Chabad’s Anti-Zionism: The Rebbe Rashab’s Letter

Chabad was viciously anti-Zionist until after the founding of the State of Israel. When Jews could have fled Europe and gone to Israel or America, Lubavitch rebbes opposed leaving Europe. The 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe, a vicious anti-Zionist in his own right, told followers there would be no war and that it was safe to stay in Europe. He did this from Warsaw in the summer of 1939, less than four months before WW2 began with the bombing and invasion of Poland. He was rescued by the American government. What did he ask for as he was brought to safety from amidst the destruction and horror? To save more Jews? No. The man asked for the rescue of his silver collection and his rare book collection – Sherlock Holmes in Yiddish translation along side of "sefarim". Not a peep from the holy man’s mouth about saving Jews.

Click on the continuation link to read his father’s – the Rashab, the 5th Lubavitcher Rebbe’ – infamous letter on anti-Zionism, written about 1900 and widely circulated:

Here is the text of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Rashab’s Letter:

In answer to your questions concerning the Zionists and their group (which they propose to found) I will state, in short, the following:

1. Even if the Zionists were G-d fearing Torah true Jews, and even if we had reason to believe that their goal is feasible, we are nevertheless not permitted to join them in bringing our redemption with our own strength. We are not even permitted to force a premature redemption by showering the Almighty with insistent entreaties (As Rashi comments on the Gemara Kesuvos 111A discussing G-d’s adjuring the Jewish people not to force the redemption), and certainly not by means of physical force and devices; We may not end our exile by main force: we will not thereby, achieve the spiritual redemption for which we are waiting. The Zionist notion contradicts our hope and yearning that G-d himself will not bring about our Redemption .

The past redemptions which were wrought by human beings were therefore incomplete. The redemption through Moshe and Aharon after which further exiles followed, and the redemption through Chananyoh, Michoel, and Azaryoh, although they acted in accordance with the prophecy of Yirmeyohu and other prophets are cases in point.

To insure a permanent Redemption from our present exile, we must hope and wait for a deliverance by the Almighty Himself, and not through the hands of one of flesh and blood. Thus only will our redemption be complete.

2. All their plans are built upon fantasies. They will not materialize, for there will never be an agreement to them. And besides our natural characteristics are not suited for it. Their leaders are blinded and bribed by their wish for freedom and power, and the ignorant masses follow them blindly.

3. The main point: The leaders of this project are totally hostile to G-d and His Torah. Their desire and interest is to cast off the yoke of Torah and Mitzvos, substituting nationalism for Judaism. Recently one of their leaders circulated a statement publicly blaspheming Judaism and boldly stating that a Jew is not necessarily someone who observes the Torah and mitzvos, etc. They state that many mitzvos of the Torah are-may their mouth be shut–a disgrace to the Jewish people. They plan to instill these ideas in the young by controlling the school system. Their purpose is to inculcate them with negative attitudes toward G-d given Torah and mitzvos and substitute the banner of nationalism as their guiding force. One of their leaders "reformed" the Torah, omitting those verses, passages and laws that did not please him. He is ready print this "new Torah", and this is what will be taught in the Zionistic schools.

One of the activities of the protected group will be to help finance schools of the above-described type. Although the goals of the bank are said to be to rebuild and repair destroyed roads, and so on, as their program depicts, it, will in fact direct its forces primarily toward the youth and the culture and implant in the children and adolescents poisonous roots. Their emissaries, the Zionist preachers malign Hashem’s Prophets including Moshe, the master of all Prophets at will.

Woe to us that we must witness these tragic events in our time.

The Zionists true desire is to sever the hearts of the Jewish people from the Torah and mitzvos, G-d forbid, and to debase in their eyes whatever is regarded as holy by our nation.

This is their leaders’ goal, and "the body follows the head."

If the Zionist plan to take possession of the land will G-d forbid materialize, they will defile it and disgrace it with their abominations and misdeeds, causing our exile to be lengthened, chas vesholom.

After considering these points, dear brothers, do judge whether G-d desires their actions and whether these people will bring about the salvation of K’Lal Yisroel. No!

We will not accept their promises. Even if they have some good to offer, we must throw it back to their faces. We do not want their good. We accept only the good from Hashem that results from the fulfillment of Torah and mitzvos. The Torah promises, "If you shall guard my statues I will give rain in its season and material abundance."

It is this good we want. And that is our only cherished hope. Those who aid the Zionists will in the future be held accountable, for they support those who cause the community to sin.

Therefore, anyone who belongs to Hashem’s camp shall not join the evildoers, but on the contrary, he must oppose them as much as he is able to do. Until it shall be G-d’s will to redeem us, we must accept the yoke of exile upon ourselves, since the exile expiates our sins. We must strengthen ourselves to withstand every new wave by fulfilling Torah and mitzvos, as G-d requires of us, hoping that Hashem will soon bring our redemption and send Moshiach. If he tarries let us wait for him; his arrival is dependent upon our teshuvoh (repentance), May G-d have pity upon us and speed our Redemption.

As to the Zionists’ argument that Torah-true Jews should become leaders of their movement, I will answer as follows:

1. How can a G-d fearing Jew stand at the head of a movement that contradicts the fundamentals of our belief in the Redemption?

2. Torah Jews may not participate in this movement because Zionists will not accept the option of the G-d fearing Jews in the realms of religion and education. Rather, they will continue to follow their own course, and thereafter claim that the G-d fearing Jews, as part of the movement, ratify their views and decisions. Once G-d fearing Jews join the Zionists, many sincere simple Jews will begin to believe that the Zionists’ deeds are approved by the G-d fearing Jews. Even if these G-d fearing Jews later break with the Zionist party and denounce it (provided their protests will be published in the Zionistic press), the effects of their protest will be far weaker than if they have never joined the Zionists in the first place.

3. No matter what the Zionists claim, in truth they are not interested in G-d fearing Jews joining them, since they do not intend to change their chosen course (of totaling abandoning Torah and mitzvos, making nationalism their entire Judaism). When Rabbonim at the Warsaw assemblies demanded the establishment of an exclusive council of Rabbonim, the Zionists would not agree. Their journalists ridiculed and blasphemed the Rabbonim, mocking them for having dated suggest such an idea. This clearly shows that the Zionists do not wish Torah Jews to interfere with their evil plans; may G-d foil their council and elevate the position of K’lal Yisroel.

Furthermore, let us evaluate their argument that they strive and make others strive for the benefit their people, while G-d fearing Jews sit idly by. What have they done "for the benefit of our people?"

I will only mention in passing the great, good deed accomplished by the Zionists in the last three years to benefit their Jewish brothers: Their closing of the shores of the Holy Land to Jews and the ban of property sales unless they are made by Jews who hold Turkish citizenship. Since the beginning of the establishment of the Chovovei Zion they managed to close the shores of the Holy Land to Jews of Russia and Rumania, and they prevented Jews from all countries from buying property and houses, (except from the Turkish). Jews suffered because of this and how they lost money through it. With the founding of the Zionist movement, entry was refused to all Jews, and acquisition was forbidden even to the old-established Jews in the land. This created a barrier between the Jews and the land that had never existed before and humiliated the Jews in the eyes of the non-Jewish inhabitants.

These worthy goals necessitated huge expenditures which were funded by the collection of half shekel coins and by selling shares. They crave our trust in them and their promises. Yet their personal actions on behalf of their Jewish brethren, other than fund raising, is of little movement.

But let us see whether the Chovevai Zion group, founded ten years ago in Odessa, did anything for the benefit of our Jewish brothers.

One of their accomplishments was founding the settlement Kastina. I have been informed by a reliable source who is well acquainted with its inhabitants that there are only a few families who do not have adequate dwellings. Their daily wage for farm labor is a frank and a half, (i.e. a ridiculously small amount, mere pocket money) and they are bitterly poor. Any profit that might be reaped goes to the party. A few families have been placed in "Petach Tikvah". This is the extent of their benevolence. Any Rav or ordinary Jew does more for the poverty-stricken in his town, extending financial aid and endeavoring to make them independent. (These settlers in Eretz Yisroel) need constant support. Even the settlers who were set up with farm land and all the necessary implements by Baron Hirsch, and for whom he spent more than 10,000 Rubles per person, need constant support, although these settlements were founded twenty years ago. Only individual settlers are self-sufficient, and this also only by the Baron’s generosity).

The Rabbonim and individual Jews who support the poor in their town do so without publicity, so that, in fact, the public may not be informed of their good deeds. In reality even in the less generous towns, many more paupers are supported than are helped by the Chovevai Zion.

On the contrary, we must demand that they do much more, considering the great commotion they create and considering that they collect more than 40,000 Rubles annually.

No measurable gains for our brothers can be disclosed–their actions have been confined to oral and written plans, all blown out of proportion to reality. They pounce upon any hint of opposition like lions on the rampage, hoping to silence him with invective.

