Sunday, May 4, 2014

When Charedim Followed Tradition And Prayed For The State

The charedi community proclaims itself to be the champions of tradition. They follow the path of Chazal, of the Rishonim, of the Acharonim. As Rabbi Avi Shafran, spokesman for Agudath Israel, wrote in Ha'aretz this week, charedim just want to live their lives as their ancestors did.

So let's look at Jewish tradition with regard to the concept of praying for the welfare of the state in which one lives. Yirmiyah says, "Seek the welfare of the city to which I have exiled you, and pray to Hashem on its behalf; for in its prosperity you shall prosper" (Jer. 29:7). Chazal say "Pray for the welfare of the government, for if not for its fear, people would swallow each other alive" (Avos 3:4). Jews, like everyone else, require a government, and they should express their need and gratitude for this. In line with this, there is a long Jewish tradition of reciting Hanosen teshuah lemelachim, which prays for the welfare of the government.

Now, it's true that Hanosen teshuah was not recited in every community. Still, it was recited in many communities. Yet there are countless people today who grew up in such communities, and who proclaim the importance of mesorah, but who do not recite that prayer, whether they are in the US, UK, or Israel.

Why are they breaking from tradition? It seems likely to relate, at least to some degree, to charedi hostility to Zionism. With many Jews in Israel becoming increasingly nationalistic and civic-minded, charedim - even those in the diaspora - reacted by becoming less nationalistic and civic-minded, even with regard to the US government. 

In "The Piety of Politics: Jewish Prayers for the State of Israel," my former teacher Rabbi Professor Joseph Tabory reports some fascinating history to this topic. When it came to creating a prayer for the State of Israel, there were two schools of thought. One was that a Jewish State of Israel should not have the same Hanosen teshuah format that was used for gentile states in the Diaspora. But another view was that Hanosen teshuah should indeed be used, to make it difficult for the ultra-Orthodox to refrain from participating in it. From a contemporary standpoint, the latter view now seems very naive. Charedim don't even say hanosen teshuah for Diaspora countries anymore! In any case, it was the former view that triumphed. Sure, you might quibble over the phrase reshit tzmichat ge'ulateinu, but the miracle of the Jews returning to Israel, and having political control of the Promised Land, deserves a special prayer.

At any rate, there was one occasion when the charedi community reverted to the traditional practice of praying for the state. In fact, the prayer was specifically focused on praying for the welfare of the armed forces. Amazingly, this occurred in Israel. Even more amazingly, it occurred under the direction of none other than Rav Elazar Menachem Schach, the fiery leader of the Litvishe charedi world!

Unfortunately, the State that they prayed for was not the State of Israel.

This was during the first Gulf War. Yated Ne'eman reported that Rav Schach had ruled that the charedi community should pray for the welfare of the coalition forces. The Yated was careful to note that this was a matter of following the tradition of praying for the state. The ruling was to use the traditional text of Hanosen teshuah, mentioning "the government of the United States and its partners." As Dr. Marc Shapiro commented to me, this means that the charedim were willing to recite a special prayer for the success and welfare of Syria and Saudi Arabia - but not of Israel! (This brings to mind the charedi anti-draft rally in New York a few months ago, in which they wouldn't express their gratitude to the IDF, but they thanked the NYPD.)

For many years I did not - I would not - recite the prayer for the State of Israel. Eventually, I changed my practice, for several reasons. First of all, it dawned on me that I should follow my family tradition from my shul in England - a black-hat shul that nevertheless recited the prayer for Great Britain. Second, I realized that the practice of praying for the state was declared by Yirmiyah and Chazal to be important, and with good reason. Third, I looked at the text of the prayer for the State, Avinu shebashamayim, and I couldn't see anything in it that was disagreeable (except perhaps for the phrase reshit tzmichat ge'ulateinu, which I couldn't be sure was true; but it certainly would be great to express it as a wish, and in any case it wasn't reason to discard the entire prayer).

With all that is wrong with the State of Israel, are we not extremely grateful to have it? And do we not want it to be blessed? And doesn't expressing gratitude and the desire for blessing for the Jewish People reflect the traditional values of Torah? I'd like to be a traditional Torah Jew.

83 comments:

  1. Great article! I really try to avoid reading Shafran's pablum. But you forced it on me. :)

    Shafran, as usual, is completely clueless as to what goes on here. He even contradicted himself in that nonsensical article. At one point he states, "And on the infrequent occasions when individuals have sought to expand real or imagined religious values in the public sphere", and yet later he states, "There has never been any attempt to insinuate religious practices into non-haredi ones". Of course his first statement is correct and of course in understates the issue ignoring decades of attempts by the Chareidi infiltrated Rabbanut to impose ever stricter standards on the entire country.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I think there are some nussachim that contain the word שתהיה before ראשית צמיחת גאולתינו. Personally, I don't think either side should have a problem with that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I heard once (a long time ago) that Rabbi Riskin says it that way.

      Delete
    2. I frequently daven in a shul where the Rabbi utters 'Shet'he' under his breath. To notice, you a) have to be on the bimah next to him and b) be wise to what is going on...

