As I wrote in my last article “The Tailor and the Kaftan”, if indeed Zionism was the vehicle for Yisrael’s physical redemption since its declaration as a state in 5 Iyyar 5708, corresponding to May 5, 1948, then surely Torah (not religion) must be the vehicle for Yisrael’s mental redemption from servitude to all the evils we are witnessing in today’s democratic and liberal society, now gasping its last breath, onto the גאולה שלימה we all pray for every day
In Reb Chaim’s zt’l “Death of Zionism” published more than 20 years ago, the Great Gaon saw today’s reality clearly and implicitly, to wit, that without a Torah reality in Eretz Yisrael (again, not as a religion but as a constitutional guarantee of life, freedom and true happiness-YS), we don’t need Israel itself!
Without Israel’s mental redemption now from hedonism, vulgarity, pleasure-seeking and self-satisfaction, eating a falafel at a Friday night’s football game, the true purpose of Yehezkel’s resurrection of the dry bones will not materialize, since as the conditions for its completion depends on returning its people to the Torah, and the Torah to its glory and majesty through kedushat Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael
Reb Chaim wrote:
“Returning to the principle of “Yachin rasha vetzadik yilbash”, despite the fact that it may sound very radical and great animosity will be caused by these words, the development of Zionism has come to its end. The pious and idealists may be very much disturbed and disappointed by this truth. Lamentations and sorrows will be exclaimed, but Zionism is dead, since it has finished its purpose and there is nothing it can offer for the Divine plan.
“By definition, whoever understands what has been said here, must now recognize that we are in the beginning of a second stage of redemption, when the so-called seculars have to politically relinquish Eretz Yisrael to Torah.
“This may be compared to a person who gave a vessel to an expert to fix some part thereof. But after he fixes it, the vessel has to be returned to its rightful owner. Similarly, the Zionists finished their mission, and now Israel reverts back to its aim of fulfilling the Torah. And some light is already seen in this direction, as witnessed by the fact that the religious are involved and taking part in the political processes of the modern State of Israel. By their own free will, the liberals, progressives, and the modern free minds, are forced to accept the load of kfiat-datit onto their shoulders.” (Up to now, reluctantly, to say the least. However, threatened with the scepter of Torah changes in this political arrangement until today, the Zionists know they must either accept this new reality in Israel triggered by the Netanyahu government 2023, or move on. YS).
Reb Chaim continued to offer a “logic” behind the generations of Herzl and Ben Gurion by explaining that their motivation in setting up the State of Israel was “to shake themselves free from the Torah in order to live a social democratic life, with a free progressive conscience and without interference from religion.”
Ironically, they failed! Their dream of a Torah-free society has not been fulfilled.
“Eretz Yisrael is full of Torah, yeshivot, rabbanim and dayanim, whose opinion has to be considered in Israel’s political life. The atheists and leftists all constantly complain that they cannot accept the kefiat-datit of the Torah people, since the system of the social structure in Israel lacks the spirit of freedom from Torah pressures.
“The pressure of Torah is such a tremendous disturbance on their conscience that they cannot see the difference between an Arab-or any non-Jew-and a Jew, as they are sustained by the axiom that all people are equal, not understanding logically the Torah and kedusha bestowed upon the Jew.
“Being empty of tradition, they cannot see the importance of Eretz Yisrael more than any other place on earth. Their conscience tells them that the right of a Jew to Eretz Yisrael is no different than that of an Arab. The chosen land and the chosen nation are to the atheist a myth, a result of racism and the lack of education. They do not realize the importance of Yisrael in this mundane world, and its relational spirit in the mental world of ruchniyut.”
The word Zionism
“The word Zionism has to be clearly defined, as it has lost its meaning, just as many other words have lost their meanings and became cliches, slang and other expressions.
“For example, to the Neturei Karta, or the “frumakkes” of some Roshei Yeshivot in the yeshiva world, or those living in Bnei Brak, the word Zionism alludes to apikorsim, k’fira and rejection of Torah. To these societies, if a Tzadik – even like the Chofetz Chaim – will come out for Israel and proclaim the significance of Eretz Yisrael, he will be branded immediately as a Zionist and will be identified with hedonism against Torah, despite the fact that the Yerushalmi in Chagiga calls every Jew Tzion, and the Jewish nation as a whole also is called Tzion, as was explained and proven from Tanach. By this definition in the Yerushalmi, every Jew who keeps Torah is a Zionist. Here we see how the word Zionist was broadened in the opposite sense of its original Torah meaning.
“On the other hand, to the so-called Zionist groups who did work for Eretz Yisrael, the word is confined to one meaning and one identity: it is enough to be a Zionist as long as one is a patriot of Eretz Yisrael. The word is so minimized that one who identifies himself as a Zionist can reject Torah, tradition, ethics, and morals of Jewishness. He does not accept any dogma which defines the differences between Eretz Yisrael and the other countries and between Jews and non-Jews. All these doctrines of Torah are strange and unnecessary to him. Kedusha and holiness are a myth. All he is interested in is in possessing Eretz Yisrael, but it is not a necessity to him. According to him, klal Yisrael can live in any other place on this earth as long as democracy prevails there. Eretz Yisrael has only a commercial fancy and is not a necessity. And in an instant, he is ready to leave Eretz Yisrael for what seems to be a better place for him.
“But these groups of atheists and leftists are very small. Most, or even all Jewish people who live in Israel-even the atheists-have inside their souls a feeling for kedusha, Torah, and Torah tradition, despite the fact that it is fashionable to be progressive and modern. Even Shulamit Aloni (Shalom Achshov-YS) constantly claims in the media that she was also on Har Sinai when the Torah was given to the Jewish people by Moshe Rabbeinu. However, this small group of Zionists have taken the initiative in Israel’s government and society and became the political leaders and exponents of intellections for the left.
“We come back to the definition of Zionism.
“The word did not originate from those who reject Torah and work for Eretz Yisrael, nor by the zealots. It was formulated by the Creator of the universe, Who bestowed the name Tzion upon His chosen nation.”
*All excerpts from Death of Zionism” are copyrighted to Dr Chaim Zimmerman, 1993, and the International AAE of New York and Chicago.