Their speeches cannot create new realities, and they do not blind the eyes of the intelligent people. We are aware that there they do not produce actual results. Do they benefit K’lal Yisroel with their above-mentioned relativity small contribution? Yet they boast that they themselves do and cause others to do deeds for the good of their fellow Jews. How are they not ashamed to speak in this manner, accusing others of lack of good deeds, although in truth the accused do far more than they do, each one in his own city and place. Among us, people take care of the needs of the community and improve the financial lot of their fellow Jew without arousing any public attention.

May Hashem elevate the position of our brothers B’nai Yisroel and speed our redemption soon in our days.

Your true friend who desires and waits for G-d’s salvation,

Shalem Dov Ber



Filed under Chabad and Anti-Zionism, Chabad and the Holocaust, Chabad History, Chabad Theology, Israel

28 responses to “Chabad’s Anti-Zionism: The Rebbe Rashab’s Letter

  1. anonymous

    so, the Reform were anti-Zionist, too. the pittsburgh platform said, “We consider ourselves no longer a nation, but a religious community, and therefore expect neither a return to Palestine, nor a sacrificial worship under the sons of Aaron, nor the restoration of any of the laws concerning the Jewish state.”

  2. yy

    u r a sick mamzer

  3. The Reform didn’t tell Jews to stay in Europe. They did not forbid people from going to Israel. And they changed their position after the Zionist movement took hold. Chabad fobade Jews from leaving Europe. It forbade all but a handfull of specially chosen Jews from going to Israel. And it changed its position on Zionism only when Israeli government sheqels came their way.

  4. yy –

    It’s the Rashab’s letter. He predicts there will not be a state. He was wrong. The Rayyatz predicted there would not be a state and there would not be a WW@. He was wrong.

    Don’t like it? Tough luck, it’s the truth.

  5. avrohom

    and you false idols promised a decade and a galf ago that there will be peace in our times and ONLY the Lubavitcher REbbe got it right and said that the false prophecies by your idols will create a terrible disaster. WE have not yet finished the stupid war with hezbllah, lost the detterrence by your stupid ideologues full of themselves and brought terrible kloss of lives and loss of security and hexbollah is back armed by the syrians etc.

    these are your current gods….stop dwelling on the missteps of the past…naybe speak about the false idols of the present and maybe we will prevent a terrible tragedies g-d forbid.

    scotty stop being sick and start doing something against your false messiahs and idols….do teshuva…

  6. avrohom

    and also see how the terrible false prophecies of your false idols led and are leading to total insecuirty in the city of sderot a city inside israel proper only due to establishment of hamas due to expulsion of 9,000 jews from their houses…something disgusting done in the shoah and repeated (with better intetions i agree) now by your stupid friends equipped with the false prophsies of the flase idols…

  7. Ahavah bat Sarah

    Just curious, but Sharon got to be a vegetable for giving away a small settlement – or are we now in the business of believing in coincidences? What fun will olmert have when he gives away Jerusalem? Who knows, but it seems fairly clear that God is working on the zionists side, not the anti-zionists. Want to make a bet? The reason they call it “the time of Jacob’s trouble” is that it’s not all flowers and sunshine. All the prophets say there will be danger and problems – just because the Lubavitchers repeated the obvious hardly means their underlying position is correct.

  8. avrohom

    mr ahavah,

    all the “pophets”? in 1993-4 msaid there was gonig to be a new middle east. so were the messianic maniacs in 1977 when sadat came to israel…they all thought it’s going to be paradise/ How convenient for the owner of this wicked blog to dwell on ills of 100 years ago when you whitewahs your gods of 25 years ago..they did not forsee this 15 years ago…be honest…the only one who foresaw this 3 years ago was NONE OTHER THAN THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE!!!!

  9. Anonymous

    “The Reform didn’t tell Jews to stay in Europe. They did not forbid people from going to Israel.”

    Oh no of course, they were only to glad to be of assitance, Reform or Secular.

    On Feb. 16, 1943 Roumania offered 70,000 Jewish refugees of the Trans-Dniestria to leave at the cost of $50 each. This was publicized in the New York papers.
    Yitzhak Greenbaum, Chairman of the Rescue Committee of the Jewish Agency, addressing the Zionist Executive Council in Tel Aviv Feb. 18 1943 said, “when they asked me, “couldn’t you give money out of the United Jewish Appeal funds for the rescue of Jews in Europe, I said NO! and I say again, NO!…one should resist this wave which pushes the Zionist activities to secondary importance

    On Feb 1, 1940 Henry Montor executive vice-President of the United Jewish Appeal refused to intervene for a shipload of Jewish refugees stranded on the Danube river, stating that “Palestine cannot be flooded with… old people or with undesirables.”

