Rabbi Yeoshea Dzikover

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Rabbi Yeoshea Dzikover

The following is the letter of Rabbi Yehoshea Dzikover, who wrote about the Zionists early on:

...As to the claim of these hypocritical rabbis that it is our duty to love even heretics, with the sayings of our Sages which they cite in support of this, it should be pointed out that they have distorted their holy words into the opposite of what they meant.

In my opinion, the benediction in our prayers against the informers applies to the Zionists, who defame us by alleging that the Jewish People is treacherous, G-d forbid, to kingdoms, and is in revolt against governments. THERE ARE NO SLANDERERS AS DANGEROUS AS THE ZIONISTS. In the words of King Solomon: "Thorns and traps on a crooked path, he who would preserve his life will keep away from them."

The Dzikover Rebbe, zt”l, is widely known as Reb Yehoishea Dzikover. This is what he wrote:

(English Translation):

“For our many sins, strangers have risen to pasture the holy flock, men who say that the people of Israel should be clothed in secular nationalism, a nation like all other nations, that Judaism rests on three things, national feeling, the land and the language, and that national feeling is the most praiseworthy element in the brew and the most effective in preserving Judaism while the observance of the Torah and the commandments is a private matter dependent on the inclination of each individual. May the Lord rebuke these evil men and may He who chooseth Jerusalem seal their mouths.

To our distress, some rabbis from Russia have joined these evil men and distribute letters and pamphlets in persuasive words describing Dr. Herzl as one who desires to lead us into the palace of the King. And I have seen that one of this variety of rabbis who entertain empty ideas and speak pretentiously, has been writing against the great and righteous men of the age who are opposed to Zionism.

He alleges that they reject—Heaven forbid—the Land of Delight and do not yearn to settle there so that they may fulfill the commandments connected with the land. All this is falsehood and hypocrisy. The Zionists seek to transform settlement into redemption and the gathering of the exile, and to fulfill there the desires of their evil hearts and their abominable wishes.

These rabbis who deny that there is a God above, disguise themselves in a cloak of piety in order to deny. They write even that some of them, found it difficult to believe that Shem Yisborach had raised up a redeemer who is not an observer of the Torah but, they add, the Lord desires this and His will is inscrutable—exactly as in the days of Sabbetai Tsvi.

They too base their views on a falsification of a saying in the Holy Zohar by substituting ‘the land’ for ‘the Torah’ in Israel, the Torah and the Holy One, blessed be He, are one.’ May the falsifiers be confounded.

In this connection, it is fitting to quote the saying of our sages that the sin of Nodov and Avihu consisted in their saying that although fire descends from Heaven, it was a duty to bring ordinary material fire. Rashi commenting on the verse ‘And the land will not vomit you forth’ states that the land of Israel was not able to contain sinners. According to what has been reported, the Zionists are sunk in the extremes of defilement and abomination as in Egypt and like drunkards do they bring a strange fire which the Lord has not commanded. If only the masses of Israel are not caught in this iniquity—Heaven forbid. Whoever has a grasp of all the incidents occurring throughout the generations of Israel’s course, will be aware that from matters like these many calamities surround Israel.

As to the claim of these hypocritical rabbis that it is our duty to love even heretics and the sayings of the Sages which they cite in support of it, it should be pointed out that they have distorted their holy words into the opposite of what they meant. In the Oir Hachayim, Parshas Kedoishim, it is pointed out that the verse ‘And thou shalt love thy neighbor like thyself’ means that it is only a duty to love those who behave in a manner suitable for your people to behave but apostates and heretics, the enemies of the Lord, one is forbidden to love. King David said ‘I have seen renegades and I was grieved because they did not observe Thy word.’ On the contrary, those who profess to be lovers of Israel constitute a danger to our religion to a greater extent than the apostates. In my opinion, the benediction Velemalshinim applies to the Zionists who defame us by alleging that Israel is treacherous to kingdoms, Heaven forbid, and in revolt against governments. There are no slanderers as dangerous as the Zionists. Concerning the like of them, King Solomon said ‘Thorns and traps on a crooked path, he who would preserve his life will keep away from them.’

