Thursday, April 15, 2021

Zionism Looked Like A Unicorn

"If you will it, it is no dream." Such is the phrase attributed to Theodore Herzl. In fact, the original German phrase was "Wenn ihr wollt, ist es kein Märchen" (Altneuland 1902). The word Märchen refers to a fairy-tale or legend, and this is reflected in the Hebrew version of this phrase, אם תרצו אין זו אגדה. When Herzl conceived of a Jewish country, it doubtless appeared to everyone as a complete fantasy.

The problem with fantasy becoming reality is that once the reality becomes established, it becomes difficult to remember how fantastical it initially appeared. If you were to go back in time a little over a year and tell your old self that the summer of 2020 would have more El-Al flights to Dubai than to the United States and that there would be a man wearing a horned helmet and fur skins standing at the podium of the US Capitol, your old self simply wouldn't believe it.

But even those bizarre events would have been more believable than the Jewish People creating a new country in their ancient homeland! It's only because Israel has been around for 73 years that we take it for granted. From perspective of Jews living in 19th century Europe, it must have seemed as fantastical as a unicorn. 

And from the perspective of Jews who lived through the Holocaust, when they would have believed that it was the end of the Jewish People, it was unimaginable. It is said that when Rabbi Kahneman overheard one of the rabbonim in the Ponevezh yeshiva make a nasty comment about the State of Israel, he called him in to his office and told him that only a person who hasn't smelled the air over Auschwitz could be disparaging of the State of Israel. And despite his chareidi opposition to Zionism, he insisted that Ponovezh fly the flag on Independence Day.

The return of the Jewish People to their ancient homeland, creating a sovereign nation, is one of the greatest miracles of history. To quote a certain US president:

“More than 3,000 years ago, the Jewish people lived here, tended the land here, prayed to God here. And after centuries of exile and persecution, unparalleled in the history of man, the founding of the Jewish State of Israel was a rebirth, a redemption unlike any in history.”

Happy Yom Ha-Atzmaut - and may everyone merit to appreciate the miracle that is the State of Israel! 

74 comments:

  1. Speaking of Rav Kahaneman he furthermore did not say Tachanun on Yom HaAtzma'ut.

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  2. Despite whatever you said, facts won't change. The founders of the state of Israel and of zionism were mostly atheists who hated Judaism feircly. Ben gurion ymsh despised Judaism. A biographer of his said he never met a man that hated Judiasm more.

    The sad reality is that homosexuals are allowed in Israel while it is outlawed in many Middle Eastern countries. The Torah outlaws it you know.

    In Israel slaying unborn but living babies is allowed. Murder! Not so dissimilar to Egyptians killing babies in the Torah.

    The founders of Israel actively prevented a deal with the nazis that would have saved 800,000 jews from the crematorium!

    There isn't the slightest question that many of the founders are in gehenim.

    The reality is, whether it makes you feel good or not, that the creation of the state of Israel is a sad chapter in the history of the Jewish people.

    When moshiach finally comes the world will see what truth really is.

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    1. You really need to learn both a little history and a little Judaism.

      The founders of Zionism didn't hate Judaism fiercely. Many were in fact rabbanim. Herzl had very warm feelings toward Judaism. Ben Gurion wrote a perush on the Torah and said that his dream was that every IDF soldier would carry tefillin on his equipment belt alongside his canteen and gun.

      You know that most western countries allow homosexual marriage. Where do you live?

      You have no idea how Israel handles abortion, I'm guessing.

      You really don't want to start pointing fingers as to who messed up more during the Holocaust.

      You have no idea who's in gehinom and who's not.

      No founder of the State of Israel was nearly as great a rasha as many of the kings of both Yehuda and Yisrael. Not a single one of them worshipped avoda zara, for example. And yet you know, or should, what Chazal say about many of those kings. Not just Chazal: Look up, for example, what the navi has to say about Yeravan HaSheni.

      Although I might be a bit too optimistic that you know that there ever *was* a Yeravam HaSheni.

      The creation of the State of Israel is one of the greatest chapters in world history.

      When Mashiach comes you'll probably find a reason to passel him.

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    2. You're a foolish, juvenile, simplistic, hate mongering,kool-aid drinking moron.
      And you're wrong too.
      And you're judgement is abysmal.
      You're actually worse than that but I doubt Rabbi Slifkin would let me call you what you really deserve on his blog.

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    3. "The founders of the state of Israel and of zionism were mostly atheists who hated Judaism feircly."

      Um, so what? The Master of Universe chooses what instruments He will to shepherd His people back to the land he promised us. Did He consult you as to how He should go about it?

      "The sad reality is that homosexuals are allowed in Israel while it is outlawed in many Middle Eastern countries. The Torah outlaws it you know."

      Yes, you nailed it, the modern State of Israel is not an Islamic-style Middle Eastern theocracy like Iran or Saudi Arabia. And in your mind, that is... a bad thing? Incidentally, the Torah does not "outlaw" homosexuals--or even "homosexuality", as we understand the concept in modern times--but rather proscribes certain sexual behaviors. It is worth making the effort to understand the distinction.

      "In Israel slaying unborn but living babies is allowed."

      What are you, an Evangelical Christian? The legitimate halachic approach to abortion is far more nuanced than crying "murder!" like one of these abortion-obsessed fundamentalists in the US.

      Like all believing Jews, I share your longing for the coming of Mashiach Tzidkeinu, but I would point out that he will be a descendant of the Malchei Yehudah, many of whom were sinners and idolaters (not unlike the founders of the State of Israel, it might be said).

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    4. Come on Nachum. You are wheeling out the old arguments we argued about in High School decades ago. When a novi turns up and tells us to respect Shulamit Aloni and 'one cow in Palestine is worth all the Jews of Poland' types, we can have a serious conversation.

      What were Herzl's'warm feelings towards Judaism' by the way? Enjoying a falafel? Watching Fiddler on the Roof?

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    5. Why don't you read the accounts of Herzl's visit to Vilna? Of his experiences with Rabbi Cohn of Basel?

      If you think Israel and Zionism can be reduced to the points you made, you have a lot of learning to do.

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    6. Nochum,

      I think you need to learn some history and facts. Many of the Zionist founders were atheist. Many of them hated Judaism. Its reality.

      I know that many western countries allow homosexual marriages. Therefore? Last I checked the Torah outlaws it in very strong terms. A legitimate Torah Jew can not possibly consider the State of Israel to be a one of the great moments in Jewish history when the government permits that which the Torah openly and forcibly prohibits.

      Why do you say I have no idea about how Israel handles abortion? I can search online. Here are a few pertinent lines from Wikipedia. Feel free to disprove them.

      “Abortion in Israel is permitted when determined by a termination committee, with the vast majority of cases being approved as of 2019”

      “It was reported in 2012 that about half of all abortions in Israel were performed in private clinics, i.e., without committee approval.”

      “About 20,000 abortions take place in Israel every year..”

      Oh, and in most cases the abortion was not due to a health risk. Do some reading.

      About the Holocaust, please read Ben Hecht’s book Perfidy. Do you know about the Kastner trials? If you really knew what happened, your hair would stand up.

      The leaders of the State of Israel actively prevented any agreements with the Nazis when it came to their Blood for Goods or Blood for Trucks deals that could have saved almost a millions Jews. Read about Joel Brand. These people are all in gehenim.

      As to your point regarding the kings of Yehuda and Yisrael, it is the exact opposite. The leaders today are much worse than Yeravam. Yeravam did not allow real idol worship (such as Baal). The three cardinal sins were all prohibited, unlike in the State of Israel.

      Even Achav who did introduce idol worship due to his wife Ezevel was much better than the leaders of today. Achav kept Shabbos and ate kosher.

      We need Moshiach to set the score straight.

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    7. First, my name is Nachum, thank you very much. If you knew your Tanach (and you clearly don't, based on the other nonsense you posted here), you'd know the name has a patach in any event, not that that really matters. That ain't a cholam.

      But I don't have to respond to your fever fantasies of how bad Israel is. Instead, as you mentioned Perfidy, which I probably know better than you (not to mention a whole bunch of other works by Hecht- I imagine you can't even tell me who he was), I'll tell you a story about that book.

      I was told to read it by a few people but encountered it for the first time on an NCSY shabbaton. I devoured it, eventually got my own copy, and can probably recite it from memory. But when I was first reading it, one of the advisors saw me. "Oh, Perfidy," he said. "Good book. But make sure none of the [non-Orthodox] kids read it." Why? "Because you have to love Israel before you can hate it."

      Apparently you, and many others, never learned to love Israel before you started to hate it. That makes it all the sadder for you. Beyond that, I can't help you.

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    8. re: Ben Hecht:
      Deborah Lipstadt of Emory University says, "It is an amazing piece of writing, it's very passionate. It's not historical ... The problem is lots of the information in it is, is wrong!" She mentions Hecht's involvement with the Bergson boys and says, "much of what he's writing is Kastner as a foil for attacking Ben Gurion, for attacking the Labor Party, and he makes claims in there about the Labor Party, about Ben Gurion, not caring about what was going on in Europe, which is, again, historians now show, has simply not stood the test of time."[6]

      First thing you can tell about crazy people with crazy ideas (talking about you here Nachum) is that their sources are always bad). it's one of the give-aways that you are talking about a nutcase.
      Im not opening this to debate with you. I'm just writing to help other readers of this blog spot idiots in the future.

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    9. Sorry, when I wrote 'Nachum' in my last post I meant to write "Ezra",

      Apologies to Nachum for that error.

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    10. Incidentally, it's "Yarovam" (kamatz katan under the reish), and "mashiach" (regular kamatz gadol under the mem)...

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    11. Perhaps (likely?) no one cares about this but me, but why is it that even knowledgeable frum people mispronounce/transliterate the dude's name as "Yeravam" rather than the correct way: "Yarovam"?

      Even if you are employing the common, imprecise Ashkenazi transliteration scheme (that does not distinguish between kamatz and cholam, and ignores kamatz katan completely), the name would be rendered "Yorovom" (kamatz under yud, reish, and ayin), but "Yeravam" is right out...

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    12. Nachum,

      Dikduk aside, and excuse me for being harsh, but your arguments are laughable. I can’t respond without sounding harsh.

      So you read the book. And you know it better than me.
      We must then agree that the Zionists actively undermined the effort to save Jews during the Holocaust. Not only did they ignore, they were very active in stopping any negotiations.

      Please don’t bring me proofs otherwise, from Zionists who obviously would like the whole thing to disappear. The Kastner trials exposed it to the masses.

      Eichmann was willing to release 100,000 Jews for every 1000 trucks!

      Joel Brand figured that the Jewish Agency would help.

      (The Jewish Agency was set up by Zionists to save Jews from the Nazis. Headed by Gruenbaum who said “one cow in Palestine is worth all the Jews of Poland”. His son Eliezer was trained well. He was a kapo who murdered thousands of Jews. He hated Judaism fiercely. I read that Holocaust survivors eventually managed to kill him.)

      The Jewish Agency tricked him that Chaim Weizmann would meet him but instead managed to get him locked up by the British.

      Are there worse people than the gruenbaums and ben gurion and weizmann and other powerful leaders and dreamers and founders of the State of Israel who worked to prevent Jews from being saved from the ovens?

      Are there worst people than Kastner who tricked the Jews of Hungry that they wouldn’t be deported so none would flee before getting shipped off to the crematoriums?

      The facts are that it was the Orthodox Jews (R. Weissmandel, the Vaad Hatzalah) that managed to save some Jews. The non-orthodox were not interested at best.

      And what is your answer, Nachum. One of the advisors at an NCSY Shabbaton said "Oh, Perfidy, good book. But make sure none of the [non-Orthodox] kids read it…. because you have to love Israel before you can hate it."

      I have no problem disagreeing with that advisor. Who is he exactly? But even if he is right, you seem to agree that after loving The State of Israel one must hate it for aiding the Nazis to kill Jews.

      So why are you so mad at me? I am simply speaking the truth. The state of Israel is not one of the greatest things that happened to the Jewish people. The very fact that criminals who aided in the murder of our ancestors brought it into existence should be enough to make us not want to be part of it at all.

      If anything, the opposite is true. We should fill orthodox and non-orthodox kids with a love for Torah and Mitzvos and Eretz Yisrael. But we should warn them about the dangers and evils of the secular State of Israel.

      The land of Israel is not the same things as the political State of Israel. The distinction is extremely important.

      Never forget that hell is real. In Gehenim justice is served. The Nazis are being tortured right now. The Jews who prevented deals with Eichmann are being tortured right now.

      We ought to work on the Emunah that Hashem rewards and punishes. If you don’t believe in hell you aren’t part of the Jewish people as per Rambams list of thirteen fundamentals.

      Hitler didn’t escape punishment when he died nor did all the rest of them. That's when the real punishment started.

      The state was founded by extreme haters of Judaism and killers of the Jewish people. Its historical fact.

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    13. Here's a calmer answer than I first gave: You really have no idea. In fact, I strongly suspect you've never even been to Israel, and have no idea what it really is.

      Hecht was one of the most fervent Zionists ever. Menachem Begin spoke at his funeral, for Heaven's sake. In Perfidy itself he says that his problem is with the *government* of Israel, not the State itself. But the simple-minded and the haters can't make that distinction.

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    14. It's worth noting that nobody actually takes "Perfidy" (or Ben Hecht) seriously anymore.

      It is one of those books (like Joan Peters's execrable "From Time Immemorial") that garnered a following (among those of a certain ideological persuasion) for maybe 10 years after its publication, until everyone (including partisans like Deborah Lipstadt) realized it is yellow journalism and garbage scholarship.

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    15. Ezra,

      Why is it so important to you that the State was founded by sinners and atheists? As Nachum (and I) pointed out above, for the majority of the monarchies of Yisrael and Yehudah (from whom, again, mashiach will descend), the Jewish "state" was ruled by sinners and idolaters.

      Regardless of who "founded" the modern State of Israel, it remains a place in which we frum Jews are able to serve in gov't, influence public policy, and practice yiddishkeit proudly and unapologetically--none of which would be true if it were ruled by any of the other autocratic Islamist powers in the region.

      I don't think anyone argues that the State of Israel as presently constituted reflects the messianic ideal, but it is a heck of a good start.

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    16. Incidentally, the Rambam's 13 ikarim do not say anything about "hell". In fact, in his discussion of Perek Chelek (where he enumerates his ikarim) he argues explicitly that depictions of "Gehenom" by Chazal were allegorical/figurative (designed to stimulate--some might say, scare--the simple to mitzvah observance).

      This is not to say that divine judgment and punishment (which are, of course, elements of Rambam's ikarim) do not exist, only that that conventional conceptions of hell (often influenced by Christian theology and art, by the way) as a place of torture and torment are childish at best.

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    17. JC,

      It's not exactly flattering or helpful to your cause to compare the modern State of Israel to the kings who were sinners and idolaters, such as Menashe. In fact, if you wanted to support the Satmar/Neturei Karta perspective, you couldn't have thought of a better comparison.

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    18. Well said on the Rambam, J.C.

      I would add one point to yours about Israel: I don't share Ezra's uniformly negative view of the State of Israel. (And heck, I *like* Hecht.) But even assuming it was true of them...so what? There are seven million Jews living in Israel today, a majority, or nearly so, of world Jewry. It's a simple fact. Who cares what Chaim Weizmann may or may not have done during the Holocaust? Do you support the continued existence of seven million Jews or not, all other factors aside?

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    19. @Just Curious, "I don't think anyone argues that the State of Israel as presently constituted reflects the messianic ideal..."

      Ask Nachum if he agrees on that.

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    20. @***********
      You wrote "What were Herzl's'warm feelings towards Judaism' by the way? Enjoying a falafel? Watching Fiddler on the Roof?"

      Are you serious? The guy devoted his life to founding a state for the Jews. Do you think he did that because of his deep indifference to Judaism?
      Sometimes frum Jews are so one-dimensional in the way they understand what it means to be Jewish.

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    21. Happygowhatever,

      If you think my pointing out the "rishus" of the rulers of the original Jewish state(s) is not "flattering or helpful" to my cause, then I'm afraid you misunderstand my cause. 

      Ezra (above) seems intractably preoccupied by the fact that "The founders of the state of Israel and of zionism" were not perfectly righteous, and thus the fact of their "freiheit" somehow makes the modern State of Israel illegitimate and irredeemable.

      My point is that, even in the best of past circumstances our rulers were often the vilest of sinners, but we still enjoyed the great blessing of being a "free people in our own land" (to quote a certain anthem), then as now.

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    22. Additionally, I don't know about Neturei Karta, but per my understanding of Satmar ideology (as articulated by their rebbe in his "Vayoel Moshe"), their opposition to State of Israel stems from their interpretation of the aggadah of the "Gimel Shevuot" (an aggadic midrash that, of course, no other branch of Judaism considers halachically binding).

      So, by that logic, I don't think it would matter to them at all whether the rulers/leaders/founders of a modern (non-messianic) Jewish state were wicked or perfectly righteous. But that does not seem to be the same argument that Ezra is making above.

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    23. Anonymous,

      I will ask Nachum directly:

      Nachum, do you think that the existence of the modern State of Israel means that out long-awaited mashiach has already come, or that the modern State of Israel might best be described as "reishit tz'michat ge'ulateinu"?

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    24. Nachum,

      This one is for the books. You maintain that it makes no difference that the founders of the state of Israel prevented eight hundred thousand Jews from escaping the ovens because now there are millions living in Israel.

      You are out of your mind.

      Hoping for the continued existence of seven million Jews does not equate to feeling that the founding of the state was a wonderful thing.

      It can equate to hoping that the Israeli government succeeds at protecting its residents. It does not mean that the founding of the political state was a wonderful thing.

      These are two separate issues and obviously distinct to anyone without a Zionist agenda.


      Delete
    25. I don't know what it means to "agree on" something.

      Depends on how you define "ideal." According to most definitions, of course not, but you'd be surprised if you read some actual sources.

      But hey, there's never been an ideal. We live with what we have. Do you have a problem with that?

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    26. Happy, you know the famous story in ghd Gemara about Menashe, right?

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    27. Just Curious,

      Back in YU I was lucky enough to take a course in Jewish Eschatology with my rebbe, the late R' Yisrael Wohlgelernter zt"l. It's certainly an eye-opener. To put it simply, there is absolutely no consensus on what "Mashiach" means, apart from, perhaps, at best some bare basics. Indeed, the Rambam stresses that *no one knows* what will happen.

      You know what probably *won't* happen? A man on a white donkey preferably a Litvish rosh yeshiva or a Chassidish rebbe, riding through an open Sha'ar HaRachamim blowing a shofar and poof. That's modern charedi fantasy, probably heavily influenced by Christianity.

      Are we at an end stage yet? Of course not, not that I have any real idea what an "end stage" would be. (I have my preferences, but realize that they're mine.) I have no idea whether arrival at said end stage will be obvious, or at least immediately obvious.

      Are we in "reishit tzmichat geulatainu"? Certainly, if we (hopefully) merit it. I think that anyone who believes in the Hand of God must believe that. Of course many, even many who wear black hats, don't.

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    28. Ezra-ironically-named:

      You do realize that in order for the State to *exist* it had to be founded, right? And it does exist, and it was founded. I'm sorry it didn't happen exactly the way you'd like. But it was. And treating these as "two separate things" is a logical impossibility.

      Does it matter that the founders may or may not have messed up, or worse, when it came to the Holocaust? Of course, everything matters in some way. Here are some other things that matter:

      -It matters that Shaul killed the kohanim of Nov.

      -It matters that David had Uziah killed.

      -It matters that Shlomo (in one way or another) worshipped Avoda Zara. (No founder of the the modern State of Israel worshipped Avoda Zara.)

      -It matters that the Chashmonaim eventually turned out to be horrible rulers. (The State of Israel has actually gotten better as it's gone along.)

      -It matters that Herod was a murdering psychopath. (He was much more evil than any founder of Zionism.)

      -And, specifically here, it matters that the leadership of the Lithuanian yeshiva world told their followers not to go to America or Israel, and that the Lubavitcher Rebbe was more concerned with his books than with saving lives, and that the Satmar Rebbe snuck out of Hungary and told his followers to stay put and then showed no hakarat hatov to the Zionists who saved him or regret to his chassidim, or that the Belzer Rebbe straight-out lied to his chassidim about why he was fleeing and then continued to cover it up afterwards.

      But I'll tell you what that doesn't affect:

      -That Shaul founded the Kingdom of Israel.

      -That we read Tehillim written by David every day.

      -That Shlomo built the Beit HaMikdash, and that he and David are ancestors of Mashiach.

      -That the Chashmonaim restored the Jewish kingdom, and that Herod rebuilt the Mikdash, and that together, as the Rambam says, they led an independent Jewish state for over two hundred years. Seriously, look it up: It's at the end of the Rambam's introduction to Hilchot Chanukah. The Rambam wasn't an ignoramus; he knew full well the faults of the Chashmonaim and of Herod, and yet he still mentions those two centuries as a net positive. Imagine that.

      -I'm not going to defend those in the last category, especially as the perfection and infallibility of the "gedolim" is at the basis of charedism. But if some charedi wants to concede those faults and yet defend those individuals on other grounds, I will be receptive.


      By the way, my family who was killed in the Holocaust wasn't killed because of Zionism. They were killed because of the Germans and their allies, and at most from a *lack* of Zionism. How the blame shifts is perverse.

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    29. That Rambam is just saying that the the Malchus Yisrael was a net positive because it was better than the Greek oppressors who preceded it, that's the context. It would be like saying that the Zionists were better than the Nazis, which I think even Neturei Kartaniks would agree with.

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    30. Nachum,

      That is fascinating. You raise a really interesting point: do Chasidim (who obviously have only been around since the 1700s) believe that mashiach (whose coming has been anticipated, more or less, since the Second Temple period) is going to be a Chasid (of their particular rebbe or sect)??

      happygolucky,

      Um, have you ever actually listened the Neturei Karta? Heck, Ezra fairly explicitly equated "the Zionists" with Nazis above: "The Nazis are being tortured right now. The Jews who prevented deals with Eichmann are being tortured right now."

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    31. Happy, the Rambam says no such thing. He doesn't even *imply* such a thing. Indeed, he states the exact opposite:

      וגברו בני חשמונאי הכוהנים הגדולים, והרגום והושיעו ישראל מידם; והעמידו מלך מן הכוהנים, וחזרה מלכות לישראל יתר על מאתיים שנה--עד החורבן השני.

      The Rambam is very, very careful about what he writes. Note that he says that they were saved from the Greeks *and* restored sovereignty (and under a kohen king, no less- something that is in fact assur!). It's right there that he thinks that sovereignty- any sort- is a net good, no matter what preceded it.

      So either you didn't bother reading the Rambam and made something up, or you *did* read the Rambam and chose to ignore the plain meaning to fit your notions. I can't decide which is worse.

