmann (1831-1890)

Sep 04 2012

Let us consider the history of other nations! First they are small and unimportant; they grow stronger and more powerful by perpetual warfare against their neighbours and other enemies; thus they become great, mighty and rich.

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, Rabbi of Frankfurt (1808-1889)

Sep 03 2012

Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch devotes a long section of his book Horeb (pp. 460-461) to the obligation of Jews to seek the welfare of their government (Yirmiyahu 29:7).

Rabbi Yosef Shaul Natanson, author of Shoel Umeishiv (1808-1875)

Sep 01 2012

When Pharaoh feared that the Jews would join his enemies (Shemos 1:10), why was his strategy to make them slaves? Wouldn't that make them even more likely to hate the Egyptians and fight against them?

Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer, founder of Chovevei Tzion (1795-1874)

Aug 31 2012

Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer was one of the founders of the Chovevei Tzion movement, and in his 1862 book Derishas Tzion he claimed that Jewish settlement in Eretz Yisroel could be the beginning of the redemption.