More on the Erev Ze'eir

I received the following email:


I have listened to nearly every one of your parsha podcasts that you have put out and would like to thank you for all that you have taught me. I am only recently taking my Judaism seriously and your podcast was a wonderful teaching tool.

Recently I stumbled on this website, and after reading several articles, quotes from famous rabbis, and such, I was very impressed. You are a staunch supporter of Israel and an observent Jew, how do you respond to the statements by these rabbis?

I look forward to hearing your response. Thank you

Reuven Gold

To which I responded:

Reuven, thank you for your email. It’s important to understand that I, like most orthodox Jews, am in strong support of Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel, and believe that the Jewish people’s destiny is here, and that this is where Jews should make their home. I do not per se support the current government of Israel, which unfortunately does not espouse Torah law, and in fact works many times to contravene the Torah. The government here in Israel represents the concept that the Gra speaks about at length, which is the Erev Rav. You can read about it on my blog, in some recent posts that I have put up. In a nutshell, they are the leaders of the Jewish people in our current exile, but they do all in their power to work against the Torah and the connection of the Jewish people to Hashem. Despite this, as the Gra explains, they are used as an instrument for Hashem to bring the Geulah. Part of the idea is that if they would not actually be involved, they would try to prevent the Jewish people’s return to Eretz Yisrael. Nevertheless, from their own perspective, they are involved solely to accomplish their own nefarious goals. Hashem uses their evil for the ultimate Good, which is the Ramchal’s concept of hanhagas hayichud.

There is another group, who I believe that website represents, which is called the Erev Ze’eir (as opposed to the Erev Rav – the ‘mixed multitude’). This group corresponds to the ten spies who were sent to Israel while the Jews were in the wilderness and returned with a negative report about the land. They subconsciously did not want to enter the land because they knew they would lose their prominent positions once that occurred. Thus, they sabotaged the Jewish entrance into Israel, and the fulfillment of the redemption that should have been completed at that time. Today, they are those who want to deny that we are actually in the middle of the redemption process, because they mistakenly believe that Hashem would not (or could not!) bring about a redemption in a natural way. Nothing could be farther from the truth. But the real truth is that it is likely that these groups have their own subconscious motive, like the original Erev Ze’eir, to hold back the redemption process, and encourage Jews not to return to Israel, so they can maintain the positions they occupy while the Jewish people remain in exile.

It is worth seeing the following post from my blog, where I translated a story of the Chofetz Chaim’s reaction to the Balfour Declaration in 1917. It is clear that he also saw the events developing as movement toward redemption.

I wish you all the best,
Ari Goldwag

Afterwards, I received another email from him:

I don’t mean to bother you, but I hope you would not mind responding to this page?

“Do not let your false prophets among you and your sorcerers seduce you, do not head your dreamers which you cause them to dream. For they speak falsely to you in My name. I did not send them.”

we have been foresworn, by three strong oaths, not to ascend to the Holy Land as a group using force, not to rebel against the governments of countries in which we live, and not by our sins, to prolong the coming of moshiach; as is written in Tractate Kesubos 111a .

“Even if the nations wanted to kill the Jews with terrible torture, the Jews are forbidden to change the applicability of the Oaths. This is relevant to every one of these oaths and must be understood.” Therefore, not only is it forbidden to leave the Exile even with the permission of the nations, but even if they force the Jewish People to do so under pain of death, it is forbidden to violate these Oaths in the same way it is required to give up one’s life rather than accept another religion.

To which I responded:

I think the operative words there are “as a group.” I think it is pretty safe to say that most of the Jews who live here today (and Israel has the largest population of Jews in any country in the world, over five million!) did not come consciously as a group.

I will quote for you from a certain book that speaks about these ideas at length, and it is actually from a piece written by a student of the Gra, who had a direct mesorah from the Gra himself. It is also significant that the Gra sent a group of his students to make aliyah in the early 1800s.

What will they say, those with their lame excuses, to the words of the sages, “When Jerusalem will be rebuilt then the Son of David will come?” Likewise, on the verse, “A redeemer will come to Zion” (Isaiah 59:20), the Midrash and Rashi both explain that, “As long as Zion is not built the Redeemer will not come.” Rather, they are like the lichen growing out of the walls coming to do battle with the cedars of lebanon. Their excuses are none other than those of the Spies whom Moshe sent to scout the Land of Israel. They spread evil reports that discourage the Jewish People from emigrating to the Land. This is what the sages referred to when they said, “In the Ikveta D’Meshicha truth will become diminished and Chutzpah-Arrogance will increase.” This arrogance is an attack against the holy words of our prophets and seers. It is an attack against the past Leaders of Israel and it is an attack against the conviction and holy commandment of the Saint of Israel, our master the GRA. It is our prayer that all of those within whom the spirit of Amalek dwells should quickly return from their evil ways. “[God] is merciful and He forgives iniquity.” (Kol Hator Ch. 5)

I think that pretty much speaks for itself.

All the best,

1 Comment

  1. Devash on January 6, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    On the three oaths, I would also add, that this applies only if they do not oppress us overly much. Rabbi Kahane says the Holocaust nullified that condition. But also, one could certainly make the case that the nations themselves did not oppose our going up. One might say that UN vote to partition was their stamp of approval.

    One must understand that things like this exist to preserve free will.

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