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There is a story told about the Brisker Rav that he was asked how he can oppose Zionism when the Zohar says that Israel will be under control of (secular) Jews before Mosiach comes (He answered that future knowledge of people doing something wrong does not make it right).

I also remember an essay of a speech (also anti-Zionist) given by Rav Schach in the 1970s where he mentioned a Gemora in Sanhedrin (it gave the daf) that he also understood as being a reference to the existence of the state of Israel before Mosiach comes.

Surprisingly I’ve never seen any pro-Zionists mention that Zohar or that Gemora. Does anyone know where they, or any references in Chazal understood as being a reference to the existence of the current state of Israel are?

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    To be clear, you are looking for: A) a source in the Zohar, B) a source in BT Sanhedrin, and C) