How do you respond to Rabbi Yitzchak Brand’s many books and articles on Zionism?
He used to be well in your camp, then rethought his position, and explained why in convincing detail.
His general site is here:
Thanks for the help!
But the fact that he is out there underscores the need for books and articles to be published and distributed that set the record straight.
We have to keep our bearings here because the undeniable fact is that the medinah is totally against how Jews in all generations have thought about the geulah. Jews say “because of our sins we were exiled from our land,” and it was taken for granted that Hashem would send moshiach to bring us back. Whatever arguments we are going to exchange with Rabbi Brand and others like him, it is clear that we have 2000 years of Jewish tradition on our side, and he is the innovator, the one coming to change Judaism.
Here is one example of something he writes: In his article against the Brisker Rav, Rabbi Brand does a comical thing: he attempts to argue on the Brisker Rav using the Brisker Rav’s own ideas. The Brisker Rav said that even if there is nevuah that there will be a medinah, it’s ossur to help it happen, as in the story of Chizkiyah, where Yishaya told him, don’t act on your nevuah, just follow the Torah and have children. Here too the medinah would be dangerous so it’s ossur. Rabbi Brand turns it upside down. According to nevuah we are waiting for moshiach, not a natural return. But according to Jewish law, he says, we are supposed to conquer Eretz Yisroel in every generation (he quotes the Ramban in sefer hamitzvos – see our response to this here http://www.truetorahjews.org/qanda/ramban2). He argues that even danger is not a reason to refrain from war, as the Brisker Rav once said to answer the minchas Chinuch’s kashya. SO therefore, he says, let’s fight a war and conquer even though it’s against nevuah.
Then he adds that when the geulah is b’itah, it’s supposed to happen naturally – of course making the common Zionist error that this natural, slow redemption can proceed without moshiach. He sets up the anti-Zionist shitah as a straw man, as a shitah that holds that everything will be miraculous. That’s totally not the case. We agree that if we aren’t zocheh it will happen b’derech hateva. But not without moshiach.
I really don’t have time to read everything he writes but you get the idea. One has to know the basic answers to arguments they have been raising for years, and a lot of Rabbi Brand’s foundations crumble.
The essay from Rabbi Brand you quote just happen to be related to the topic. For an honest appraisal of the full discussion one would need to visit the page titled Eretz Hakodesh here:
Yes, “because of our sins we were exiled from our land”, but that only covers the ultimate reason, and does not explain the proximal cause of exile, nor the means for return. We were exiled for sins, but by hand of physical force. One might work for a living, but unless he deserves it, his efforts will not be fruitful. See Rabbi brand on the distortion of the verse “Kochi ve’otzem yadi” here:
Actually, the “undeniable fact” is that Jews have acted the same throughout most of history. Jews have tried endless times to restore Jewish sovereignty, “Yad yisrael tekifah”. Some examples include Bar Kochba, Ezra, the Tiberius project by Dona Gracia,
which the Beis Yosef mentions in a letter, the many Nesi’im of Beis David, and much more.
The Jews also defended themselves from pogroms many times, see Orach Chaim 151:6, and historical exempla (I cannot find the footnotes at the moment). Your ideological opponents have doubtless compiled historical examples for the researcher’s convenience.
These Gufei Tora were only partially forgotten some time before the righteous Rabbi Akiva Yosef Shlesinger (ignored on your site), excommunicated by your ideological ancestors for promoting Jewish sovereignty. (Any surprise, then, the state was brought about by the wicked instead?)
Mashiach is simply a Jew that succeeds at what all Jews are supposed to aim for. If he succeeds, we know he is the one. He starts out as legal king first, as the Rambam explains, but according to you we can only accept “Mashiach” as king. This point is explained further by Rabbi Brand here.
You say “we are waiting for moshiach, not a natural return”. This is put to rest by the Gemara Meggilah 17b which precedes the returning of the exiles to the Sanhedrin and the downfall of the wicked.
Nor did you demolish the first contradiction in the Brisker Rav. War kills, see Shmuel 2:11:25. Antizionism causes even more death since it destroys confidence.
In a conversation with Professor Ze’ev Tzachor (President of the Sapir College) British intellectuals explained the reason for Israel’s loss of legitimacy in the world in a surprising manner: “We dreamed of a place where the new Book of Books would be written as we approach the redemption of the world. For you are, after all, a treasured nation. The world had expectations, and look what you have done.”
As for the Ramban on the commandment to conquer and dwell in the land of Israel, you referred me to your page here:
Thanks to Rabbi Zev Samet for bringing my attention to the above.
I don’t merely agree with Rabbi Brand, as regular readers of Hyehudi.org are aware. I also think the questioner got the better of the exchange; their last response is irrelevant and riddled with obvious errors.
Again, see the rest here.