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    32. Just Curious, what's so surprising? Chabad openly thinks their Rebbe is (present tense) Mashiach.

      When I was growing up I was greatly influenced by a prominent rav who's about as anti-chassidut as they come. When Chabad was getting very vocal, I remember him saying, "Well, sure they think their Rebbe is Mashiach. But let's be honest, *every* Chassidic group thinks their rebbe is Mashiach. After all, if your rebbe is the greatest Jew alive, then who *else* could be Mashiach? They're just not as open about it as Chabad is."

      (Indeed, a good question to ask messianic Chabadniks is, if Mashiach can have died, why davka the Seventh Rebbe would be Mashiach and not, say, the Sixth, or the First, or the Baal Shem Tov, or David HaMelech himself, or Moshe Rabbenu. Was the last Rebbe greater than all of them? Their answer may very well be "yes.")

      And as the yeshiva world has taken on more and more chassidish ways, the same would be true of a lot of non-chassidim as well. Your rosh yeshiva is the greatest Jew alive; ergo, he must be Mashiach.

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    33. Nachum, no, you are misreading it. The Rambam is talking about the reason to celebrate Chanuka, he is not just giving a history lesson. He is stating it as part of the reason to celebrate is that they replaced the Greek oppressors with their own king. And the holiday of Chanuka is not a celebration of having a king, indeed we had a king many times before. It is a celebration of the redemption from the Greek oppressors, of which the Jewish Kingdom was a part.

      I am aware that your interpretation of the Rambam is like gospel truth for Zionists, it is one of the most important sources you have. And that is why you immediately resort to insults when somebody challenges it. But it is important to read the Rambam in context.

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    34. Ezra, Why do you want to push that narrative? There's no evidence that the Founders sided with the Nazis. Are you a self-hating Jew or antisemite?

      The Founders of America weren't Jewish either but deist. (Thomas Jefferson was Jewish but a deist). Does that mean America has no redeeming quality totally beyond redeeming? So what if Israel's founders were atheists? A lot of them were religious and this is what G-d wants because G-d allowed it to happen (ie Israel reestablished). What point are you trying to make? Why are you giving credence to Israel's enemies? Don't you know all Jews are zionists? 

      Theodore Herzl and David Ben Gurion were great men and the founding of the Modern State of Israel is the greatest miracle in modern times.

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    35. Ezra, What is the alternative? Give Israel to the Arabs? Is this what you want? Why?

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    36. I'm sorry, Happy, you're really just reading what you want into the Rambam. The Rambam wrote the Mishna Torah having in mind that the only two sefarim a Jew would need would be the Tanach and this. That's why- unlike *every other section of the Yad*- there's a historical background to Chanukah- *because it's the only thing not in Tanach.* The Rambam *is* giving a historical background here. If all he was giving was a "reason for Chanukah" he could have left the last bit out entirely. The fact that the Greeks were overthrown has nothing to do with the fact that, sat, Agrippas I was king almost 200 years later. The Jews could have made some sort of deal with the Greeks for all it would have mattered.

      "Zionists" seldom think about this. It's you, with your bizarre anti-Zionism, that's reading your own belief into this section, against all context.

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    37. Sorry Nachum, if he's just giving the historical background, then you can't use him to prove that the wicked Jewish kings were a good thing. He doesn't say or even remotely imply it's a good thing, according to you he's just giving historical background. The ONLY way to read it that he's saying it's a good thing, would be by reading it in the context of the first part of the paragraph, the miracle of Chanuka. Which is exactly what I said.

      Secular Zionists seldom think about this, or anything else Torah related. Religious Zionists such as yourself take this "proof-text" very seriously, as a simple google search will show. And it is you who is ignoring the context.

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    38. Ezra, lastly, arguably, Kind David was worse than the Founders. Kind David had a adulterous relationship with Bat Sheva and the murder of her husband.

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    39. I'm gonna stop banging my head against the wall. Haters gonna hate.

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  3. Why didn't you quote Obama by name? He did a lot of bad, but some good. Same goes for Trump. You should still give people credit where it's deserved.

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    1. I'm 98% sure you already know the answer.

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  4. "From perspective of Jews living in 19th century Europe, it must have seemed as fantastical as a unicorn."

    Your perspective is not incorrect, but probably worthy of a tweak. The reference should not be "Altneuland" - which is indeed a 'fantasy' - but the Jewish State - published years earlier, which is a completely rational, sober and visionary template of a social-democratic Jewish State. It was part of a plan that was far from fantastical if you understand that the state building effort was decades in the making, spearheaded by pioneer state-builders and stakeholders who guided the process and ensured what today we would call 'minimum viability' - namely some form of independent entity. A wholly secular undertaking, not burdened by 'fantasy' but a hard-edged project based on achievable milestones. 1948 was not a 'miracle' in a metaphysical sense, it was a miracle of secular foresight & organization. The Shoah was anticipated by Herzl (!!) and Artzenu was the project that anticipated it.

