web analytics
July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
Judaism
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » Judaism

An Interview with Rabbi Moshe Zuriel

Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav

Yeshiva Merkaz HaRav
Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash 90

Did you ever wonder how someone becomes a Torah scholar? I don’t mean just any old neighborhood rabbi who is able to quote a few sources (which for me is still very impressive) but rather someone who has an in depth understanding of the underlying ideas that all the various sources are trying to convey. Although this may sound like a trivial matter, the truth is there are few people who really acquire such an understanding.

One such person I’ve had the privilege of knowing for several years is Rabbi Moshe Zuriel. Although his appearance could cast him as just another “black hat” haredi rabbi living in Bnei Brak, the Rav (Hebrew for Rabbi) is anything but that. For starters he’s an ardent Zionist and strong advocate of Jewish settlement anywhere in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel). For many years, until health slowed him down, he would periodically give lectures in various communities throughout Judea and Samaria in order to strengthen the morale of the people living there. In addition, he’s penned one of the more well-known books on the works of Rabbi Avraham Kook, a five volume set called Otrzot Ha-Ra’ayah. For anyone who is familiar with Israel, this in itself separates the Rav from most of the residents in Bnei Brak since in the haredi world Rabbi Kook is more or less a persona non grata.

A prolific writer known, amongst other things, for both providing indexes to some of the most difficult material (ie. an index for the Vilna Gaon’s commentary on the Tikunei Ha-Zohar) as well as for collating tremendous amounts of scattered sources (in Otzrot Emunah he provides 170 different books as reference material for over a hundred topics of Jewish religious thought), the Rav has written roughly thirty books on a wide variety of Torah subjects as well as countless articles. Although fluent in English as a result of spending most of his youth in America, all of his published works are in Hebrew. For anyone interested, many of his articles can be found on the Beit El Yeshiva site.

In order to better understand how he acquired such vast knowledge as well as hear his story firsthand (everyone has a story), I recently made a long overdue visit to the Rav in his Bnei Brak apartment.

From Germany to Cuba to America

Yoel Meltzer (YM): It’s good to see you Rav Zuriel, I haven’t been here in years. I want to go back in time with you and hear your story. If I’m not mistaken, you were born in Germany in 1938. If so, how did you get out of Germany?

Rabbi Moshe Zuriel (MZ): My father was a Polish citizen and my mother was German born. My father was thrown out of Germany as a foreigner half a year before my mother was also ejected from the country. She was placed on a train with four children and a few hundred other Jews, all of us deported to Poland. We were the last train before the border was closed. The Poles however didn’t want any more Jews, which turned out to be a godsend since otherwise we would have ended up in a concentration camp. At the same time, however, the Germans didn’t want us back as well. So we were stuck on the train for two days, all of us crushed together. Being a small infant, only six months old, I fainted from hunger. My mother told me that someone gave me half a banana which in turn kept me alive.

The Germans then decided to let us come back for two weeks to make preparations for leaving. They didn’t care where we went as long as we left Germany. However, since no country in Europe was ready to accept a few hundred Jewish refugees we decided to hire a ship, at our own expense, and set sail for South America in the hope that some country would let us in. My father, who until then was in Switzerland, was also with us on the ship.

Similar to the case in Europe, no one in South America wanted us and we were rejected by nine countries – Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Nicaragua, etc. We were on the ship for about two months until finally some wealthy Jews in New York gave serious bribe money to the leadership in Cuba in order to convince them to let us stay in Cuba. They agreed and we were there for two years with all of our expenses being paid by the same New York Jews.

YM: And after two years, where did you go?

MZ: We were then allowed into America and we settled in New York (Brooklyn). I grew up there and as a youth I was involved in the Bnei Akiva youth movement where I developed my love for Israel. Eventually I studied at the Ner Yisrael Yeshiva in Baltimore during the day while at night I studied at Loyola University in order get a degree in education. I wanted to be a teacher in Israel so I needed to get a degree.