      Delete
    3. When I was a student at Boston University, the campus Rabbi, Rabbi Joseph Polak, used to phrase it "ראשית המשכת גאולתנו". He gave two reasons for his wording: 1) even though it's tremendous that so many Jews have returned to and settled Eretz Yisrael, there's no prophet amongst us to tell us "this is what we've been waiting for for 2000 years", and 2) we could say that this is one stage in a continuum of geulas, starting from the Exodus from Egypt, up to the geulah shleimah.

      Delete
    4. But isn't that oxymoronic? Reishit is a beginning and Hamshachat is a continuation.

      Delete
    5. He must have said המשכת צמיחת גאולתנו without ראשית. That would fit with his reasons; with the 2nd and maybe also the 1st.

      Delete
    6. I don't know if it is an official nusach, but I do know of one "Black Hat" Rabbi that says the prayer that way. I always assumed that it was his own innovation.

      Delete
  3. I just want to point out that the version of the tefillah you linked to (looks like it's from Rinat Yisrael based on the font) doesn't have the last pasuk (U-Mal Hashem...) in the quote at the end, which is found in other siddurim (e.g. Koren) and which makes it even more Torah-centric.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Right Stuff – Showing Our Appreciation For The IDF

    By: Harry Maryles
    Published: August 16th, 2006
    Latest update: October 14th, 2013
    There is a story told about the great Mirrer rosh yeshiva, Rav Chaim Shmulevitz, zt"l. During the Six-Day War a bombshell landed near the yeshiva, just missing it. No one was injured. Rav Shmulevitz decided to make a seudas hoda'ah, a festive meal thanking God for this nes nistar (hidden miracle) that spared his students any injury.

    During the course of the seudah, Rav Chaim spoke of two armies in Klal Yisrael: the physical army represented by the Israel Defense Forces and the spiritual army represented by the bnei Torah who learn with tremendous dedication. He told all the b'nei Torah at the seudah that both armies deserved hakaras hatov and that both were needed to protect the Jewish People.

    This is the mark of a true gadol. He recognized the truth. He understood the important and vital contribution of a physical army just as he did the importance of a spiritual one. And he did not single out only the religious soldiers. He spoke of the entire army - each and every soldier.

    ReplyDelete
  5. From the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haredim_and_Zionism

    One of the American leaders of the Lithuanian Jewish world, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1895–1986), expressed something approaching ambivalent support of the State of Israel, claiming that it is proper to pray for the Welfare of the State of Israel, so long as one does not call it the "first flowering of the redemption."

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nostalgic monikerMay 4, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    You should make a return trip to Vine Street. There are munkjac deer in the irwell valley, and your father's name is on the walls. You may find out a little more about the distinctively Mancunian Judaism you were born into.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The British Singer's siddur, does contain the prayer for the State of Israel, composed by CR Brodie, but it does not include, reshit tzmichat ge'ulateinu. You should have remembered that!

    ReplyDelete
  8. the USA was established for freedom to practice religion as opposed Israel which was established to destroy the JEW to make him not to keep torah and mitzvot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, Chaim Dovid, they didn't do a very good job of it, Torah is flourishing , and indeed the Haredi community is flourishing like nothing before in history. It is fascinating to me how people like yourself, who claim to have a fanatical devotion to the Torah, take such a hostile, negative view of most of Am Israel and have such a disdain for the truth....as we say in the bracha...."asher natan lanu TORAT EMET" - the Torah of TRUTH.

      Delete
    2. Not really. You don't know the history of the U.S.A. go do some real reading perhaps. Also about Israel it is complicated. True some of the "elite" were Bolsheviks that still hold power today, BUT at least we t he Jewish people have the opportunity to make a real Jewish State. The institutions are in place and such. All the needs to be done (by all sides) is for the Religious at the very least to work for and promote the implementation of Halacha. Unfortunately on both sides (at least the religious only) not much is talked about establishing Halacha as the law of the land as it should, no Must be. So we have 2 sides of our "leadership". One side the Haredi side that is irrational. That is waiting for and expecting miracles to fall from the sky. The other side, at least the left leaning of the Dati-Leumi that follow and worship the State and cant and don't distinguish when we should NOT follow State orders as and when it is against Halacha. They claim to be the "rational" one's but still they just end up being dog's on the leash of the Secular "elite".
      Jews need to wake up and unite under the banner of the Torah. We must establish and work to establish a Jewish State as it MUST be. until then we will see the tragedies that we are unfortunately all too familiar with.

      Warren B.

      Delete
    3. Well, if that was their (Israel's) plan, they weren't very good at it were they?
      What a foolish ugly comment!

      Delete
    4. Wow, mb and Warren, I really messed up....I meant the comment sarcastically, but sarcasm
      doesn't come across well on the web, I suppose. I was attempting to point out that was NOT their plan. Sure there were some who were quite anti-religious among Israel's founders, but their idea was to create a safe haven, not a Torah state, and they succeeded, and this safe haven has allowed the Torah to flourish like never before.

