Rabbi Yitzchock Zev Soloveitchik

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Rabbi Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik (the Brisker Rav)

At an assembly of various rabbis in Jerusalem in the 1950s, a proposal was raised from the ranks of rabbis serving in Jewish religious schools (yeshivas) as to whether it was permissable and desirable for those schools to accept funding from the Zionist government. One of the greatest rabbis of the generation, Rabbi Yitzchak Zev Soleveitchik, pronounced his opposition to the proposal, and later wrote a letter in which he made the following statement:

From Lo Sasur (Thou shalt not depart) Page 37, Declaration and Letters, Document 13:

A letter written by the late Rabbi Yitzchak Ze’ev Soloveitchik in 1948 regarding accepting money from the Zionists for education.

Dear Rabbi Meir Karelitz:

I became angry to hear that at the meeting of heads of yeshiva schools held last week in Jerusalem it was decided to agree to the proposal that those schools accept funding from the United Fund administered by the Zionists, meaning that the keys to all the yeshiva schools should be transmitted to the Zionists, and that they will rule over the schools – which is what the Zionists have sought for many years.

In my opinion we must resist this proposal with self-sacrifice in all ways possible, because it is a proposal to violate the Torah, against which we must engage in self-sacrifice.

We must not worry about the possible loss of funding for our schools, which might only be for a short time. I contacted Rabbi Yehuda Finkel, and today he gave me his answer since I did not attend. He told me that the majority of the rabbis decided to accept the proposal.

__However, no attention should be paid to this!__

This is because the Torah does not belong to the heads of the yeshivas, and it is requirement to protest, struggle and resist their decision. Therefore, I am asking you to correct the distortion as soon as possible, because I heard that there is supposed to be a decision about this in Tel Aviv today.

G-d forbid this should occur among the Jewish People to transfer the keys of the Torah to those who violate it and fight against it!

I hope you do all you can to make sure the proposal is not implemented, and I will remain your friend.

Yours truly, 17 Av 5708 – 22 August 1948 Yitzchak Ze’ev, son of Rabbi Chaim Halevi Soloveitchik

To read the original Hebrew document, HERE

After Reb Velvel learned that at the convention in Mariband they had discussed the Jewish state he was very disturbed and said:

“How can these small rabbis and heads of yeshivas take upon themselves the determination of things dealing with life and death? It is obvious that the partition will bring with it the anger and hostility of the Arabs and other nations of the world. This whole thing touches on the shedding of blood. HOW DO THEY HAVE THE ARROGANCE TO MAKE JUDGEMENTS DEALING WITH LIFE AND DEATH?”

When asked: aren't we to pray for them, in order they should repent from their evil ways? He replied: three times a day in the prayer against the atheists we pray that they should be destroyed.

He also said: "The Agudah is nothing, just money."