Thursday, August 04, 2011

Neturei Karta & Chabad - A Reason for Conciliation

Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, of blessed memory, the illustrious Satmar Rebbe, opposed the Zionist movement and its exploits. He based his opposition on three Halachic prohibitions derived from the gemora (Ksuvos 111a), expressed in Shir HaShirim (2:7) as oaths taken by God, namely:
1) Jews musn't go to the Holy Land en masse, in a forceful way;
2) Jews musn't rebel against their government while in exile; and
3) Jews musn't further distance the redemptive era.

These "3 oaths" characterize for the Neturei Karta their vigorous arguments vis-a-vis the present Israeli situation. (They comprise an offshoot of the Satmar Chassidim. In fact, they themselves comprise two schools of thought - whether or not to embrace the haters of Israel).

The first oath relates to Jews having purposefully gone to Israel en masse to set up a government and nation. I, for one, don't quite understand where else the remnant Jewry of Europe could all have gone. Most doors were bolted shut. Perhaps the oath meant to stay in Europe, or go elsewhere, or go to Israel in small groups; I don't know what alternative plans this Rebbe had for his followers and for Jewry at large. I only know that my parents, a"h, who survived the holocaust, could not remain in Europe because despite the war coming to an end, the hatred for Jews remained palpable nevertheless. But so be it, let's say there was another route to take instead of going en masse up to Israel.

The second oath, which prohibits rebellion against the foreign element, also was breached, in that they set up a nation, set up a military to fight and kill the enemy. The oath implied Gentiles were meant to control the Jews, and not have a Jewish nation of self-rule that automatically entails opposing the Gentiles on the land.

The 3rd oath, not to forestall the redemptive era, also was violated because Jews did not wait for Moshiach. They took matters into their own hands by saying, "We'll set up an army, we'll guard the Jewish people, we don't have to wait for Moshiach because, in fact, we have our own Messianic agenda." In fact, Herzl was often referred to as "King of the Jews". And in fact, they took the verse, "And let our eyes behold Your return to Zion", which orthodox Jews say during prayers thrice a day, and plastered it next to a picture of Herzl, making it clear their vision of Zionism meant to supplant the orthodox portents of Moshiach.

On 4 Tammuz 5740 (June 18 1980), when asked by the Admor of Sadigora (Rabbi Avraham Yakov Friedman) about these "3 oaths", the Lubavitcher Rebbe answered in words different than I bring here, but the idea is the same. You can find his answer in the book, "שיח שרפי קודש", recently published (p. 280); The book transcribes the conversations the Lubavitcher Rebbe had with rabbinic giants. As I understood it, there is a situation wherein you musn't, at first, do something, and then there is another situation where, if you already did do it, other laws apply. In other words, the new circumstances call for a different approach. For example, on Shabbos you must not pick up "Muktzeh". But if you happened to pick it up anyway, you now have other laws that apply; You now needn't drop it immediately. These relate to cases or laws of "לכתחילה" and "בדיעבד".

It may well be the 3 oaths applied originally, before the Zionists did what they did. Whether or not Chabad held these three oaths as binding I'm not sure, because in his authoritative book of the Jewish Code of Law, Maimonides makes no mention of them - but I doubt they would have disagreed with the Satmar Rav's ruling. But, explains the Rebbe, the matter is an altogether different matter today, where the 3 oaths are no longer a concern, because now another major factor supercedes them - that of "פיקוח נפש" - saving lives, and that today becomes the paramount issue! Today, because we find ourselves in Israel surrounded by enemies, the laws that come to bear, at the forefront, must take "saving lives" into foremost consideration, leaving the others irrelevant.

6 comments:

  1. WONDERFUL POST!

    Thank you a thousand times over for posting this~

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  2. Very interesting! But included in these 3 rules, does it say to embrace the people who would kill your people - photos of Netura Karta waving a MADE-UP FLAG OF THE PHILISTINES AND HUGGING A DENIER OF THE HOLOCAUST, MAHMOUD AHMADINAJAD, WHO ALSO WISHES TO DESTROY iSRAEL?
    Israel is the whole Jewish people not just the land.

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  3. one more time: the rebbe gives us the main focus on this famous topic. when we pay attention on how the rebbe defines every situation, we understand how wrong everyone else is... a groysn yashar koach!

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  4. Juniper - Of course you're right. They themselves, as I said, are split on this issue. Those that hug the modern Hitlers - it's just incredible a Jew can stoop so low.

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  5. Very interesting. You can read my comment at The Land, Yerushalayim, Zion, Moshiach.

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  6. First we need to secure the Land and protect our people: aren't we at war?

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