      I find Chaim Dovid's political myopia to be quite amazing, but common among people of his ideological bent. He is complaining that Israel isn't "religious enough" but the US is wonderful, as he sees it. The fact that the large majority of American Jewry is rapidly assimilating is invisible to him. Non-haredi American Jews simply don't exist in his eyes, they are ignored. He thinks American Judaism is in such wonderful shape as compared to Israel. Well, in the US there are plenty of people who are recognized as rabbis by most of American Jewry who advocate homosexual "marriage" and are prepared to accept intermarriage. What's so healthy about that situation? He is right, Israel doesn't have 'freedom of religion" like the US does so there aren't homosexual marriages and the state does not recognize intermarriages performed in Israel. So where is the situation better?

      Delete
    5. What a shocking thing to say. The State of Israel - if one truly believes that Hashem controls the world, enabled the Jewish People to Return Home. Many prophecies came true, in that the land lay fallow for millenia until the Children of Israel returned Home to Eretz Yisrael. So in essence, stating that chalilah, the State was established to destroy the Jew and make him not keep Torah and Mitzvot (Chalilah) is a False Blaming of Hashem that He allowed this. The entire establishment of the State of Israel, against all odds (see: Miracle), with a war won by a few thousand Jews, many Holocaust survivors and escapees from Arab Lands, with very little to fight other than their belief in the "cause" and in some cases, in G-d the G-d given right of the Jew to return Home. I am shocked, am saddened by the comment of Chaim Dovid. Please take a step back and think again. You can do Teshuvah.

      Delete
    6. To Y Ben-David
      My comment was a retort to Chaim Dovid not you.

      Delete
    7. Chaim Dovid's viewpoint is incredibly myopic. Even assuming for the sake of argument that he is correct (he's not) - that the State of Israel was founded to destroy Torah Judaism - clearly Hashem had other ideas. Today the vast majority of funding for yeshivot and their students comes from the State of Israel.
      If you need proof, consider Yosef's response to his brothers' apology and repentance, stated twice, in case you missed it: "You sought to do evil to me, but Hashem arranged your actions for the good."

      Delete
    8. Exactly as mb said in last comment "To Y Ben-David
      My comment was a retort to Chaim Dovid not you."

      Warren B.

      Delete
  9. I agree that a prayer should be said for the welfare of the IDF and for the State of Israel.

    "Third, I looked at the text of the prayer for the State, Avinu shebashamayim, and I couldn't see anything in it that was disagreeable (except perhaps for the phrase reshit tzmichat ge'ulateinu, which I couldn't be sure was true; but it certainly would be great to express it as a wish, and in any case it wasn't reason to discard the entire prayer)."

    However, relegating one of the main focal point of the Charedi Rosh Yeshivah to parentheticals rather than arguing with it on the merits weakens the legitimacy of the argument.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If that's their "main focal point," it's a smokescreen. They don't say it because they disapprove of Israel, period.

      Delete
  10. "Hanosen Teshua" for Israel:

    http://ahava-vachva.blogspot.co.il/2014/04/a-prayer-for-leaders-of-state-of-israel.html

    ReplyDelete
  11. Brooklyn Refugee SheygitzMay 4, 2014 at 7:52 PM

    The Singer siddur prayer was specifically written for the UK Jewish community and not intended for use in Israel

    There were other domestic Israeli versions of a prayer which were used - sometimes only once - before the official text was adopted.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think perhaps the falling away of "Hanosen teshuah" has to do with the fact that the American government is viewed as neutral, not a potential "enemy" and source of trouble as the governments in Europe were. Furthermore, there is very little little anti-Semitism and thus no reason to demonstrate to the rest of society how loyal we are.

    I personally don't like the prayer as I don't see why one must pray for the heads of government when one believes these leaders are leading the country in the wrong direction. I'd be okay for praying for the government as an institution or the state in the abstract, but I dislike the notion of praying for individuals when one believes these individuals are inflicting bad policies on the country.

    ReplyDelete
  13. our rabbi was pressured into sayi g the tefilla for ghe state of israel but he would only ever say 'barech et medinas erets yisroel' very quickly so no-ond would notice that he couldnt bring himself to say those evil and impure words 'medinat yisrael'.
    i wanted to smack him every time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What do you expect when a presumable Zionist shul employs a non-Zionist (charedi?) rabbi? Would it have made you feel better if he said 'medinat yisrael' when you knew it was entirely insincere?

      Delete
    2. What in the world does "medinas eretz yisroel" mean?

      Delete
  14. The reason most chareidim in america (afaik, most shuls in the uk, at least nusach ashkenaz, say hanosen teshua) stopped saying hanosen teshua is the same as yotzros. The minhagim were for the big shuls, the shtieblach and yeshivos were yotze from them. In the USA the shuls were forgotten replaced by yeshivos. The big American ashkenaz shuls with minhagim, such as young israel, say yotzros and hanosen teshua.
    If my memory does not trick me, I think i once davened in the hashkomo minyan in Munks in London on shabos chol hamoed pesach. They definitely did not say yotzros incl berach dodi, i am not 100% but i think they did not say hanosen teshua. They did lein shir hashirim from a kelaf with two brochos (which was the reason i chose to go there)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are correct that the Munks hashkomo minyan does not say yotzros, but they certainly do in the main shul, as they say hanosen teshua.

      I am an avid advocate of saying the prayer for the State of Israel, but I don't think that hanosen teshua is a good precedent, as it was always clear to me that this was recited in the big shuls as a sop to the authorities. This is supported by David Ohsie's excerpt from Jonathan Sarna.

