Hayyim Ozer Grodzinski and the Orthodox Rejection of Zionism

At the opposite pole from David Friedlaender and Reform Judaism, many Orthodox Jews also reject Zionism and the state of Israel for conservative theological reasons. Traditionally, Israel could only be restored by the messiah, and many Jews felt that the creation of Israel as a secular state without God’s divine action was sheer blasphemy. I’ve discussed this in several blog posts, and have also put up videos of mass meetings by such Jews, as well as videos from anti-Zionist Orthodox rabbis. These make it very clear that they regard the creation of Israel as firmly against the teaching of the Talmud, the Jewish holy book that contains the Oral Law Jews also believe was revealed by Moses at the same time as the Torah and guidance from the great Jewish sages of antiquity on how the Mosaic Law should be interpreted and applied.

One Orthodox Jewish authority with a very conservative, traditional view of Judaism, who rejected Zionism was the Hayyim Ozer Grodzinski (1863-1940). I found this entry on him in John Bowker, ed., The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions (Oxford: OUP 1997) p. 390.

Talmudic scholar. As dayyan of Vilna, Grodzinski was one of the founders of the Orthodox Keneset Israel Organisation. He also organised the Va’ad ha-Yeshivot (council of the Yeshivot) for the support of Polish and Lithuanian yeshivot. He was an opponent of Zionism and Jewish secular education, believing ‘Let him who is firm in spirit stay steadfast in his place … until God has mercy on his people and hastens his redemption’. The author of 3 vols of Responsa, he believed ‘the lartge and small yeshivot were the strongholds of Judaism.

A dayyan is a member of a Jewish religious court. A yeshivah is a institute of Talmudic learning. Responsa are exchanges of letters on the interpretation of Jewish law.

Clearly, Grodzinski, like the Orthodox Jews, who today reject Zionism, was absolutely not an anti-Semite. And so those Jews and gentiles, who also reject Zionism, or simply criticise Israel because of its persecution of the indigenous Palestinians, are also not the anti-Semites that the Israel lobby libels them as being, and it is grossly unfair and offensive to natural justice to smear them as such.

2 Responses to “Hayyim Ozer Grodzinski and the Orthodox Rejection of Zionism”

  1. Ctesias62 Says:

    Hi Beastie.
    I recall a few years ago during an Israel celebration in Trafalgar Sq that there was (as anticipated) a Palestinian protest corralled outside South Africa House. My “double-take” was caused by the smaller corral with some very orthodox looking gents also waving palestinian flags. Whatever their theological oddity it seemed admirable that they were there. Hope all’s going well with you ? JdeV

    • beastrabban Says:

      That sounds very much like the Orthodox Jewish anti-Zionists, Ctesias. As for me, I’m getting better slowly. 🙂 Best wishes,

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