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  5. Charedi opposition to Zionism, while maybe borderline theoretically justifiable a century ago, is patently ridiculous and just plain silly at this point.

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  6. Lovely sentiments, but for G-d's sake why couldn't you find a quote from someone other than Obama, whose administration was extremely hostile towards Israel, and who's book shows a completely distorted, unhistorical and anti-Zionist view of Israel.

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    1. ...and yet that same administration approved the largest ever defence deal ever brokered with IL - yes with bi-partisan approval - but it was not vetoed as it would have been of the president was truly anti-zionist. That same administration regularly turned a blind eye when it came to incursions into Iran, Syria and Lebanon - justified or not. The administration only became recalcitrant towards IL when it became clear that it was unwilling to stop the inexorable path to annexation. I doubt you read Obama's book. Obama has always been very clear in his support for the State and its continued existence. You confuse his criticism (or support for a semblance of an equitable resolution) with anti-zionism.

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    2. You're actually citing his book, which prints one anti-Israel canard and falsehood after another, as proof?

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    3. Why should your personal animus towards Obama "metamei" him from quotation when speaking the truth?

      If anything, his supposed hostility towards Israel only makes these words more poignant.

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    4. Strange that you should accuse me of not reading Obama's book when it seems to me exactly the opposite: that you have not read it. It was universally panned as anti-Israel and ahistorical by real historians and commentators who support Israel.
      Here are some links for you to read:
      Obama’s revisionist ‘Promised Land’: https://www.jns.org/opinion/obamas-revisionist-promised-land/

      A PROMISED LAND: OBAMA’S MEMOIRS MALIGN ISRAEL: https://www.camera.org/article/obamas-memoirs-malign-israel/


      "With at least 15 falsehoods succinctly articulated in a letter below on behalf of the Zionist Organization of America, former President Obama knew or should have known, millions of his readers will be horribly misled into drawing false & negative conclusions about Israel and the Jewish people."
      https://www.israelandstuff.com/review-of-obamas-a-promised-land-at-best-anti-israel-at-worst-antisemitic

      Here's a review by Joshua Washington, of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel:
      "Barack Obama’s latest memoir is another attack on Israel"
      https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/barack-obamas-latest-memoir-is-another-attack-on-israel/

      Review by Ben Shapiro:
      "Obama Despises Israel Because He Despises the West"
      https://www.nationalreview.com/2016/12/obama-anti-israel-jewish-jerusalem-judeo-christian-western-civilization/

      BY ROBERT SPENCER of PJ Media: "Obama’s Latest Autobiography Rewrites Israeli History to Make You Hate the Jewish State"
      https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/robert-spencer/2020/12/20/obamas-latest-autobiography-rewrites-israeli-history-to-make-you-hate-the-jewish-state-n1221172

      And if you want to read an entire book detailing from his personal and direct experience of Obama's hostility towards Israel, read
      Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide
      by Michael B. Oren, Ambassador to the U.S. from Israel during the Obama administration. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WPQHQAY/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_XSSWGNV2C524R64NCFE4

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  7. An even bigger miracle is that the Torah prophesied that the Jews would be exiled, not once, but twice, and twice have returned to their homeland. The first was with Babylon in the Babylonian exile. The second was with the Romans. It is already improbable for Jews to return to Israel 2,000 years later with the same Torah, as the Torah promised. It is even more improbable for this to happen twice. What more proof could one want that this is a miracle!

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    1. What are the references for where the Torah prophesied twice?

      Also, why is it considered so improbable that the Jews would return to Israel? The Jews have a somewhat unique situation where a specific land is central to the religion and we will therefore always attempt to get back to Israel. Assuming we survive as a nation, isn't it just a matter of time till we got back?

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    2. "Assuming we survive as a nation, isn't it just a matter of time till we got back"
      That's a huge assumption, and no, it isn't. Look at the gypsies.

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    3. @Raymond, Considering that the Jews were the only ones in history who were exiled twice as a people, returned, to their homeland, as was predicted in the Torah. No other nation, parsis or gypsis, returned no long for a return back to their homeland.

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    4. AFAIK there are no valid prophecies in Tenach. I wrote 4 prophecy posts and there are failed alleged prophecies. The Tenach is mainly warning people to behave a certain way and if they do not fatal consequences. There are some parallels to the rise of Israel but not after so long a duration AFAIK. I also wrote posts about the alleged miracle of Jewish survival; the rise of Israel etc. ACJA

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    5. A navi doesn't predict the future. A "roeh" does, and the neviim of Tanach weren't "roim," even though some of the simple folk call them that. (For example, when Shaul is looking for his donkeys.) A navi makes a prediction he *hopes* won't come true. That's what the whole book of Yonah is about.