      Delete
    2. groinem, I don't know of any "big shuls" in America that still say yotzros - certainly not Young Israels in the last 30-40 years! I was under the impression that if anyone still says them, it's the yeshivishe minyanim.

      (I do know that many big shuls still say hanosen teshua, though.)

      Delete
    3. I am not an expert, but I had to spend Rosh Hashono in an 'out-of-town' setting and the local minyan said much more yotzros than even Lakewood which in turn says more than the Mir-style yeshivos, which is still more than Israeli yeshivos. I suspect that almost everybody stopped saying the birkos kerias shema yotzros, excep die-hard yekkes and oiberlender yidden.
      My point about Munks was that it seems that they are all yotze with the main minyan, as did the yeshiva in town in der heim. In the transplant to the USA the big shul was forgotten

      Delete
  15. There is an enormous Anti-state of Israel propaganda driven by the haredi world. For any unbiased observer, the State of Israel is the greatest thing that happened to the Jewish people in the last millenium.
    Yet, the haredim make up tons of 'excuses' of why the state is the number 1 torah enemy.
    Just to name a few:
    - the beatiful anthem of our state becomes demonized because it contains the word "hofshi" - which in THEIR interpretation is there ONLY to express that we are free from torah. That´s a complete distortion of the text!
    - the state is SECULAR (which for them means anti-jewish). This is simply not true. First, there always were religious people in the government. Second, the life and society in Israel has a VERY strong jewish base: the calendar is jewish, the holidays, shabbat, marriage, kasher, the right for a jew to make alyiah, etc.....

    The real problem here is that the haredim are not ready for anything different from the past generation. So they live in Eretz Israel the same as if they were living in a shtaitel in Europe. We cannot build a country based on torah because the mishna berura doesnt talk about it!
    It´s really SAD! And the only way to get out of it is for them to take out pre conceived notions about how Hashem should run the world... (btw this is the most arrogant thing possible: to think that you know exactly how Hashem is going to bring the geula, and if he does it in a different way - of course he is wrong)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What's your name?

      (Ha ha ha...)

      Delete
    2. I was at a shiur just before Pesach when the Rav talked about the three different ways of saying freedom in the Tanach; they are חירות, דרור וחופיש. the best one for spiritual freedom is in fact חופיש.

      Delete
    3. Brooklyn Refugee SheygitzMay 5, 2014 at 12:09 PM

      correction: they live in E"Y (and sadly in the diaspora as well) the same as if they were living in a shtetl in Europe based on their perception of how the shtetl was (or how it should have been - in cases when they know it really wasn't that way). Let's be honest - in Poland, charedi Jews rode public transportation. and the trains and wagons were not gender segregated.
      The other night I was at a cousin's wedding. There were a few chassishe couples who were invited - a mix of relatives of one side and some work associates. Also some litvishe types. I could literally see the greater level of enjoyment these guests were having at the wedding by being together with their spouses at the table versus the teh situations at my chassidioshe cousins when everyone is in a separate room from their spouse and half their family. In the shtetl people sat with their wives at weddings.
      And...in the Shtetl 999 our of 1,000 Jews - including all the charedim - would have literally given their right hand to take that Jewish state sponsored free oen way ticket to have what we are blessed with having today. Literally.
      Unfortunately a lot of charedi propaganda spread over the years - which was meant as a means of control for the power brokers to control the flock - has now met up with a deep cognitive dissonance. It is only a matter of time before it explodes.

      Delete
    4. You can take it a step further- my wife likes to point out that the very same charedim who push for segregated buses (and sit in different sections on them) have no problem riding in, or sitting in the "wrong" part of, mixed buses, even those that travel through charedi neighborhoods. They pick which lines they can target and stick to those, proving that it's about power more than any aspect of Jewish law.

      Delete
  16. There are claims (i couldnt verify) that even under hitler, agudah shuls said hanoten tshuah. The best verification i got was a pareve type tfillah in an old yekkeh siddur my shul has.

    2. If rab shach said to say a tfillah for the us govt, instead of his resident israeli govt, does that mean he considers israel the 51st state? (Other objections --he is behaving like the arabs who dont consider israel their resident state. Also, borders on treason.)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Many Chabad shuls (not all) in Australia include the a prayer for the IDF and for Israel after leining but not everyone will consider Chabad hareidi.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I found this interesting article by Jonathan Sarna: http://www.brandeis.edu/hornstein/sarna/americanjewishcultureandscholarship/Archive/JewishPrayersfortheUnitedStatesGovernment.pdf

    It discusses the fact that this prayer, as one might imagine, may have sometimes been motivated more by practicality than sincerity. E.g. here are a couple of interesting portions:

