Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Baal Shem Tov & Anti-Zionism - A Conversation With Dreitzen Shpitzen

A Simple Jew asks:

Is there halachic basis for anti-Zionists to believe that Hashem allows them to actively support people who kill Jews?

While one might argue whether or not the Baal Shem Tov would be anti-Zionist if he was living today, do you think the Baal Shem Tov would meet and encourage promoters of suicide bombing and burn Israeli flags?

Dreitzen Shpitzen answers:

It is my deep conviction that anybody who posses even a basic understanding of chassidus and its inner view of current events understands how Zionism and Judaism are radically opposed. On the topic I recommend "Toras Aleph" letters from the Choproner Rov z"'l they are all introductions to chassidus written to his students and many deal with the issue of Zionism and the inner Torah, there also are some strong mahamorim and letters from the Rebbe Rasha"b and a fantastic sefer called "aes nissayon" by Y. Y. Domb from London (I think that there exist an English translation but I'm not sure).

Now, about rallying with the PLO or the like. It is the conviction of Netury Karta leaders that because in people's minds Jews and the State of Israel are one and the same, many Jews are in danger, and that it is crucial to let the world know that Jews and Zionists are not (necessarily) related. In order to do so, some burn Israeli flags join Palestinian rallies,and so on. It is their believe that by doing so they save Jewish lives.

If they are right or at least have a point, I don't know. I'm personally uncomfortable with it, and since The Satmar Rov z"l was against it, I stand where I stand. On that note, I also would like to express my discomfort with the way Israeli soldiers and officials treat Palestinians. Is it all we've learned from two thousand years of golus, to turn overnight from oppressesed into oppressors?

As for the Baal Shem Tov's position, we know that he fought the Frankisten with tooth and nails, and as I said before I believe that he would have opposed Zionism. For the rest, your guess is my guess.

A Simple Jew responds:

I appreciate your willingness to engage in a conversation on this touchy subject. Although I am aware that indeed there were some great tzaddikim who vehemently opposed Zionism, there were other tzaddikim who did not maintain this position. Furthermore, I am unaware of any psak halachah that is universally accepted on this issue.

I think there is a huge difference between burning an Israeli flag and supporting groups that kill Jews. While I am far from an expert in the halachos of who is a moser, it would appear to me that a person who actively engages in helping a non-Jew who is planning to kill Jews would be coming very close to this status. Let me be clear, I think that it is totally legitimate for someone to be an anti-Zionist, however I think the person is walking on halachic thin ice when his anti-Zionism leads him to support groups that kill Jews.

Anti-Zionists routinely say they are for the "peaceful" dismantling of the State of Israel. However, looking at the words and actions of Hamas and Hizballah, it appears that their method of attaining their goals is far from peaceful.

Dreitzen Shpitzen responds:

First of all a universal psak halachah is a rare breed, forget a universal psak hashkafah. However historically the majority of Jewish orthodoxy opposed the Zionist idea.

I also feel that a distinction should be made between burning the flag of a state that has caused the death of so many Jews as predicted by the tsadikim who opposed its foundation, and supporting groups that kill Jews.

As for mesirah it is a totally different geder, above all remember that those people believe that by doing so they prevent the killing of more Jews. That has nothing to with the proposition of giving the state of Israel to the U.N., a proposition that sounds to me "unrealistic" to say the very least.

A Simple Jew responds:

It appears that we are making progress in this discussion in that you too disagree with the fact that some anti-Zionists support groups that murder Jews. Now, lets take this one step further - you differentiate between these groups and those who protest the State of Israel by burning Israeli flags. If one desires that the State of Israel be peacefully dismantled, it seems that some anti-Zionists are sending another message by burning the flag, since an outside observer would interpret the act of burning the flag as an act of anger and violence. Ironically, the anti-Zionist is conveying the opposite message than what he intends to, since it appears he wants to burn the State of Israel.

If a person wants true peace in Israel, perhaps he should just daven that Hashem sends us Moshiach. I think this is something Zionists, non-Zionists, and anti-Zionists can all agree on.


At July 26, 2006 at 7:43:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I also would like to express my discomfort with the way Israeli soldiers and officials treat Palestinians. Is it all we've learned from two thousand years of golus, to turn overnight from oppressesed into oppressors?"
Hamrachem al achzarim sofo lihyot achzar al harachmanim...
Can't say much more. Utterly disguisted.

At July 26, 2006 at 10:10:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Mosh: I sent this same question to Neuterei Karta but they did not respond. It does seem, however, that Dreitzen Shpitzen is not as extreme in his beliefs as them.

At July 26, 2006 at 10:43:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

> Let me be clear, I think that it is totally
> legitimate for someone to be an anti-Zionist,
> however I think the person is walking on halachic
> thin ice when his anti-Zionism leads him to support
> groups that kill Jews.

I agree 100%. I'm discusted from ideology of tziyoynus, as I perfectly understand, how it is intrically connected with communist ideology, which is in all permuated with behinas Amoleyk (koyfer beikar). (I wrote a long article about in in Russian once). This feeling is shared by the vast majority of frume Yidn, and we see today, how low tziyonus had fell and degraded (based on what it is, its current condition is a logical conclusion).

