Thursday, May 5, 2022

The Artscroll Gabbai


The Artscroll Gabbai 

The Artscroll Gabai’s handbook has a prayer for the state of israel which it describes as “the first sprouting of our redemption.” This is the publishing company that portrays itself and naïve people see as the publisher for the yeshiva world. People think of it as the publishing house for the Agudah. But this doesn’t mean just Lakewood and Flatbush, the Hebrew editions of Artscroll Gemaras and Siddurim are in use throughout Eretz Yisroel. You’d think that means that Artscroll would only publish material that would be approved by figures like Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch, Rav Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, Rav Elchonon Wasserman, the Chazon Ish, the Brisker Rav, Rav Aaron Kotler, the Steipler Rav, Rav Mordechai Gifter, Rav Shimon Schwab, Rav Avigdor Miller, and all the leaders they claim to follow. How many times do Artscroll books tell us to follow the gadolim? Artscroll has published either biographies on or Torah from all of those gadolim.  

So here’s what Rav Kotler had to say about the Medinah: 

The periodical Hapardes (Year 11, Issue 7) reports that ‘Rabbi [Elchonon] Wasserman, Rabbi [Aharon] Kotler, Rabbi [Mordechai] Rottenberg from Antwerp and rabbis from Czechoslovakia and Hungary were unanimous in rejecting any proposal for a Jewish State on either side of the Jordan River, even if it were established as a religious state because such a regime would be a form of heresy in our faith in the belief in the coming of the Messiah, and especially since this little Jewish state would be built on heresy and desecration of the Name of G-d.’[1][1]  

Brisker Rav: 

Rabbi Meir Soloveitchik quoted his father, "Even if they appointed the Chofetz Chaim himself as the leader of the state, it would be forbidden."[2][2]  

The Brisker Rav also said: "The Rambam (Melachim 12:2 and Teshuva 9:2) says that moshiach will redeem the Jewish people from their subjugation to the nations. Anyone who believes that it is possible to be redeemed from subjugation to the nations without moshiach is lacking in full belief in moshiach."[3][3]  

After the state was founded, the Brisker Rav was so upset that he became bedridden. The Chazon Ish sent him a message that he shouldn’t worry, the state is an evil decree and an evil decree will be nullified. The Brisker Rav sent a message back expressing his disagreement. He said, an evil decree is only nullified when the people subject to the decree realize that it is evil. Otherwise, it remains in place.[4][4]   




The Steipler Gaon wrote, “…we who live here (in Eretz Yisroel) do not have the ability to do anything… because the government is in the hands of the resha’im, as is all of the media… however, the rabbanim of Chutz l’Aretz, along with the shomrei Torah [there], certainly have an obligation to raise an outcry against every offense and attack on the holy Torah, because they [the Israeli government] still fear the demonstrations of Yidden in Chutz l’Aretz which have so far prevented them from taking even more drastic steps…”.[5][5]  

In 1935, Rav Yaakov Yisroel Kanievsky, the Steipler Gaon, declined to attend the funeral of a prominent Mizrachi rabbi in Tel-Aviv on the grounds that there is no obligation in Kavod HaTorah for Mizrachi rabbis.[6][6] 

Rav Elchonon Wasserman:  

 “This is not building the Land of Israel but destroying it. These are not the guardians of the city but the destroyers of the city. This is the worst destruction of the Land of Israel, much worse than past destructions [of the Temple].”[7][7] 

The Torah teaches here that the war against Amalek exists in all generations until the coming of the messiah. However, the “Amalek” is not always the same. In the olden days when the Jewish people was ruled only by Torah, the enemies were the descendants of Amalek in the gentile world. But ever since we have thrown off the yoke of the Torah, the seed of Amalek thrives in our midst. We now have many who violate the Torah out of spite, such as the Yevsekses – Jewish Communists – who live not only in the Soviet Union but in all of the world, wherever there are Jews, and also in Palestine. The Hellenizers these are the same Yevsekses – there is no difference between them, except that these write in Yiddish and those write in modern Hebrew… 

People are so ignorant today, that a large percentage of Jews support them with money, so that they might be bigger and stronger. They do not know or understand the word of Hashem, “When the wicked blossom like grass, when all sinners flower, it is in order to destroy them forever.” (Tehillim 92:8) And when that time comes, woe to those who support them or flatter them! And it is as clear as the sun that the Land will vomit them out, for it is the King’s palace and it does not support sinners, much less those who sin out of spite. (I am not coming here to curse or to bless, but since these things are written in the Torah we must admit that they will come true.) 