    The practice of praying for the welfare of the sovereign was common not only in Antiquity but also in medieval Christendom and Islam. Jewish prayers nevertheless stand out as expressions of minority group insecurity. In one case, for example, Jews added to their prayers a special plea for "all of the Muslims who live in our country." Another Jewish prayer book contains a special blessing for the welfare of the Pope
    [...]
    The manifest language of Hanoten Teshu'ah bespeaks Jewish loyalty and faithful allegiance. It calls upon God to "bless, guard, protect, help, exalt, magnify and highly aggrandize [literally, "raise upward"] the king and the royal family, to grant them a long and prosperous rule, and to inspire them with benevolence "toward us and all Israel our brethren." At the same time, the prayer's esoteric meaning, presumably recognized only by an elite corps of well-educated worshipers, reveals much about the mentality of Diaspora Jews subjected to countless acts of discrimination under the dominion of foreign kings. The biblical verses quoted in the prayer conceal hints of spiritual resistance, a cultural strategy well-known among those determined to maintain their self-respect in the face of religious persecution. Thus, for example, the prayer begins with a verse modified from Ps 144: I 0: "You who give victory to kings, who rescue His servant David from the deadly sword." The next line of that psalm, not included in the prayer but revealing in terms of its hidden meaning reads, "Rescue me, save me from the hands of foreigners, whose mouths speak lies, and whose oaths are false." Barry Schwartz points out several more esoteric readings in the prayer, including lsa 43:16, which forms part of a chapter predicting the fall of Babylon; Jer 23:6, cited in the prayer's conclusion, that preaches the ingathering of the exiles and the restoration of the Davidic dynasty; and Isa 59:20 ("He shall come as redeemer to Zion"), which is preceded two verses earlier by a call for vengeance, a sentiment not found in our prayer but likely on the minds of some Jews who recited it. 10 Simultaneously, then, Jews prayed aloud for the welfare of the sovereign upon whom their security depended and read between the lines a more subversive message, a call for rescue, redemption, and revenge. 11 Based on past Diaspora experience, both messages were fully appropriate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would just like to add that Mr. Sarna's wife is a professor of piyutim or something like that somewhere.

      Delete
    2. I checked the source. Ms. Langer, the editor of his article, is in fact his wife. I don't know if she edited before he became his wife or afterwards.

      Delete
  19. What do you mean when you write that you say the tefila? In most shuls I have been in, only the gabbai or chazzan recites the tefilla.

    ReplyDelete
  20. All those willing to concede that "reishis tzmichus geulaseinu" is over the top - have no idea what "geulah" actually looks like.

    Redemption, "The days of Messiah" - these are incredibly fuzzy concepts. It is not addressed in the Torah at all. It is alluded to in passage of Nach, in which often we cannot be sure if the passage is referring to messianic times, or some near-future event. Even then the visions are cryptic.

    There is no one universally acknowledged description, but probably the closest is the statement (Shmuel's) that the only difference between contemporary times and messianic times is living under the yoke of other nations. With the founding of the state of Israel, that's exactly what we got, for the first time in 1900 years. That IS reishis tzmichus geulaseinu.

    That it's leaders aren't observant of all commandments, or that it receives foreign aid, is completely irrelevant. These facts were both true in both the first and second Temple periods. And to claim the "geulah" is incomplete because we don't have the Temple service is to admit that the Geulah concept is a fictitious Valhalla that we speak of, but don't truly believe will ever happen. (Unless preceded by a nuclear winter in which we all regress, Dark Ages style, a couple of thousand years, we are simply not reverting back to animal sacrifice, priestly-caste systems.)

    If Shmuel is right, then Israel indeed is reishis tzmichis geulseinu, and maybe more. Even in the "glory days" of David & Solomon - a tiny fraction of Jewish history - there were civil wars, heavy taxation, foreign influences, idol worship. Thus, to expect something greater than that is hopelessly naïve.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am always amazed by frum people (I assume your shomer Torah umitzvos) who reject the idea that the beis hamikdash will be rebuilt and the sacrifices reestablished. Why reject nearly half of the 613 mitzvos? Don't you believe that the Torah is timeless and don't you understand what that means? It means that all the mitzvos should be kept and God willing, will be kept given the opportunity. No Rishon disagrees with this. There is no Rishon of whom I am aware who rejects this. Everyone understands that there will be a third beis hamikdash with animal sacrifice. These are clear and straightforward prophecies. Do you reject the prophecies? How do you understand the chapters in Yechezkeil describing in great detail the structure and layout of the third beis hamikdash? How do you understand Yechezkeil's prophecies regarding the sacrifices that will be brought and the priestly caste that will be reinstated?

      Look at what the prophets said. Look at what Chazal said. Look at what the Rishonim wrote and reach an objective conclusion based on that, not on your own idea of what you think can or cannot happen. Btw, your comment regarding the only way it would be possible is after a nuclear winter and a reversion to the dark ages sounds eerily close to the words of the captain in the story of the 4 lepers (2 Melachim 7) who did not believe the prophecy that the price of food would drop drastically overnight. God has many ways through which to bring about change, even ways that are today unimaginable to us.

      Delete
    2. The point is not whether the current situation could be a step in the process of the ge'ula, but rather that (as Rabbi Emmanuel Feldman noted) it is presumptuous to inform God of that fact while supplicating Him. The assertion that it is the beginning of the ge'ula takes it as axiomatic that the state of Israel will be around from no until the complete ge'ula; we have no such guarantee. Additionally, the Rambam writes very clearly in the end of Hikkhot Melakhim that we have no idea how the ge'ula process will unfold, and only after mashiach comes will we be able to say in retrospect what was and was not part of the process. We may hope and pray that this state should turn out to have been reishit tzmichat ge'ulateinu, but we have no way of knowing this now.

