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Current Satmar rebbe. Rabbi Yekusiel Teitelbaum Photo: Yitzhak Weiss
Current Satmar rebbe. Rabbi Yekusiel Teitelbaum Photo: Yitzhak Weiss
 
Members of the Satmar community
Members of the Satmar community 
 
 

Satmar: Living in Israel forbidden

On anniversary of Satmar Hasidism founder's death, sect publishes list of questions and answers on how to relate to Zionism

Kobi Nahshoni
Published: 08.22.10, 07:48 / Israel Jewish Scene

In honor of the 31st anniversary of the death of first leader of the Satmar Hasidism anti-Zionist sect, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, a number of his followers published a pamphlet in his memory containing sixty questions and their answers regarding the rabbi's zealous attitude towards the State of Israel.

 

The pamphlet is entitled "Ish Milhamot" (Man of Wars). It is intended to act as a guide for the perplexed Hassid. In its own words, it provides "clear answers to those seeking the truth to questions and queries over the test of time so the current generation will know the path it should take."

 

According to the Satmar rebbe, Zionism is a total violation of the Torah. "If we were to take all the violations of the generation and the many transgressions committed around the world and placed them on one side of a scale and the Zionist state on the other side, it would be overwhelmingly decided that it is root of all impurity and damage in the entire world and contaminates the entire world," the rebbe wrote in the pamphlet.

 

Angel of Death and the Zionists

In response to the question "Who is the minister of the Zionists in Heaven?", the rabbi answered in a response from the previous century, "Obviously the Angel of Death is their minister. Behold, every country has its governor… this country, which is rooted and based in the forces of impurity and the Other Side, this certainly is its minister."

 

The pamphlet also outlines: Even those who believe that a Jewish state must exist in the Land of Israel having no other choice because of pikuach nefesh (saving a life) "violate the holy Torah." The pamphlet directs readers to the Tractate of Avot, saying that the sentence "every man is judged favorably" is said about everyone except Zionists. In addition, it asserts that it is a mitzvah to speak lashon hara (slander) about Zionists.

 

"Whoever has a part in this is delaying redemption at every moment and is delaying the inspiration of the Divine Presence and is delaying the coming of the Messiah. Even someone who takes the smallest part, even as slight as the edge of a yod (the tenth and smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet)… even someone who bends towards them, even by one hair, must be avoided like a bowshot. Whoever thinks yes (that Zionism is the correct path) and not just whoever says yes or even has a thought to this effect, is certainly a heretic."

 

The rabbi added, "I do not want to have any association with a Jew who thinks like this, and I do not want to find anyone who thinks like this even for a moment in my beit midrash (house of study)… In previous generations, if people only suspected of someone that he has tendencies to think this way in his heart, he was sent away, not included in prayer, and in this manner was they ride themselves of such plight."

 

'Even in times of war'

The pamphlet's authors quoted a number of extreme statements made by their rabbi and translate them into practical halachic instructions. For instance, prayer rallies held by Religious Zionists or haredim must not be attended, even in a time of war; the rulings of great Torah scholars who recognize Israel must not be followed, saying they are the root of all of Israel's troubles.

 

"Truly, if it were possible, and even with true devotion, to announce to the nations of the world that these evil people are not the representatives of Israel and Torah- and mitzvoth-keeping Jews, who have no connection to them, this would be one of the biggest mitzvoth that would need to be carried out with devotion," it was written in the pamphlet.

 

Zionism, according to Rebbe Teitelbaum, will not last forever. The following is a translation from his writings in Yiddish. "The Messiah will not come until no remnant or survivor remains from this kingship. It must become null and void. A Jew who believes in the Creator of the Universe cannot be satisfied with anything otherwise… all the buildings built by the heretics and infidels in our holy land will be burnt and destroyed by the Messiah king."

 

Is living in Israel permissible?

In the meantime, the Satmar pamphlet also stipulated that living in the State of Israel is forbidden.

 

In another section, the pamphlet implied that a rabbi need not be consulted before carrying out acts against Zionists, based on the model put forth by the biblical Pinhas who killed Jews who sinned.

 

Regarding homes containing an Israeli flag, the pamphlet instructed Satmar followers not to enter. "Beyond any doubt, a house containing any reference to the flag must not be entered because it is a bastion of the forces of impurity."

 

The Satmar rebbe wrote of the renewal of the Hebrew language is worse than speaking "languages of the nations" because changing the holy language is "contemptible, abominable, and impure."

 

"It is completely forbidden to speak Hebrew because it is an extension of the actions of the heretics and infidels who destroy and ruin religion and thus acknowledges the heretics and infidels and their idol worship and is a violation of the entire Torah."

 

 

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