    “In 1938 July 6-15, President Roosevelt convened the Evian conference to deal with the Jewish refugee problem. The Jewish Agency delegation headed by Golda Meir (Meirson) ignored a German offer to allow Jews to emigrate to other countries for $250 a head, and the other Jewish groups made no effort to influence the United States and the 32 other countries attending the conference to allow immigration of German and Austrian Jews. ”

    “In 1948 President Roosevelt planned to open gates of America to 150,000 refugees, and Great Britain agreed to follow suit. When Roosevelt’s emissary Morris L. Ernst came to England, the Zionist leaders declared: “This is treason. You are undermining the Zionist movement”. As a result, Roosevelt informed Great Britain that the project must be abandoned: “We cannot put it over because the dominant vocal Jewish leadership won’t stand for it”.

    On Feb. 24, 1943 Stephen Wise, President of the American Jewish Congress and leader of the American Zionists issued a public refusal to this offer and declared no collection of funds would seem justified.

    In 1944, the Emergency Committee to Save the Jewish People called upon the American government to establish a War Refugee Board. Stephen Wise testifying before a special committee of Congress objected to this proposal.

  10. I’m familiar with that argument. What you don’t realize is the official orgs could not funnel money (openly) to states alled with Germany. They had to get money to Switzerland, launder it, and then send it. If they had been caught during wartime doing this, there would have been Jewish intrernment camps in America just like we had for Japanese Americans.

    Many people failed during the Holocaust. Stephen S. Wise certainly did. So did the 6th Lubavitcher rebbe.

    But those failures need to be put in their proper context.

  11. Shmulik

    “ONLY the Lubavitcher REbbe got it right …”

    Yup, there were no other right wingers against the Oslo Accords… just THE REBBE!!! bloody delusional lubabs…

  12. Yehud

    Shmarya, I feel like you are blaming the 5th and 6th lubavitcher rebbes for not being prophets and KNOWING that all this evil would happen. Just like any leader, they had to make decisions based on all the evidence and research they had on a particular topic. When you read what the rebbe Rashab writes about the zionist movement in his day, you can see why he didn’t support it. If I would have lived back then, and I had the information the Rebbe Rashab had, I too would have rejected Zionism. It sounded like they were more concerned with the movement than with people. Furthermore, the Rebbe Rashab was right on a number of the points he made above. The secular zionists planned to divorce Jews from their religion, and try to brainwash the young people into becoming secular; something they accomplished very successfully with new immigrant children.
    As for the Rebbe Rayatz, he made a calculated decision that the Jews should stay in Europe. He really believed that things would turn out ok, given what he had seen. I think the entire world was shocked and taken by surprise when Hitler broke his word and started WWII. SO why would you hold the Rebbe Rayatz to a higher standard than the governments of the world at that time for not knowing Hitler’s intentions? I also think that the Rebbe Rayatz’s decision to stay was similar to the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe’s decision to stay in crown heights when all the other Jews were leaving. The Rayatz knew that many Jews would not be able to afford to leave, and felt they would lose their numbers and communities, and be even more vulnerable to the antisemitic persecutions of the europeans than ever. They would also probably lose out on their Yiddishkeit and torah way of life etc. So when it boils down to it, you cannot blame these Rebbe’s for making the best decision they could given the facts before them.

  13. Chabad views these rebbes as infallible. They also coverup the history their anti-Zionism. Chabadniks need to know the truth about their rebbes and so do the rest of us.

  14. Yehud

    Moshe even admitted to a mistake in the torah. Are you sure they hold them to be infallible. I have never heard a lubavitcher say, “All chabad rebbes were infallible and foresaw every single futute event, and could never make a mistake.” Can you prove that the majority of chabadniks hold like this?

  15. It’s Chabad 101. Basic, everyday Chabad theology. A perfect tzaddik cannot sin and cannot lead others to sin. He only does the will of God, and everything he says is holy. (Look in the Tanya.) Chabad views its rebbes as perfect tzaddikim (in the Tanya’s sense of that) and prophets. A Chabad rebbe cannot say x bad thing will not happen and then have it happen.

  16. Anonymous

    BTW Shmarya, I keep odd hours, and I see you reply at all hours of the day…but I wonder, when do you sleep and for how long?

  17. anonymous

    I don’t have quotes, but I’m pretty sure Reform rabbis were among those German Jews who said, and believed, that Nazism was a passing phase and that Germans of the Mosaic faith had no reason to leave the country.