      Delete
    3. MD Tokayer, don't be so amazed, huge numbers of thinking frum people think as I do. I acknowledge everything you said, including the fact that God has infinite means at His disposal. None of that changes a word I said.

      Look at it this way: if the Jewish people really wanted a return to sacrifices, it would have happened already. The Temple would have been up and running a long time ago. The return to Zion is a useful example. That was always a beloved ideal of the Jewish people (hence all the sporadic aliyah over the centuries) and so the dream never died. It just lay dormant for many years, until fully awakening at the end of the 19th century.

      Can anyone really say the same about the sacrificial rite? Of course not. A few cloistered scholars may have written books on Kodshim for that purpose, but it never really took hold. Even among the orthodox, few people study or care about kodshim. And that is exponentially true among the non-orthodox, the large majority of Jews. And all this is not even to mention the laws of purity, which we'd have to return to if the Temble were rebuilt. I've never heard anyone clamoring for that.

      So yeah, God can do anything. I already mentioned a nuclear winter possibility, God Forbid. He can also create a brainwashing machine, which, if it falls into the wrong hands, could be used to make everyone want it back. But we can only think like normal people. Unless you posit the impossible or highly improbable, its just. not. coming. back.

      Delete
    4. MDT said: "It means that all the mitzvos should be kept and God willing, will be kept given the opportunity."

      Pardon my ignorance and despite the fact that all traditionalists tend to believe in a future Byit 3, i'm curious to know where in the Torah or N'kh does it say that God commanded B''Y to build even the first Beit Hamikdosh, let alone the third. It seems to me it was Dovid's idea, to which God added his 2 cents.

      Delete
    5. DF: Regardless of what you think the Jewish people want or don't want, there is a divine plan which according to chazal culminates in geulah shleima, a third beis hamikdash with all that that implies.

      elemir: ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם is the source for the mitzva of building a beis hamikdash. See Yad, Hilchos Beis Habechira 1:1. Regarding the 3rd beis Hamikdash see Yechezkeil chapters 40-44.

      Delete
    6. I don't know what you mean by "chazal". As commonly used, it refers to anyone living in the period of rabbinic literature like shas and midrashim. That means thousands of named individuals, over a period of roughly 500-600 years (longer, if we include late midrashim) in two different countries under two completely different empires. If you think everyone within this enormous category was monolithic in thought, then you ought to do some rethinking.

      And even if there was such a thing as "chazal's" view on the messiah or geulah, who says we need adopt it? It falls within the category of scriptural interpretation, and on every page of the Mikraso Gedolos (just for one example) one finds interpretations completely at odds with chazal's.

      Delete
    7. Reb Moish Dovid said
      “ ועשו לי מקדש ושכנתי בתוכם is the source for the mitzva of building a beis hamikdash. “

      I’m fully aware of this limud. However WADR to all those use it, the limud is lame on several counts.
      a) the word “mikdosh” means “a sanctuary” NOT a “temple”, huge difference.
      b) The phrase is stated in the context of the “ohel Mo-ad”. If it really meant the Beit hamikdosh, the Torah should say so.
      c) and most significantly, since no one can deny the centrality, the importance, the holiness, etc. etc of the Beit Ham, it then seems illogical to me that the Torah would expend only so very little (5 words) to hint at the requirement to build a Temple.

      My humble opinion is that the Torah was more in line with what many Nevi-im held, NO elaborate Temple was truly desired by Hashem.

      Delete
  21. Even those shuls in Chutz La'aretz and that don't say הנותן תשועה do still make mention, in the רבונו של עולם after שלש עשרי מדות before leyning on Rosh Hashono and Yom Kippur:

    ותן בלב מלכות ויועציו ושריו עלינו לטובה

    I wonder if non- or anti-Zionists in Israel say this, and if so, who they mean?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Rav Yoel Bin-Nun wrote a book recenlty discussing what "geulah" is. The book was written in response to those who fell into despair after Gush Katif was destroyed and who were thinking that maybe the whole thing is unravelling and that this isn't the Geulah. It also deals with the claim of many Haredim that this can't be the Geulah because, as DF pointed out, the state was set up and is run largely by secular people. R. Bin-Nun clearly shows that Geulah comes in stages, as in indicated in the famous "Dayenu" song sung at the Pesah Seder. It was 480 years from the time of the Exodus until the climax of Geulah came with the formation of the united Monarchy and the building of the Beit HaMikdash by Shlomo HaMelech. In the preceding period of the 40 years in the Midbar, the conquest by Yehoshua and the period of the Shoftim (Judges) there were many, many setbacks. During the time of Shimshon, the whole Am Israel was under the thumb of the Plishtim and we had completely lost our national independence. Regarding the claim that the Geulah can only be brought by religious Jews, it is important to keep in mind that during the Shivat Tzion period in the early Second Temple Period, much ofthe leadership was not religious and was intermarried with non-Jewish women. Rav Teichtal (may G-d avenge his blood!) deals with this claim at length in his masterful book "Em HaBanim Semaicha". The main thing is not to despair....there is a Plan and we have to keep our eye on the target and do what we can to bring the final Geulah Sheleima.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A point very well made, YBD.
      It is as if they have never read na"ch and imagine that the entire population of the ancient Jewish Commonwealths kept all the mitzvot

      Delete
    2. Indeed, many Haredim have never read Na''ch! It was one of the things that was "possessed" by the Zionists, and as such, the Haredim in a sense have "disavowed" it, in a similar way to the State of Israel.

