"We do not believe in the rule of the heretics, and disregard their laws."
The Jerusalem Post and Ynet are reporting Rabbi Sholom Dovber Wolpe, the most popular Chabad rabbi in Israel, has published a new book arguing against Religious Zionism. The book, based on the Rebbe's teachings, is creating quite a stir in Israel. Rabbi Wolpe, deemed a "rebel" by "official" Chabad for his open endorsement of the late Rebbe's "messianship," is also planning a museum based on the Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial Museum to commemorate what he calls "Sharon's destruction of the Jewish communities in Gaza and the evil people who took part in that crime against humanity". Rabbi Wolpe's "theology" is mirrored by another wildly popular Israeli Chabad rabbi, Yitzhak Ginsburgh, who has been arrested several times for incitement.
The Jerusalem Post report starts here. (Ynet follows at the bottom of the post.)
In Between Light and Dark, Wolpe states, in an I-told-you-so way, that the disengagement proved Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the last Chabad-Lubavitch rebbe, was right about rejecting Zionism as a way of hastening the messianic era.…
Wolpe was instrumental in organizing anti-disengagement demonstrations before the Gaza pullout. Two weeks ago Wolpe organized a rally under the slogan 'we won't forgive, we won't forget' that drew thousands to the Jerusalem Convention Center [Binyanei Haumah].
"If this is redemption how could something so horrible happen?" asked Wolpe rhetorically. "The disengagement is God's way of saying that only the messiah, not the state will bring redemption."…
Rabbi Yehoshua Magnus, a spokesman for Rabbi Avraham Shapira, one of religious Zionism's most senior and respected spiritual leaders, said that Shapira and his many followers have not budged in their belief that the state of Israel has inherent holiness.…
Magnus said that although Shapira appeared on the same stage during a post-disengagement rally with Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzberg, another Chabad rabbi who rejects the religious Zionist idea that the state is a vehicle for redemption, he opposed Chabad's anti-Zionist theology. "For Rabbi Shapira the state is a religious entity."
Arel Cohen, secretary for Rabbi Zalman Melamed, rabbi of Beit El and a staunch opponent of disengagement, said that Wolpe's and Ginzberg's ideas are rejected by even the most extreme religious Zionist settlers.
"Rabbi Melamed always makes a clear differentiation between the state, which is a vessel that God, in His incredible loving kindness, gave us to bring the redemption, and the government, which is full of evil people. We don't thing we should be throwing the baby out with the bathwater," he said.
Melamed agreed to appear with Ginzberg and Wolpe at demonstrations under the banner 'we won't forgive [perpetrators of the disengagement], we won't forget' because, explained Cohen "Rabbi Melamed thinks they have a healthy way of thinking.
"They don't have the sickness some people have of hugging soldiers who come to kick you out of your house," said Cohen referring to more moderate religious Zionist rabbis such as Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, who have been attacked by Melamed for not encouraging religious soldiers to refuse IDF orders to evacuate Gaza.…
Yigal Amitai, a Yitzhar spokesman, said … while Chabadniks believe that only the rebbe can bring redemption, religious Zionists believe that a Jewish state, perhaps not this one, will eventually help usher in the messianic era.
Rabbi Yehuda Rubin, a Chabad emissary in Elon Moreh, a settlement, like Yizhar, that is located near Shechem, said that he read and agreed with Wolpe's book.
"But I won't put it in my synagogue library. It would only make people angry."
Rubin said that Chabad Hassidim oppose much of religious Zionism's theology.
"The rebbe prohibited his emissaries and Hassidim from saying the part in the prayer for the state of Israel that talks about Israel being the 'beginning of the burgeoning redemption'. He said this was a dangerous belief because it fools people into thinking that we don't need a messiah. He likened it to believing that darkness is light."
Still, for tactical reasons Rubin said he refrained from discussing the rebbe's views on these issues with residents of Elon Moreh unless he was specifically asked.
Wolpe said he has not decided yet whether he would translate his book into English.
"The rebbe told me twenty years ago that the time was not ripe to translate what he says against Zionism and the state of Israel into foreign languages. He did not want goyim to know that he talked badly against other Jews. "It gives strength to evil forces."
