The Jewish people is still reeling in shock after the horrific attack by Hamas on October 7, in which 1,400 Jews, men, women and children, were butchered in a manner not seen since the Holocaust. Compounding the tragedy are the over 200 hostages, including little babies, whose whereabouts and wellbeing we don’t know. In the words of the ancient Jewish prayer, “May G-d have mercy on them and bring them out from distress to relief, from darkness to light, from captivity to redemption, now, speedily and let us say amein.”
Let’s take a step back and think about what this incident might mean for the future of the Jewish people.
From the time the Zionist movement began, the greatest rabbis opposed it. Their reason was simple: the Torah commands Jews not to establish their own independent state until the Messiah comes. The rabbis discouraged Jews from joining the movement, and after the state of Israel was established, they taught Jews not to take part in it. Jews should be peaceful citizens of their countries, and Jews in the Holy Land should be citizens of a peaceful non-Jewish country there. For decades, our organization has been spreading awareness of this topic among both the Jewish community and the world in general.
These brutal murders of innocent people set back the work of Torah Jews by years if not decades. How can Jews listen to the simple message of the Torah, when we are hurting as a people, our loved ones are dead and emotion drives people to extreme reactions?
Targeting innocent Jews, just for being Jews, plays directly into the hands of the Zionists, who have always claimed that Jews are unsafe anywhere in the world and therefore need a Jewish state to protect them. Terrorism strengthens the Zionist claim that Jews could never live side-by-side with Palestinians. And when people around the world stand in the streets holding signs in support of the terror groups, it just helps hammer home the Zionist point that it’s not only a few extremists, it’s the whole world against us.
Indeed, we are seeing many Jews becoming confused by current events. The need to free the hostages and stop Hamas is real and legitimate, but they generalize this to support for the state of Israel as a whole, if only out of fear for their lives.
Let’s remember: a large proportion of Jews are not Zionists ideologically. If peace can be restored in the Middle East, we are confident that Jews will be receptive to the Torah’s message. In the words of the Satmar Rebbe, Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum, of blessed memory, “Not all times are the same, and there will yet come a time when some Jewish hearts will be opened and their eyes made to see, and the reverberating voices of the previous generations, who strove for truth and authentic belief, will reach their ears.”