      Delete
  23. If given the choice between an Israel that Haredim want to daven for, and one that they abhore, I choose the later.

    Don't the haredim pray for Beit Shemesh, where 8 year old girls walking to school get spit on?

    ReplyDelete
  24. Cant speak for the rest of the world, but very few "large" shuls in US say hanoten tshuah (including young israels, whixh was specifically named.)

    The exception interestingly, is the shabbat after (?on?) Inaugaration day ( = jan 20th) and during wartime (gulf wars, afghan war) (dont believe during vietnam war)

    ReplyDelete
  25. הנותן תשועה is said in Europe as well. Also, I do not remember where I read it, but Chief Rabbi Brodie also believed Israel to be ראשית צמיחת גאולתינו but did not put in the prayer as he thought it self-evident.
    See http://www.schechter.edu/insightIsrael.aspx?ID=35

    ReplyDelete
  26. David Moshe Tokayer,
    As a Torah observant Jew, I can easily imagine a future without the renewal of animal sacrifices. I don't know why it's so hard to understand: sacrifices were commanded at the time when they were universally practiced. It's true that in his halachic works, Rambam assumes the renewal of sacrifices. But it's equally true that in other places, he quite clearly states that sacrifices are not the ideal way to worship, but were only a concession to the people of the time. Now that the Jewish people hav been worshipping for 2,000 years without slaughtering goats & bulls, why on Earth do you think we'd ever go back?
    As far as the Torah being timeless - do you imagine we will re-institute slavery, polygamy, & other ancient practices?
    (And Yechezkiel's prophesies are clearly for the second Temple; there is no reason to think he had a third one in mind)

    Ezra

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. what's wrong with polygamy or slavery (as defined by the torah)? the idea that you find these things offensive, indicates a deep seated acceptance of non jewish values. incidentally, both polygamy and slavery are practiced today (as opposed to animal sacrifice, which isn't). there are actually jews, particularly among the yemenites, that have more than one wife. even among ashkenazim, there are those who have obtained a heter maya rabonim and have more than one wife. likewise, if a non jew would choose to allow themselves to adopt the status of a slave to a jew, all of the laws of eved canani would be in force. despite the widely misunderstood rambam in moreh nevuchim, it is clear that the rambam himself, and certainly all other commentaries assumed that that animal sacrifice will be reinstituted when the bet hamikdash is rebuilt.
      the prophesies of yechezkel regarding a future bet hamikdash could not have been referring to the second bet hamikdash, as they were not fulfilled at that time (neither regarding size nor many other details), unless you want to argue that yechezkel was a false prophet.
      it is way too simplistic to argue that (as people sometimes misunderstand the rambam in moreh) animal sacrifice was "merely a concession to a widespread practice", as hashem had no difficulty forbidding lots of other things that where widespread practices, so there is no reason that he had to institute this just to accommodate the people.

      Delete
    2. >>> the idea that you find these things offensive, indicates a deep seated acceptance of non jewish values.

      WRT “non-jewish values” …One of the reasons I abandoned my charedei upbringing is because of the many disingenuous things that were propagated. And the belief that the surrounding societies had NO effect on Jewish values and laws over time was one of them. Anybody reading Jewish history can see that this is simply NOT true.

      One example is the Temple. The whole idea of building a Beit Hamikdosh (by King David) was likely influenced by the fact that all surrounding religions had beautiful temples for their gods.

      >>> what's wrong with polygamy.

      I take it you’re not married and if you are, I feel sorry for your wife.

      >>> or slavery

      The idea that one human being can OWN another is simply repugnant to most people, irrespective of the source of this repugnancy.

      BTW, Read Yirmiyahu. See how he tried to eradicate (Jewish) slavery, but failed.

      Delete
    3. Yechezkeil's prophecies are obviously NOT for the second temple because they were not fulfilled with the second temple. Regarding the reestablishment of the sacrifices, the sacrifices are mitzvos an the mitzvos are timeless. When given the opportunity we are required to fulfill them. The punishment for not fulfilling the mitzva of korban pesach for example is koreis. Isn't it obvious that given the opportunity, we are required to keep this mitzva just as much as putting on tefillin or saying krias shema or taking 4 minim on succos? We are not required to have slaves and more than one wife.

      Delete
    4. This is not so related to R. Tokayer's comment--I saw a statistic in the periodical "Zman", that presently 43% of world Jewry is located in Eretz Yisrael. I understand that (according to the Rambam at least) if the majority of Jews are located in Israel, then the agricultural mitzvos must be performed min haTorah--shmitta, yovel, terumos, etc. (presently they're observed only miderabbanan). I don't think we'll pass 50% by Rosh HaShanah 5775, but it's conceivable that by the next shmittah we'll be obligated to keep the agricultural laws (as well as the Shmittah year annuling our debts) min HaTorah.

