Definitions of Religious Zionism

I saw this comment from Chardal who said:

A religious zionist is:
Someone who either made aliya out of a sense of religious obligation OR someone who feels the need to find a valid religious excuse as to why they have not yet made aliya (ie, why they are patur). On a national level, this person feels that Jews should en-masse settle the land of Israel.

A religious non-zionist is:
Someone whose aliya is based on non-halachic religious considerations OR someone who feels no need to excuse their living in chu”l. On a national level, this person feels that there is inherent religious/pragmatic value in a large exile community and does not connect to any national project designed to move Jewry to Zion.

A religious anti-zionist is:
Someone who has to find a heter for making aliya and considers those who do so to be putting themselves in a spiritually dangerous position. If this person already lives in Israel, they are connected to the vestiges of the old yeshuv and consider themselves to be in a religious struggle against the state. On a national level, this person considers any national project to move Jews to Israel to be delaying the redemption.


Author: pitputim

I've enjoyed being a computer science professor in Melbourne, Australia, as well as band leader/singer for the Schnapps Band. My high schooling was in Chabad and I continued at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh in Israel and later in life at Machon L'Hora'ah, Yeshivas Halichos Olam.

10 thoughts on “Definitions of Religious Zionism”

  1. The Exile is an exisential state, whether we speak of dwelling in our beloved Eretz Yisroel or Chutz LeAretz.
    The Medina is here a homeland for our People
    Let’s us continue to strive for Moshiach.


    1. There is a halachic category of Eretz Yisrael. It is NOT Chutz La’aretz. It is about Kedusha that simply doesn’t exist elsewhere (let alone Mitzvos)
      Galus is another thing.


  2. Not sure what Chardal is talking about. Aliya is an essential, but hardly an exclusive component of Religious Zionism. A Religious Zionist sees the hand of the Ribbono Shel Olam in the kibbutz galuyot that preceded and post-dated the Holocaust, he/she views the autonomy associated with the establishment of the medina as having deep and positive religious significance, not to mention the notion of Itchalta De’geula. Just Aliya? Doubt it . . . . .


  3. He didn’t express it as such, but Kol Dodi Dofek hardly places him in a diametrically opposed position (c.f. Satmar, Chabad etc.) Having said that, what did he hold regarding the chiyyuv of Aliya?

    My understanding is that Rav Amital z”l, an ardent “chossid” of Rav Kook suggested that the passage of time since the establishment of the State means we now need to re-evaluate what we mean when we talk about Itchalta De’Geula. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any more specificity on exactly what he meant. But Itchalta is a concept open to very broad interpretation – the Rov was obviously not at the R’ Tzvi Yehudah end of the continuum, but I still think he was on the plane.

    In any event, the whole question of Aliya is presumably largely a halachic question. Is it bazman hazeh a mitzvah chiyuvis, mitzvah kiyummis, or neither? One can presumably be an ardent Religious Zionist yet conclude that there is simply no present day chiyyuv to make Aliya. Isn’t the question of Religious Zionism driven at least as much by hashkafic versus halachik considerations?


    1. He had no time for concepts like Atchalta. These are not Halachic categories. He did not feel every person had a mitzva to make Aliya. He required a very careful Shikul HaDaas before one moved.
      Of course, he agreed that once there according to the Ramban and others one fulfilled a Mitzvah.

      He was no fan of R Kook style religious zionism.


  4. The article is incorrect. The great majority of charedim, whether non zionist or anti zionist don’t need a Halachik excuse to live in Eretz Yisroel. To them it’s a zechus.


    1. Don’t ‘need’?
      Is this an attempt to denigrate as somewhat lesser those who see a Halachic imperative? Have you attempted to raise Zechus above Halacha? This is a chassidic style antinomian argument. Metaphysics has a place but it can never rise above Torah Shebiksav or Torah She Baal Peh anymore than ‘hashkafic’ considerations.

      Hashkafa is not an imperative unless derived from Halacha.

      Halachic man surrenders to this notion and emerges as the lonely man of faith


      1. If Halacha is irrelevant and it’s such a zechus to live in EY, then perhaps Chareidim should pay their dues and stop allowing non-Chareidi mothers and fathers to bear the disproportionate burden of losing their children soldiers in defense of that “zechus”.

        Yiddishkeit is about more than zechuyos, its about acharayos as well.

        האחיכם יבאו למלחמה ואתם תשבו פה?


      2. I was commenting on what he wrote about needing a heter to move to EY. Or “non halachik….considerations.

        I meant they don’t need any other reason, other than Yishuv Ho’oretz. According to him they look for any other excuse but that, which is not true.


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