Rabbi Yosef Rozen
Rabbi Yosef Rozen of Dvinsk Quotes from Rabbi Yosef Rozen of Dvinsk, known as The Rogatchover The following is a letter written in 1904 by Rabbi Yosef Rozen of Dvinsk, known as The Rogatchover:
Heaven forbid that we should test G-d and strive with him concerning the length of the Exile in order to be masters in the Holy Land.
To those who share these Zionist views but profess to be believers, whose lips drip with Torah and piety, I have this to say: Do you not know that Zionism and self-rule are VANITY AND PURSUIT OF EMPTINESS AND IMITATION? Why do you despise the Torah and stretch out your hand to transgressors tainted with HERESY, and why do you not consider in whose company you go?
How long will the Zionists be permitted to lead into a trap? One need not fear contention and discord with them, since they have already brought it about. In the book, Gates of Repentance, paragraph 59, we find 'HE WHO DOES NOT ENTER INTO CONFLICT WITH THOSE WHO STAND ON A BAD PATH IS PUNISHED FOR THEIR TRANSGRESSIONS AND FOR ALL THEIR SINS.
I have already written letters to those who ask whether there is any substance in the books of the Mizrachi rabbis Rabinovitz and Reines. I have replied that according to Jewish Law the two works of the above-mentioned rabbis are an abomination and desolation, according to the Torah.
May the day come when we are not subjugated and oppressed by HERETICS ORIGINATING FROM THE JEWISH PEOPLE - ESPECIALLY SEEING THAT THEY SPREAD EVIL TIDINGS ABOUT US.
The words of that great Gaon, Rabbi Joseph Rosen zt”l of Dvinsk were written in the middle of the year 5664:
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“I have already received a number of letters on this subject from rabbis and communal workers seeking the good of Israel and I have replied to them. These wicked men offend the angels of God, distort the promises of the prophets and despise the warnings of our teachers not to hasten the end and to wait for the coming of the Righteous Redeemer.
They turn after their hearts and after their eyes. In vain do they profess to burn with the love of Israel and love of the Holy Land. They think that they can be wiser than their predecessors. The whole movement is in the hands of unstable and empty men and slaves delighting in lawlessness. They raise their head against all the Gedoilei Hadoir seeing that they have defied a weighty prohibition against this conduct.
There is a sacred duty incumbent upon us to keep our eyes open and to understand what can emerge from their denunciations and libels. Terror seized us on hearing the report that Dr. Herzl and his fellow conspirators had appeared before the German Emperor and his princes and had bowed before them in entreaty that they should influence the Sultan to sell the land of our foregathers to Jews and that, in this way, Jews should receive the favor and protection of the Germans.
They, the Zionists, pretend to be unaware of the grave calamities exceeding all the evils in the history of our exile in the Amalekite state in which the bitter poison of the hatred of Israel has forever prevailed and where the blood of our ancestors has been spilt in thousands and tens of thousands. Trespass and treachery are to be found in this boast that the mightiest, the noblest, the wisest and the most moral of all the peoples has consented to take the Zionist state beneath her wings and to protect her.
Whoever has been favoured with a little sense will understand that—Heaven forbid—in our days will be fulfilled the curse “and he who flees from the sound of fear will fall into the pit and he who rises from the midst of the pit will fall into the trap.” Do not the Zionists claim that they are forced to flee from the anti-Semites? There is a great danger that if the Germans obtain a foothold in the Zionists state, they will set the inhabitants of the country against its Jewish inhabitants. One cannot compare a people helpless and downcast with other people who are in apposition to make alliances with one another. According to what is reported, the German Emperor is not reckoned as an enemy of Israel, but the heart of a king is bound up with the heart of his people and whatever they desire will sway him. The conversation with Dr. Herzl with our Count Plehve was contemptible and abominable. According to what has been published, he told the count that if our Emperor—may his majesty be exalted—will stretch out a helping hand to the Zionists, his country will be freed from enemies, revolutionaries and rebels. In this way, Dr. Herzl has exceeded through his wickedness the efforts of all our enemies and persecutors and we should moan, lament and rend our garments that a sharp sword has been placed in the hands of our foes.
