Countering One Cautionary Tale with Another

First comes this:

Odium Theologicum

by Sam Walter Foss (1858-1911)

They met and they talked where the crossroads meet,
Four men from the four winds come,
And they talked of the horse, for they loved the theme,
And never a man was dumb.
The man from the North loved the strength of the horse,
And the man from the East his pace,
And the man from the South loved the speed of the horse,
And the man from the West his grace.

So these four men from the four winds come,
Each paused a space in his course
And smiled in the face of his fellow man
And lovingly talked of the horse.
Then each man parted and went his way
As their different courses ran;
And each man journeyed with peace in his heart
And loving his fellow man.

They met the next year where the crossroads meet,
Four men from the four winds come;
And it chanced as they met that they talked of God,
And never a man was dumb.
One imagined God in the shape of a man.
A spirit did one insist.
One said that nature itself was God.
One said that he didn’t exist.

They lashed each other with tongues that stung,
That smote as with a rod;
Each glared in the face of his fellow man,
And wrathfully talked of God.
Then each man parted and went his way,
As their different courses ran;
And each man journeyed with wrath in his heart,
And hating his fellow man.

The end.

Well, with Hashem’s help I could write at great length and wrathful odium in response. But I think a flippant counter-tale will do.

Megillas Ester 1:10-11:

ביום השביעי כטוב לב המלך ביין אמר… להביא את ושתי המלכה לפני המלך בכתר מלכות להראות העמים והשרים את יפיה כי טובת מראה היא.

On the seventh day, when the king’s heart was merry with wine, he ordered… [t]o bring Vashti the queen before the king with the royal crown, to show the peoples and the princes her beauty, for she was of comely appearance.


Gemara Megillah 12b:

ביום השביעי כטוב לב המלך ביין, אטו עד השתא לא טב לביה בחמרא? אמר רבא, יום השביעי שבת היה. שישראל אוכלין ושותין, מתחילין בדברי תורה ובדברי תשבחות, אבל גוים שאוכלין ושותין, אין מתחילין אלא בדברי תיפלות.

וכן בסעודתו של אותו רשע. הללו אומרים מדיות נאות והללו אומרים פרסיות נאות. אמר להם אחשורוש, כלי שאני משתמש בו אינו לא מדיי ולא פרסי, אלא כשדיי. רצונכם לראותה? אמרו לו, אין, ובלבד שתהא ערומה…

“On the seventh day, where the king’s heart was merry with wine.” Was then his heart not merry with wine until then? Rava said: The “seventh day” was Sabbath. When Israel eat and drink they begin with a discourse on the Torah and with words of thanksgiving [to God]. But the nations of the world, when they eat and drink only begin with words of frivolity.

And so at the feast of that wicked one. Some said: The Median women are the most beautiful, and others said: The Persian women are the most beautiful. Said Ahasuerus to them: The vessel that I use is neither Median nor Persian, but Chaldean. Would you like to see her? They said: Yes, but she must be naked…

(From Soncino.)

The end.

Anglos Reading Rabbi Brand on Zionism?

How do you respond to Rabbi Yitzchak Brand’s many books and articles on Zionism?

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!


Dear Naftali,I took a look at this Rabbi Brand’s site. There is not much there that we haven’t answered already in our q and a pages on the sugya of the Three Oaths.

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 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:

Continue reading…

Thanks to Rabbi Zev Samet for bringing my attention to the above.

I don’t merely agree with Rabbi Brand, as regular readers of 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.

עצה טובה לאברכים מוקפים בטרדות

הגאון רבי חיים גריינימן סיפר על עצמו: כאברך צעיר היה גר בירושלים. בדרך כלל לאברך צעיר יש טרדות ועסקי משפחה, ובאמצע הלימוד לפעמים צריך להפסיק, ממילא בכל פעם שיש איזו טירדה צריך לעיין ולהחליט האם להפסיק באמצע הלימוד…
הרב אמר שהוא מצא עצה לכך: הוא למד תקופה ארוכה בבית כנסת. קיבל רשות מהגבאי להיות כל היום בבית הכנסת, כדי שיוכל ללמוד שם בשקט. כיון שהיה חסר לגבאי מפתחות, הוא קיבל מפתח רק לעזרת נשים והמפתח של בית הכנסת עצמו נשאר אצל הגבאי.
סיפר רבי חיים: “הייתי פותח את הדלת של עזרת הנשים. עזרת הנשים היתה גבוהה, כעין קומה עליונה. הייתי מגיע עם הפנקס והספרים וקופץ מעזרת הנשים למטה ולומד בבית הכנסת. למה? שאם יבואו לקרוא לי, או שיהיו טרדות לצאת אז רק ענין כזה דחוף וחמור ששווה לטפס בשבילו על הקירות חזרה למעלה, רק זה יסגור לי את הגמרא, חוץ מזה נשארים הלאה בגמרא!”
(“מילי דהספידא” – מתוך הספד חתנו הגאון ר’ ישראל מנחם הירשפלד שליט”א)
מתוך עלון “נר לשלחן שבת” גליון 588# עמ’ 2

בימי רבי יהושע בן חנניה גזרה מלכות הרשעה שיבנה בית המקדש…

בראשית רבה ס”ד י’:
בימי רבי יהושע בן חנניה גזרה מלכות הרשעה שיבנה בית המקדש הושיבו פפוס ולוליאנוס טרפיזין מעכו עד אנטוכיא והיו מספקין לעולי גולה כסף וזהב וכל צרכם אזלין אלין כותאי ואמרין ידיע להוי למלכא דהדין קרתא מרדתא תתבנא ושוריא ישתכללון מנדה בלו והלך לא יתנון מנדה זו מדת הארץ בלו זו פרובגירון והלך אנגרוטינה ואמר להון מה נעביד וגזרית.
אמרין ליה שלח ואמר להון או ישנון יתיה מאתריה או יוספון עליה חמש אמין או יבצרון מיניה חמש אמין מן גרמיהון אנון חזרין בהון והוון קהליא מצמתין בהדא בקעתא דבית רמון כיון דאתון כתיבא שרון בכיין בעיין לממרד על מלכותא אמרין יעול חד בר נש חכימא וישדך צבורא אמרין יעול ר’ יהושע בן חנניא דהוא אסכולוסטקיא דאורייתא.
עאל ודרש ארי טרף טרף ועמד עצם בגרונו אמר כל דאתי מפיק ליה אנא יהיב ליה אגריה אתא הדין קורא מיצראה דמקוריה אריך יהיב מקוריה ואפקיה אמר ליה הב לי אגרי א”ל זיל תהא מלגלג ואומר דעילת לפומא דאריה בשלם ונפקת בשלם כך דיינו שנכנסנו לאומה זו בשלום ויצאנו בשלום.