But it doesn't chalilo mean, that in order to remove its evil one should go to obvious amoleykim, who hate klal Yisroel with black hatred. I think its a fatal mistake of Neturey Karta, and that's why most Yidn don't appreciate their activities and collaboration with murderers.

I'll write a bit more about it later, bli neyder.

At July 26, 2006 at 10:49:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

A Yid: I look forward to read more of your thoughts on this in the future.

At July 26, 2006 at 10:54:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't really want to get into the Zionist/Anti-Zionist debate at all - however, I would like to point out that it is important to differentiate between pre-state of Israel and post-state of Israel. Many great Tzaddikim were strongly opposed to Zionism, but once the State was founded they shifted to more moderate stances.
That's not to say that they became Zionists - but they shifted to a position of dealing with it as a reality (dealing with Zionism from a standpoint of kiruv & tolerance), and it seem to clearly be is a matter pertaining to the safety and survival of many thousands or millions of Jewish lives that was behind this shift.
When we look at things this way, I think it is hard to apply pre-Israel seforim or statements to a Post-Israel world.
And I must admit, it is hard for me to understand, ralistically, how the anti-Zionist position would protect Jewsih lives.

At July 26, 2006 at 11:02:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, I hope that this statement is indeed correct:

"above all remember that those people believe that by doing so they prevent the killing of more Jews."

I sense mostly hatred is the driving force among many, rather than concern... I hope and pray that "13 Points" is correct.

At July 26, 2006 at 11:03:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Good point, Chabakuk Elisha!

At July 26, 2006 at 11:04:00 AM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

As for your last comment, Chabakuk Elisha, this is what let me to the question about the Baal Shem Tov, a tzaddik who epitomized Ahavas Yisoel.

At July 26, 2006 at 11:45:00 AM EDT, Blogger evanstonjew said...

I found your post so very interesting and I applaud the way you handled the issue. Very good.

At July 26, 2006 at 12:37:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think things must be made clear that these people are beyond the pale of Torah Judaism and should be treated as such. And whoever supports them is like supporting the "frankisten" or any other cult.
I think a few years ago the Satmar chassidim came out with a statement that they have nothing to do with Neturei karta.
It makes me mad these people dare to quote the holy Baal Shem Tov...

At July 26, 2006 at 1:54:00 PM EDT, Blogger FrumWithQuestions said...

Who or what is Dreitzen Shpitzen? The one thing I don't understand is how someone who calls themself a Jew, can go and meet with the Iranians who deny the Holocaust happened. Supporting Iran is OK according to this guy you interviewed and Niturei Karta? I would like to know how meeting with a modern day Hitler can help save Jews lives. Iran wants America off the map as well as any other Non-Muslim country. I don't think anyone can defend these people. Regarding Anti-Zionists that are indeed Torah observant Jews would never act like these people have acted and are continuing to act. Somone posted on their blog an interview which was on foxnews with these people yesterday.

At July 26, 2006 at 3:49:00 PM EDT, Blogger ggg said...

I answer your post whit another post in my blog.
Please read it. :)
kol tuv

At July 26, 2006 at 7:47:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forgive my presumptiveness (if there is such a word),
I feel certain that Hashem loves all the Israeli Jews even if they do not keep the Mitzvot; and there are statistics that show that more Israelis observe something if not all of the Mitzvot - and this is dear to Hashem. They need to do more, and they will - But Hashem loves them none the less.

I cannot bring myself to read this back and forth conversation. It's almost like a tete-a-tete with the Yetzer Hara!
What a waste of human intellect.

At July 26, 2006 at 7:50:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At July 26, 2006 at 7:52:00 PM EDT, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

These days, I do not believe that a chassid should refer to himself as an anti-Zionist even if he has ideological problems with Zionism. The term "anti", obviously means against, and a chassid should be known as someone who loves all Jews; someone exuding Ahavas Yisroel. Using the term "anti-Zionist" indicates that his Ahavas Yisroel is lacking,

Ilan, I certainly do not mean this as a personal attack against you, my friend. I am challenging the idea, not the person.

I have written more about the word "anti" here

At July 26, 2006 at 9:18:00 PM EDT, Blogger ggg said...

Nonono, i know that you comment was not "anti" (sic) me.
I put "antizionist" whit "". but we have to love all the jews and to fight against apikorosut and kofrut, apikorosim and kofrim.

At July 27, 2006 at 12:46:00 PM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can find my further answers here:

It seems better not to post it here for "argument heating", but to leave to those who want to research this issue more seriously with a calm mind.

Those who are too emotional about this subject and have no patience to read - better don't read! Those who have kishkes for this subject can get the answer on the link above (find "Free" button there and follow steps).

At May 11, 2008 at 11:11:00 AM EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

with all due respect to a simple jew, what is this?
it is offensive to me that anyone would consider that the besht would be antizionist. this is chillul H" and you should be ashamed!!!

what do you think rav kook would say? nu? are you listening.

am yisrael needs to come together. the secular, even if they don't become daati can be open to torah study and some observance if the religious reach out with soulful love.

this kind of b.s., i'm sorry, is just totally out of place, not constructive and the sort of intellecutalizing that can get us in trouble in heaven and on earth. '
for G-d's sakes people!!!! where is the ahavas yisroel here?

i suggest respectfully to a simple jew to delete this entire discussion.

i have to reach for the prilosec.


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