Monday, March 19, 2012

Yishuv Eretz Yisrael

Warning: The following post may exceed the recommended daily allowance for blatant religious Zionism. Proceed at your own risk.

Last week (21 Adar) marked the yahrzeit of Rav Shlomo Yosef Zevin z”l, founding editor of the Encyclopedia Talmudit, 1959 Israel Prize winner, and renowned author.

When it came to the mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael (settling/dwelling in the Land of Israel), he did not mince words.

For instance, during the War of Independence, Rav Zevin wrote about military enlistment for yeshiva students:

“Master of the Universe! Is one permitted to rely on a miracle in a time of definite mortal danger and say that ‘our rabbis do not need protection?’ And Hevron of 5689 (1929) proves this! Did not holy and pure young people, who glow like the radiance of the firmament, the cream of the yeshiva and its sages, fall before the sons of evil?!...

“And why did Torah scholars abandon – together with our other brethren in Bnei Yisrael - the neighborhoods which came under sniper fire, rather than using this segulah (loosely, charm) of ‘our rabbis do not need protection’?... Is this da’at haTorah (the Torah approach)?…

“The entire nation in Eretz Yisrael and the Diaspora… well understand that there is no revival, chas v’shalom, of settling the Land and the survivors in exile without an independent state in our Land, which will absorb with open arms our blood-drenched brothers, who wander and roam over the burning ground of the exile.”

Also, just before the State of Israel was established, Rav Zevin wrote:

“Throughout the time of the Diaspora, one could not reach the pinnacle of the mitzvah of settling the Land – in its full splendor…

“And a matter which need not be said is that all of those who assisted and assist and will assist in the establishment of the State and its realization and founding are, of course, participating in the observance of that mitzvah, which is weighed against all the mitzvot in the Torah.”

May we all be privileged to observe this important mitzvah, speedily and in our days.


*Special thanks to the Official Our Shiputzim Hebrew-English translator for providing the above translations. Please note that she’s available for translation work. For more information, contact me at OurShiputzim at gmail dot com, and I’ll gladly forward all serious inquiries to her.

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