In the meantime, while he decides whether to translate his new book, Wolpe is keeping busy. He is raising money for a museum modeled after the Yad VeShem Holocaust Memorial that would commemorate what he calls "Sharon's destruction of the Jewish communities in Gaza and the evil people who took part in that crime against humanity".
Rabbi Wolpe's continued misuse of the Holocaust is troubling, as is the acceptance on the hard right (Chabad included) of the Disengagement=Holocaust, Sharon=Hitler theology he popularizes. It has been condemned in the strongest terms by Yad VaShem. Yet Rabbi Wolpe persists.
He also endorses violence against the State and the army (see the Ynet article below) and labels Prime Minister Sharon – whom he equates with Haman, the arch-enemy of the Jewish people – a "false messiah"
Rabbi Wolpe asks: "If this is redemption how could something so horrible happen?" asked Wolpe rhetorically. "The disengagement is God's way of saying that only the messiah, not the state will bring redemption."
So, why not say this, Rabbi Wolpe? "If this is redemption how could something so horrible happen? The Rebbe's death is God's way of saying that the Rebbe was not the messiah, and we know only the messiah can bring the redemption. It is time for us to move on."
But, of course logic (and truth) have nothing to do with Rabbi Wolpe's – or Chabad's – theology. Period, end of story.
Ynet's coverage begins here:
In new book, Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe says Israel should be replaced with ‘true Kingdom of David,’ calls on followers to refrain from praying for Jewish state’s wellbeing. ‘We are now in exile,’ he says
By Efrat Weiss
In a new book entitled "Between Light and Darkness," Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpe, a leader of the Chabad Chassidic sect that believes its chief rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson is the messiah, says religious Jews should view the secular government as an "administrative body, like the British government who controlled Israel before the country’s establishment.
Wolpe also says, "The religious Zionist public should prove that the State is unholy, and cannot serve as a means for achieving salvation. It must not pray for the country's wellbeing. We are now in exile and are waiting for the kingdom of the house of David."
Wolpe's call represents a sharp change from traditional Chabad-Lubavich thinking and match similar calls by some segments of the national-religious
community to disengage from the State in reaction to the Gaza disengagement. While Chabad, like most ultra-orthodox groups, has always been reticent about secular Zionism, group members serve in the army and have rejected insular approach of other orthodox groups in favor of engaging the secular world in order to encourage Jews to observe the mitzvoth, or commandments.
Sharon a 'false Messiah'
The cover of "Between Light and Darkness" carries a picture of the lit Temple's Menorah, and underneath it a darkened picture of the Knesset's building.
In the book itself, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is referred to as a "false Messiah" and as Haman, the historic nemesis of the Jewish people.
The bulk of the book is dedicated to the disengagement plan and to the uncertainties it spurred within the religious Zionist public.
"So many prayers were said from the bottom of the heart in the last year, in a bid to prevent the eviction and destruction," Wolpe writes. "The heart must wonder, why did God do this to this land? How is it possible that such a wicked man like the prime minister was able to jump over so many political hurdles, until he achieved his goal, the crime of the withdrawal" he asks, and answers:
"It is we that gave him the power. We determined that him, his state and his government are the beginning of our salvation. We blessed him before an open bible every Saturday. With such powers, it is no wonder that the false messiah storms forward without stopping, while taking his devotees and the rest of the Israeli people down to the abyss with him."
‘Replace Israel with true Kingdom of David’
According to Wolpe, the pullout was a sign from God that there is no relation between the existence of the democratic state and salvation, and that the religious public should therefore cease to believe in the holiness of the State and its institutions.
Referring to the religious Zionist teens who forcefully attempted to prevent the disengagement, Wolpe writes that "the Orange youth prays only for one thing: That the current rule, which is called 'the State of Israel' is abolished and replaced with the true Kingdom of David."
In the post-pullout period, Wolpe's ideas are not a rare sight among the rightist public. In a conference held in Jerusalem a few days ago, the participants wholeheartedly supported the principles expressed in the book, and thousands danced to the words of the song, "we do not believe in the rule of the heretics, and disregard their laws."