Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Lehren, Jewish community leader in Amsterdam (1844)

Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Lehren was the leader of Kehillas Yereim in Amsterdam and president of the Kollel of Rabbi Meir Baal Haness, the institution that distributed funds to European Jews who lived in Jerusalem and studied Torah. In 1810 he founded Pekidim V’amarcalim, an organization to manage those funds. The following is taken from a letter he wrote together with his colleague Rabbi Eliyahu Avraham Prinz and sent to all the gedolim of his time, including the Ksav Sofer, Rabbi Yehuda Asad, the Yitav Lev, the Maharam Shick and others. It can be found in the first chapter of the Responsa of Riva, Rabbi Yoel ben Eliezer Ungar of Paks, Hungary. The letter was written in reaction to a conference of Reform rabbis in Braunschweig, Germany at which they repudiated belief in the messiah and the redemption from exile. Rabbi Lehren wrote that they adopted this heresy thinking it would win them equal rights in Germany, but this was wrong. On the contrary, our emunah will find favor in the eyes of the gentiles, since we are loyal to them; our messianism is confined to religious belief and will never lead to us taking action on our own.

We and all our Jewish brothers are believers, children of believers, in Hashem and the Torah of Moshe His servant, written and oral, and we believe with perfect faith in the coming of moshiach, as foreseen by the prophets of Hashem. As the Rambam says, this is one of the fundamentals of our emunah. 

We also believe with perfect faith in the mitzvah written in Scripture (Mishlei 24:21): “Fear Hashem, my son, and the king; and do not mingle with changers.” We also believe in what Chazal say (Kesubos 111a) that one of the oaths that Hashem made Israel swear is not to rebel against the nations of the world, and we are not permitted to take any action to come to the Promised Land. Even if we had 1,200,000 soldiers bearing swords and trained in warfare, we would not be allowed to ascend and conquer Eretz Yisroel; rather we must wait and hope until Hashem desires to redeem us and bring us to the inheritance of our forefathers, and all the nations will see that Hashem Tzevaos is our Redeemer.


Rabbinic Quotations