How can we arouse kindness and seek compassion among the nations if we are tainted with revolt? Yet all this is aimed at making Dr. Herzl king of Israel and his associates princes.
Heaven forbid that we should throw off the yoke of exile from upon our necks through violence, intrigue and entreaties. We must take it to heart and seek to realize the extend of the folly of these men who are wise in evil because it has not occurred to them that, if the land is conquered before the coming of the King of Peace, grievous wars will follow and one people will gore another.
Let them know that one soul in Israel is equal in worth to the earth and anyone who destroys one soul in Israel is as if he had destroyed the whole world.
I will therefore take my life in my hand and proclaim that until the promised Messiah comes and the Holy One, blessed be He, blows the great trumpet to proclaim our freedom, we have no right to rule in the Holy Land, and that the Zionist aspiration for governmental power is a rebellion against the peoples who dwell in it.
Heaven forbid that we should test the Lord and strive with Him concerning the length of the Exile in order to be masters in the Land.
To those who share these Zionist views but profess to be believers, and whose lips drip with Torah and piety, I have this to say: Do you not know that Zionism and self-rule are vanity and pursuit of wind and imitation? Is not the basic purpose of the Redemption and of our coming to the Land not one of dominion and wars and victories but one of peace so that the Shechinah may dwell in the midst of Jerusalem and to the Lord will be the dominion? Only then will our joy be complete and our security assured. Why then do you despise the Torah and stretch out your hands to transgressors tainted with heresy and why do you not consider in whose company you go?
All our predecessors unanimously held the view that anyone identified with the name of Israel, should he see his fellow man walking in a path that is not good or accepting counsel that is not seemly, as the duty of restoring him and of leading him to a path on which he will not stumble. Similarly, should he see an evil man oppress his fellow man and mislead him, he is bound to exert all his efforts to deliver the victim from his trouble. How much more can this be applied to a matter relating to the whole people seeing that through the Zionists the Exile will be prolonged and many calamities—Heaven forbid—revived. There can be no harm greater than to arouse conflicts with the nations and to make Israel feared as a source of revolt on the plea that the sould of the whole people is bitter on account of the Exile.
In my humble opinion it is seemly to collect and assemble delegations of our brethren from every state in order to consult together as to what should be done. How long will the Zionists be permitted to lead us into a trap? One need not fear contention and discord because they have already brought it about. In Shaarei Teshuvoh, paragraph 59, we find: “He who does not enter into conflict with those who stand upon a path which is not good, is punished for their transgressions and for all their sins!”
I am therefore compelled to go forth from my enclosure and have written at some length although I have not gone into the details of Dinim but have dealt only with simple matters that are easy for every man to understand, because I see Knesses Yisroel in danger as if a sword were lying on our necks and I would repeat my warning that only G-d can give rest to His people and that no man has this in his power.
I have already written letters to those who ask whether there is any substance in the books of Rabbinowitch and Reines and I have replied that according to the Halochoh the two works of the above mentioned rabbis are an abomination and a desolation, according to the Torah. It is false that the Zionists rejoice the heart of our brethren who regard themselves as miserable and poor mong the nations, and that Herzl and Nordau will raise their stature.
In truth, we must thank Shem Yisborach for the grace that the peoples are allowing us to fulfill the commands of our Torah. All our concern in Exile relates to the destruction of the Sanctuary and all our delight and hope is to be under the dominion of the Lord, to be holy and pure and not subjugated and oppressed by heretics originating from Israel—Heaven forbid—especially seeing that they spread evil tidings concerning us. Everyone with a soul should have compassion on himself and remove himself from them. May the Lord again have mercy on us for we are in great danger. The Lord have mercy.”
SOURCE: "The Transformation" The Voice of Torah, pp 196-204