We must not err and think that all those who follow the Zionists are from the seed of Amalek. G-d forbid to say so; we are talking here only about their heads and leaders, teachers and guides, writers and speakers – these are from the seed of Amalek, standing at the front of their armies to do battle with the Holy One, blessed is He. But all the multitudes of Jews who join them are merely following like a herd of animals.[8][8] 


Rav Avigdor Miller: 

All the American Jews are brainwashed. They think that the State of Israel, that’s the Kadosh Kadoshim of Judaism. This at least you have to hold onto. Everything else you can throw away. But your loyalty to the State of Israel – that’s something that shouldn’t budge. I was once talking to a young lady who came here. So, she said, she doesn’t want her husband to learn; she doesn’t want to keep Shabbos; doesn’t want this; doesn’t want that. But she is a Zionist – that she is. And she knows that I am not a patriot of the State of Israel. She knows that, but she says, “I am a Zionist.” …. That’s something [on which] you can’t budge her. And this propaganda is a sickness, because this sickness makes people think that that’s enough. That’s better than believing in HaKadosh Baruch Hu, that’s better than keeping Shabbos.[9][9] 

Should yeshiva boys go to the Satmar demonstration? The Satmar demonstration by all means should be supported. However, you should ask your particular rebbe, your rosh yeshiva, if he sanctions your going away. But otherwise if he doesn’t object because of the sedarim of the yeshiva, by all means everybody should participate because you have to know what is taking place in Eretz Yisroel. Right now, they brought in a thousand Persian boys that had been earmarked for Lubavitch institutions. A thousand Persian children that had been prepared for Orthodox training and they handed them over to the Hashomer Hatsair* to the very worst, the Communist Israeli institutions, which means in one week they are tearing the house out of them. They put boys and girls in one room. That’s the system of the Hashomer Hatsair. There’s no Shabbos or Kashrus. Now these terrible scenes have been already witnessed in the years gone by. But now a new source of customers for this spiritual Auschwitz has opened up and Persia is now supplying Jews for the crematoria of the Communist Marxist Israeli institutions. That’s one thing. And another big scandal that’s taking place now is they have youthful archaeologists who go on tours and for fun they dig out the bones of the Tanaim and Amaroim, the old sages that are buried in Eretz Yisroel, the hollowed tombs where even to approach them up to now was considered a privilege. And they are digging up these bones of the ancients. Some of the bones are sent outside of Eretz Yisroel to laboratories for time measurement and other inspections and they never come back again. So these sages who were zoche to be buried in the Holy Land now are being dragged out of their graves and being scattered all over the world and even in Eretz Yisroel they are being subjected to chemical investigation. And then the bones are put in garbage cans, put in garbage cans. That’s a terrible desecration.  A Mohammedan would never maltreat ancient Jewish graves, modern Jewish graves yes, but ancient Jewish cemeteries they wouldn’t maltreat. But to the archeologist, the Jewish archeologist there’s no such thing as [inaudible]. They have no belief in God. They are all atheists. And they refuse to listen. And the government supports that. The government is completely behind them. If any Orthodox Jew puts up a fuss, so he is arrested. I saw a photograph today of a protocol of arrests against somebody who put up a protest against that. And therefore anybody who can help out by going to the demonstration by all means because the Jews in Eretz Yisroel are not able to protest. But the police come with their clubs and they break heads. People don’t know that. Police in Eretz Yisroel are not as good as the police in Borough Park. The police in Borough Park are angels compared to Israeli police. And they have instructions, especially over Orthodox heads they break their clubs. Jews go to the hospitals for protesting, and they didn’t do a thing. But their heads are broken by the police clubs. People don’t know that in America. And the American Jewish newspapers don’t report this because they all have big relations, big funds that they get from the UJA and the Jewish National Fund and it’s not good business to displease their masters. But we have to let the world know that we know what’s happening and we are protesting. Of course, if you can send letters from here, protest letters, by all means do so. And therefore, anybody who is able should go.[10][10] (*HaShomer HaTzair, meaning The Young Guard, is a Socialist-Zionist, secular Jewish youth movement founded in 1913 in Galicia, Austria-Hungary) 

Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch: 

Israel is a nation that became a nation only through and for the Torah, a nation that once owned a land and existed as a state only through and for the Torah, and which possessed that land and that statehood only as instruments for translating the Torah into living reality.[11][11] 

Rav Mordechai Gifter: 