  18. Almost every German Jew said that. We’re not talking about Germany here. We’re talking Poland, Russia, Belarus, etc.

  19. D

    “Almost every German Jew said that.”

    That is false. When my grandparents left Mainz in 1938 the Rabbis of the community shul came to their house and requested that they take a Sefer Torah with them. Basically, it was the “conventional wisdom” that the entire community was slated for destruction. The problem was that there was absolutely noplace to run. In my grandparents’ case they had cousins in the US who could sponsor them. Barring that there was no way out from the gathering storm.

    Those who made the “passing phase” assertion knew they were hoping against hope. Most likely they were trying to put a pleasant face on what would have otherwise become a community-wide panic; lipstick on a pig, if you prefer.

  20. Lawrence M. Reisman

    “Almost every German Jew said that.” Until Kristallnacht, which shattered all the illusions. A friend who lived in Washington Heights 30 years ago said one of the most dangerous places to be was in a room where those who left before K-nacht and those who left after started arguing if it was good or bad in the old country. You can surmise how opinions differed, and they were strong!

  21. That was 1938, AFTER Kristallnacht and after the Nurenburg laws were passed.

  22. D

    “That was 1938, AFTER Kristallnacht and after the Nurenburg laws were passed.”

    Nope. They left BEFORE Kristallnacht. And they had been putting together their plans to leave Germany over a year before then. They knew of at least one neighbor, a well-established physician, who committed suicide around the same time.

    Every Jew, in Germany at least, knew what was coming despite all official attempts to deny it. AFA the eastern countriess are concerned that is another kettle of fish.

  23. Ahavah bat Sarah

    That’s MS. Ahavah, Avrohom.

    And actually, fundamentalist xian theologians have been saying the same thing since the 1800’s, predicting both the re-formation of the state of Israel and the subsequent troubles – including the pressure to give away land and the fighting about it. So no, the Rebbe was hardly the only one. And no, just because someone said it doesn’t make their total theology right or even close to right, otherwise we’d all be fundie xians. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day – or once on military time.

  24. Ahavah bat Sarah

    Shmarya, I feel like you are blaming the 5th and 6th lubavitcher rebbes for not being prophets and KNOWING that all this evil would happen…

    These rabbis claim to be representing God, they claim to be able to legislate for God’s people, they claim God has showed them the right way to do everything. So how could they be so wrong? It’s not unreasonable to hold them to a higher standard – especially since they gladly occupy that high position and claim all the authority that goes with it. Abraham didn’t even have the Torah and had only just gotten circumcized when God told him what was about to happen – surely they’re in the same leadership position as Abraham was. Amos says that God doesn’t do ANYTHING without revealing it first, so why didn’t they know?

  25. avrohom

    Ms. Ahavah,

    HOw convenient of you for so intellctually and morally dishonest. You ca n go back and forth showing how the
    gods” and your idols have said “Vaguely
    ” about the formation of the state of israel and it’s troubles. The difference is: The the REbbe is the ONLY one who at Sadat’s visit said clearly that it would aharbinger of bad news…and SO IT WAS all your idols were saying MAZALTOV!

    WE are not talking about a small event…we are talking about one of the greatest dignificant events in hte past decades for all jewry and ONLY the Rebbe was clear about the immediate dangers.

    It’s like the clock being right 23 AND 1/2 hours of the day while your gods and idols were dozing of…

  26. Rowan Berkeley

    Today’s Lubavitchers seem unable to grasp that their state idolatry is just as bad as that of the secularists.

  27. Non stop obsession

    One wonders why the author of this blog has a non stop obsession with anything Chabad? Why does he hate any representation of orthodox Jewish living? Or is it anything Jewish? Get a life.

  28. justayid

    “The Reform didn’t tell Jews to stay in Europe. They did not forbid people from going to Israel. And they changed their position after the Zionist movement took hold. Chabad fobade Jews from leaving Europe. It forbade all but a handfull of specially chosen Jews from going to Israel. And it changed its position on Zionism only when Israeli government sheqels came their way.”

    Quibbles – SOME Reform rabbis, like R. Stephen Wise, (may his memory be a blessing) and R. Abba Hiller Silver (may his memory be a blessing) were Zionists from early on. Many others however were opposed even later on – the movement went Zionist in response to the laity more than to a change of heart by the rabbinate, a few of home left to form the American Council for Judaism and remained anti-zionist.

    Reform of course did not forbid aliyah – it didnt really forbid anything at all 🙂

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