      Delete
  27. Are you not bothered by the opening words, "Our Father who art in Heaven..."? I am the gabbai of my minyan where I recite the tefilla mumbling over the first two words, becoming articulate with " tzur yisrael v'goalo" because I cannot comfortably begin the tefilla that way. I suppose there is some literature about this formulation, but it just puzzles me, and I would have thought others would be similarly uncomfortable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it because a famous Christian prayer begins with this formula?
      Here's an example of its appearance in Yerushalmi Sotah (found on "snunit")::
      דף מז, א פרק ט הלכה טז משנה: נערים פני זקנים ילבינו זקנים יעמדו מפני קטנים בן מנוול אב בת קמה באמה כלה בחמותה אויבי איש אנשי ביתו פני הדור כפני הכלב הבן אינו מתבייש מאביו ועל מה יש לנו להשען על אבינו שבשמים

      Delete
    2. Yes, because of the Christian prayer.

      Delete
    3. Since we see that this phrase appears in the Gemara, I don't see why this is a problem. The Christian scriptures are full of borrowings from Jewish texts and phraseology.

      Delete
    4. Virtually every line in the Pater Noster comes from Jewish sources. I think there's one that doesn't (at least explicitely), and this isn't it.

      Delete
  28. I'm not sure I understand your concerns? Is it because it sounds anthropomorphic or because it implies a spacial limitation on God?

    In any event, I can't see the problem?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I mean specifically as the opening words of the tefilla, since it is the "Pater Noster" ("Our Father...") which is too well known to be disregarded. In general, when composing a tefilla, whether personal or communal, and you want to address Hashem, you would tend to latch on to some familiar expression rather than produce your own novel one, and this one that we use is taken from christian worship, rather than from our tefillos, so it just grates on me every week. On the other hand, I may be ignorant of Jewish tefillos that begin this way.

      Delete
    2. I'm guessing that there's a hidden subtext in the use of this phrase. Since it is best known (I think) in traditional sources in the phrase, "We have no one to rely upon except for our Father in Heaven--אין לנו על מי להשען אלא אבינו שבשמים--the use of this phrase at the beginning of this tefillah may signal a disagreement with a secular Zionist viewpoint that we rely on ourselves. But I don't really know that this was the intent.

      Delete
    3. Every Monday and Thursday (Ashkenazim) and Shabbat Mevorchim (Sefardim) we say
      יהי רצון מלפני אבינו שבשמיים וכו

      So this phrase is found in our tefillot and it is not an anomaly for it to be in the tefillah l'shlom ha'medinah

      Delete
  29. I have an old Hebrew Publishing Co. siddur with its own prayer for the USA that spells out the names of William Howard Taft and his Vice President in Yiddish.

    ReplyDelete
  30. A Reader,
    From your comments, I think we're too far apart to have a meaningful dialogue, but I'll it put it out once:
    I do, in fact, think that my postion on animal sacrifice, polygamy, slavery, etc. are consistent with Jewish values. Yirmiyahu, Yeshayhu, Micha, Tehillim, all preserve a tradition that belittles the value of sacrifices. "The offering to the Lord is a broken heart" (Psalms; I think chapter 51) That is really the goal.

    Ironically, the progressive values that you deride as "non-Jewish", - I actually think were brought into the world by the Torah. The unique dignity of every human being - which the Torah expresses by teaching that every human is created "b'tselem Elokim" - this is the very teaching which spread to the world, & manifests itself in an abhorrence of slavery, justice for the stranger, etc. The Torah's values have been slowly spreading for 3,000 years. How odd that some people want to go backwards!

    Ezra
    How strange that you think a

    ReplyDelete
  31. Notwithstanding the non specific rambam (not even quoted above) the definitely says there will be karbanei tzibur ( = sacrifices for public requirements) such as tamid and holiday sacrifices in the third bet hamikdash.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Its a shame the composers of this prayer could not replace Medinat Yisrael Reshit Tzimchat Geulatenu with Eretz Yisrael.

    Then it would be a perfectly acceptable Tefillah for Jews of all types, even Chareidim, to recite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Come on. You know as well as I do that they still wouldn't say it.

      Delete
  33. What does one make of the views of Maran Rav Ovadia on this subject

    The following is a combination of two articles which YWN published in the past:
    In 2012, YWN reported that Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef ZATZAL announced after shachris on Independence Day, that if one wishes to honor the day one should immerse oneself in Torah study “for Torah protects us from those wishing to harm us”.
    Rav Ovadia added that Baruch Hashem today, the center of Torah study is in Eretz Yisrael, where there is simply more Yiras Shomayim, and more baalei tshuva.
    There are batei medrashim that hold a “Yom Shekulo Torah” today, on Independence Day.

    In 2010, YWN reported that Maran HaGaon HaRav Ovadia Yosef ZATZAL announced that one is permitted to recite Hallel on Independence Day without a bracha. Rav Ovadia adds it is preferable to push off the recitation of Hallel until completing the davening, since one should not insert tefillos into the prescribed text.
    He explaied that gedolim have voiced various opinions regarding the recitation of Hallel, since Chazal did not insert it into the tefilla for this day we are not accustomed to do so but one cannot discard the miracles resulting in the establishment of the country and the ability of Jews to return to their Homeland.
    (YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

    ReplyDelete

Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.