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    6. Raymond, the Torah sources are from Deuteronomy 28.

      ACJA, I’ve read your article. The thing is, the Torah predicted that Israel will be exiled twice and this is exactly what happened. There is no greater miracle. Rabbi Slifkin pointed out that it's amazing that Israel was re-established after 2,000 years. I add that this occurred twice. As the Torah predicted. You yourself admit that Spinoza predicted this, probably from his study of the Torah.

      I will close this comment with a quote from President John Adams. He sums it up well:

      I will insist the Hebrews have [contributed] more to civilize men than any other nation. If I was an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations… They are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this Earth. The Romans and their empire were but a bubble in comparison to the Jews.”

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    7. @Shmuel Devarim 28 is in no way a valid prophecy. It confirms what I wrote at in my blog post including Do this and goodies or Do that and badies . I suggest reading all four of my prophecy posts and the two on Jewish Survival and Bible Predictor. If you still disagree fine, but at least you will get my POV.

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    8. Could you send me links to all the post you want me to read? Thanks.

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    9. Don’t care if you read them or not. See the sequence begins here http://altercockerjewishatheist.blogspot.com/2015/01/proof-of-god-from-prophecy-part-1.html

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    10. See sequence begins here http://altercockerjewishatheist.blogspot.com/2013/08/proof-of-god-via-jewish-survival-jewish_12.html

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    11. I am just reading this section of the comments, and I must say I find it quite disturbing. The notion that the so-called "prophets" (i.e., nevi'im) of the Tanach were supposed to foretell the future is a concept derived directly from Christian theology.

      The very notion that the word "prophet"/"prophecy" as used in English refers to clairvoyance or future-telling comes from the fact that the Church Fathers and early Christians were desperate to find prefigurations of their own religion in the authoritative text of our Tanach, in order to justify Christianity's usurpation of our rightful covenant with G-d.

      So they decided that all these "prophecies" by past nevi'im were "really" referring to the future events involving their savior (like their obsession with the metaphor of the "suffering servant" in Isaiah 53 which, incidentally, very obviously refers to the history of the Jewish people, not to one random guy who lived and died in the 1st century CE...).

      Nachum is absolutely correct above. The fact that, say, Yim'yahu's prophecies regarding the churban came to pass doesn't mean that he was just, like, "really good" at "predicting the future", but rather that the Jews of his time were really bad at heeding his divine warnings. As Nachum again very astutely points out, that is indeed the whole point of Sefer Yonah, which encapsulates the Jewish concept of prophecy. (And ironically, Yonah himself, misunderstanding that, gets upset when his prophecy fails to "come true"!)

      Apologies for the long comment, but this is theologically important stuff to understand.

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    12. ACJA No, I enjoyed them.Thanks.
      JC, I agree with you. Prophets only say what ought to happen. Rambam would agree with you. Unfortunately, Jews have adopted many wrong Christian notions, such as the notion as original sin.

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  8. I once had the thought that if you went back in time to about 1900 and told a random Polish Jew that in a hundred years, the pope (who would be Polish, itself a shocker) would go to Israel to mark the big anniversary of Christianity, and while there he would stick a note in the Kotel asking Hashem to forgive the Christians for persecuting Jews...but not just that! In the course of his visit, he'd be welcomed by a Jewish president, and a Jewish prime minister, and be protected throughout by a Jewish army, and guarded by Jewish police, and his flag would fly alongside one with a magen david, and on and on...the 1900 Jew would almost certainly reply, "Oh, so you're telling me Mashiach came?"

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  9. Spinoza predicted it. ACJA

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    1. Can you source and quote Spinoza?

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    2. See http://altercockerjewishatheist.blogspot.com/2013/08/proof-of-god-via-jewish-survival-jewish_12.html

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  10. I think there's one other point that adds to this: For about 2,500 years, Jews had developed a set of expectations of what the geulah would look like. Man on a white donkey, shofar, everyone flying magically to Israel, etc. When it didn't happen that way, some people adapted and done people refused to.

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    1. Nachum, "I think there's one other point ... When it didn't happen that way, some people adapted ...."

      Such as Nathan of Gaza ... ;)

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    2. Ha ha. The name, by the way, was bestowed on me by my late sister, z"l, my slave name being Nathan. And that was long before I indeed moved to Azza (Street).

      To the point: Shabtai Tzvi didn't bring about any sort of geulah. You know who did? Herzl, Jabotinsky, Ben Gurion, Begin...

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  11. That flyer made me laugh. :)

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