 “One sees that their sole purpose is to break all that is traditional; to destruct all that is holy. Even the Mizrachi is not much better than the rest of the rotten bunch.”[12][12] 

Chazon Ish: 

Rav Dovid Shmidel reports, a visitor asked the Chazon Ish “How could it be that all the nations of the world stood by silently while the Germans killed millions of Jews?” The Chazon Ish responded, “Is it not an explicit Gemara in Kesubos that if the Jewish people violates the Three Oaths, Hashem will permit their flesh like the gazelles and the deer of the field?”[13][13] 

As the Chazon Ish once said to Rav Ahron Katzenellenbogen, “The reason Jews are so confused by the Zionist state is that the state is the 50 gates of defilement. To overcome this, we need the 50 gates of holiness. Since the 50th gate of holiness is hidden from us, therefore the confusion is so great, for we cannot stand up against the 50 gates of defilement of the state.”[14][14] 

Rav Shimon Schwab: 

...truth compels us to state unequivocally that most certainly Zionism is not at all identical with Judaism that in fact it is diametrically opposed to it.”[15][15] 


But here’s Artscroll: 


Even Rav Joseph Soloveitchik, who Artscroll has yet to publish (other than a few citations in the Artscroll Chumash), did not think the state was the beginning of redemption. 

"Question: Is there any validity to hakamas ha'medinah as far as geulah or shivas tzion is concerned? 

No. Yimay ha'Moshiach? No. Since it contributed greatly to the survival of our people it is very important. This itself is important. But all this stupidity - aschalta d'geulah, geulah - I am against it."[16][16]  

R’ Soloveitchik did not say any prayer for the state during tefillah. (Arnold Lustiger, ed., Rosh Hashana Machzor with commentary adapted from the teachings of Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (New York: K’hal Publishing, 2007), p. 439.)   He objected to the Israeli Yom HaShoah/Holocaust day commemoration, asserting that “all expressions of aveilus should take place on Tisha b’Av, not a separate Yom Ha’Shoah.” (David Holtzer, ed., The Rav Thinking Aloud, p. 244.)  He was not enthusiastic about recitation of Hallel on Israeli Independence Day and forbade the recitation of a bracha on it. (Yitzchok Levine, “Rav Soloveitchik and Saying Hallel On Yom Ha’atzmaut,” April 20, 2010, Matzav.) 

So how does Artscroll have the nerve to say that the state is the first flowering of the redemption? You tell me.  




[18][2] Uvdos Vehanhagos Leveis Brisk, v. 4 p. 196. 

[19][3] Yalkut Divrei Torah. 

[20][4] Rav Yaakov Shapiro, “Rav Chaim Kanievsky On he Three Oaths /Zionism,” Bais Medrash of Bayswater, May 12, 2011 <>. 

[21][5] Sefer Kraina d’Igresa, letter 249, from the Steipler Gaon zt”l in Kol Demama 2:19 email. 

[22][6] Marc Shapiro, “Great Rabbinic Figures: R’ Israel Jacob Kanievsky, the Steipler Goan, Part 4,” 19:19. 

[23][7] R’ Elchonon Wasserman, (1874–1941), Ikvesa Demeshicha, paragraph 40.  

[24][8] Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman, Omer Ani Maasai Lemelech, paragraphs 5-6 in Torah Jews, Quotes, Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman (1875-1940). R’ Wasserman was the Rosh Yeshiva of Baranovitch. 

[25][9] R’ Avigdor Miller, “The Seed of David,” Audio Lecture #162, 1:11:22. Unless otherwise noted, transcription of talks by R’ Miller were done by the author of this work. 

[26][10] Rav Avigdor Miller, # 259 Preface to Pesach VI, 1:05:55 – 1:10:28. 

[27][11] Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch “The Character of the Jewish Community,” Collected Writings, Vol. VI, p. 35. 

[28][12] “Two Letters from Rav Mordechai Gifter,” This quote is from the first letter, dated April 7, 1935, Dr. Yitzchok Levine, Stevens Institute of Technology, < _Mordechai_Gifter_6.pdf>. Rav Mordechai Gifter (1916 – 2001) 

[29][13] Yirmiyahu Cohen, I Will Await Him, pp. 285-6. 

[30][14] Mishkenos Haro’im, p. 1195 in “Rabbinic Quotes,” Torah Jews. 

[31][15] R’ Shimon Schwab, Selected Writings (Lakewood, NJ: CIS, 1998), pp. 147-8. 

[32][16] David Holtzer, ed., The Rav Thinking Aloud, p. 217. 

































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