Rabbi Ahron Roth, Shomer Emunim Rebbe (1894-1946)

A festive meal was held to celebrate the completion of a Torah scroll in memory of the Jews killed in the Holocaust. All the Chassidic rebbes and heads of yeshivas attended, including the Rebbe. He said down at the table opposite the Zionist chief rabbi [Herzog]. He asked others who this man was, and they replied that it was the Zionist chief rabbi. The Rebbe immediately stood up from his place and left the hall. On the way home, he said, “I did not want to sit at the meal together with him.” One of the Chassidim commented that this chief rabbi was somewhat better than his predecessor, but the Rebbe said angrily, “I don’t want to hear any praises of him. If he is with them, it is forbidden to speak positively of him.”

Once the Rebbe was taking a walk in the field and his Chassidim wanted to bring him a chair to sit on and rest. But the Rebbe refused, preferring to sit down on a rock. “I don’t want to sit on something that the wicked Zionists made,” he said. “I would like to sit on a place that these wicked people did not yet touch and defile.”

He scrupulously avoided any words that came from the Zionist language, modern Hebrew. Once he was at an engagement meal and was honored with reading the engagement contract aloud. The contract said that the bride’s side promised to give “rehitim” (furniture). When the Rebbe reached this word, he stopped reading and said, “This is a Zionist word! Although we find the word used in the Bible (Song of Songs 1:17), it has not been used for a long time, and so whoever uses it today is using it because of the influence of modern Hebrew!” (Furthermore, the original meaning of the word was beams or bolts, not furniture.) Then he tore up the document and told them to rewrite it. “But what word should we use for ‘furniture’?” they asked. He replied that they should use the Yiddish word “mebbel.” (Mishkenos Haro’im, p. 743)

It is a temporary settlement that will not be successful in the end, for soon we will see the fulfilment of “to dump the wicked out of the land”. (Az Nidberu, p. 77)

The Rebbe always spoke strongly against coming close to the wicked, saying that we must have no connection with them and stay as far from them as possible. At the end of his life he said often that it is a miracle that these wicked people do not command us to put on tefillin, for if they were to pass such a law, it would almost be forbidden to put on tefillin, since we must always do the opposite of what they do. (Preface to Shomer Emunim)


Rabbinic Quotations

Modern Hebrew

Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac Herzog