In the days of my sainted grandfather, Rabbi Eliezer of Dzikov, zt”l there was the famous storm aroused by Rabbi Tsvi Hirsch Kalisher who troubled the great Torah personalities of his day with his proclamation calling on Jews to go up to Jerusalem, built an altar, offer sacrifices and hasten the Redemption. His words reached the ears of the masses of the people and they believed that the beginning of the Redemption was at hand.

At that time, my grandfather ascended the Bimah before Kol Nidrei in the company of seven leading men of the town with scrolls of the Torah in their hands and he proclaimed: “If the Lord desires to redeem us, He will send us Melech Hamoshiach without first informing Rabbi Tsvi Hirsh in the land of Germany. Nor do we find a hint in the Holy Books that the announcer of salvation will appear in the city of Thorn . . . Far be it from us to cast our burden upon him for we have not heard the command from Heaven that permission has been granted to Tsvi Hirsh, the son of Malkah, to engage in hidden things. What he is doing is not ordained from on High but emerges from his own heart.’ When Rabbi Tsvi’s book came into the hands of my father zt”l, the author of the Imrei Noiam, he was so shocked that he immediately condemned it to be burnt.

Yet Rabbi Tsvi was most learned in Torah and conducted himself according to the Torah but a fierce hunger had seized him to become a leader in Israel and an announcer of the Redemption. He was led into making the boldest interpretations. He even ventured to treat the sayings of our Sages speaking of the future of Israel and the land of Israel after the coming of the Righteous Redeemer as if they applied to redemption at the hand of man, forgetting that only Shem Yisborach can bring about eternal justice.

That was why the Gedoilei Yisroel unanimously proclaimed that if we come to the land of Israel as guests uninvited by the Melech Hamoshiach, there is a great danger that we will be driven out. Nevertheless, the fact is that Rabbi Tsvi did not slander Israel. But today, we are seized with horror when we hear that the Zionists write that the peoples among whom we are scattered by the decree of the exile, are like thorns in the eyes of Jews and that the dispersion of Israel is a curse to the peoples. There has therefore been an increase among us of letters from the great men among our brethren to the effect that the sole delight of Zionists is to fill their bellies to the extent of their appetites, that all who oppress Israel become leaders, and that through the great extent of their desire to rise to greatness, their brains have become confused so that they no longer have the common sense to appreciate the evil which they are bringing upon us.

We are also told that the rabbis in alliance with the Zionists are grinding ground corn, that their words have already been said by the sect of Sabbetai Tsvi and later by Rabbi Tsvi to whom we have just referred, and that these writings have become the corner-stone of Zionism in our day and of Zionist distortion of the words of the Ramban zt”l.

I am therefore joining those who aim at setting up a fence to exclude the Zionist transgressors. Far be it from any man in Israel to enter their company. I find it fitting to conclude with the words of my grandfather, the holy Rabbi Naftoli Hirsh of Ropshits zt”l, in his book Zera Koidesh (Parshas ki Sisso) to the effect that the root of failings is attributable to what the mixed multitude is doing to us. According to the Holy Zohar, they oppress Israel more than the peoples of the world. It is important, therefore, to strengthen ourselves with faith exceedingly, for Israel was redeemed from Egypt through the merit of faith and for that merit will again be redeemed in a future Redemption. The reinforcement of faith is particularly necessary when one sees the way of the wicked prosper.

One must then fix in one’s heart the conviction that Shem Yisborach will certainly and speedily reveal His Royal Glory to us and all the evil will vanish like smoke.”

Thus spoke the true Gedoilei Yisroel at a time when Zionism first appeared with its confusion. Each of them is at a loss for words with which to clothe his feeling of hostility to the confusion of the mind created by it. It is a remarkable fact that at the present day, sixty years later, the Zionist still use the same language and especially can this be observed in the case of their religious camp followers with their talk of the love of Israel and the beginning of the Redemption, etc. The strong words of Gedoilei Yisroel of that time are still vital today for those who wish to see the truth.

SOURCE: "The Transformation" The Voice of Torah, pp 210-217