About the Author: Yoel Meltzer is a freelance writer living in Jerusalem. He can be contacted via http://yoelmeltzer.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “An Interview with Rabbi Moshe Zuriel”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Some of the missile fire comes from launchers planted in cemeteries, mosques, schools and hospitals. This is an aerial photo of one such launch in Beit Lahiya earlier this week.
Sleepless in Rishon Lezion, IDF Attacks in Gaza Continue
Latest Judaism Stories
Weiss-072514

Just as the moon waxes, wanes and renews itself, so has the nation of Israel renewed itself through the millennia.

126_masei_web

Parshat Masei: Rabbi Fohrman addresses the age-old question, are we our brother’s keeper?

Hertzberg-072514

When Germany invaded neutral Belgium on August 4, England declared war on Germany. Thus, by the end of the first week of August all the major powers of Europe were at war.

Winiarz-072514

The Talmud teaches that the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed because of baseless hatred.

When taking any major step in life it is a good idea to carefully re-evaluate one’s past.

Ours is a small and intensely vulnerable people. Inspired, we rise to greatness. Uninspired, we fall

The enormity of Hiram’s accomplishments crazed him and deluded him into self-deification.

When Hashem first thought (if it could be) about creating the world, the middah of din was in operation.

Hallel On Purim?
“Its Reading Is Its Praise”
(Megillah 14a)

If the only person available to perform the milah on the eighth day is a person who is not an observant Jew, the milah should be postponed until a devout mohel is available.

It is apparent from the Maharsha that he does not see galus as atoning for killing accidentally; otherwise, this Gemara would not bother him.

It was found to be a giant deer tick living in her head – with its claws in her scalp.

While daydreaming about finding the perfect job, I never expected to be rewarded in spades for my aforementioned experience.

We are all entrusted with the mission of protecting our fellow Jews

Today, we remain Hashem’s nachal.

More Articles from Yoel Meltzer
Photo: Naftali Bennett

In less than three months time the Jewish Home Party, formerly known as the National Religious Party (NRP), will be holding its first ever internal primaries.

Ayelet Shaked

The co-founder and former chairman of the MyIsrael (Yisrael Sheli) national movement, the recipient of the 2012 Abramowitz Israeli Prize for Media Criticism and a close associate of Naftali Bennett – the two worked together in the office of Benjamin Netanyahu prior to the 2009 elections – Shaked is raising some eyebrows due to the fact that she, unlike Bennett, is a secular candidate for HaBayit Hayehudi -a traditionally religious party.

On his attempt to hijack an airplane in 1970 to bring attention to the struggle of Soviet Jewry: “Sometimes it happens in your life that you simply feel it’s the right thing to do.”

“We need to work on instilling a good strong Jewish-Zionist identity in all of the children in Israel and not only in the religious ones. In other words we need to stop looking inward and start focusing on all of Am Yisrael.”

Rabbi Zuriel: “With the ingathering of the exiles, we need a Sanhedrin to implement various changes since Judaism is a developing matter; it’s supposed to be dynamic. He showed me in one of his works twenty items that the Tosafot changed. Today however, he added, we’re like the Karaites, we don’t want to change.

For anyone who is sick of the lies and hypocrisy – be it in Israel or the world – and really wants to work for change, it’s not enough to simply stand on the street corner and shout the truth. How something is said or how someone looks while performing an act frequently has more impact than anything else in the eyes and ears of the viewer.

Most Israelis understand that the funding of Israeli organizations by foreign governments is a way to enable these governments to advance their agenda of delegitimizing Israel.

Commenting on the role the sovereign nation-state plays in the western world compared with the Islamic world, the late Samuel P. Huntington, in his classic study The Clash of Civilizations and The Remaking of World Order, wrote: “The structure of political loyalty among Arabs and among Muslims generally has been the opposite of that in the modern West. For the latter the nation state has been the apex of political loyalty.”

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/an-interview-with-rabbi-moshe-zuriel/2012/04/25/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: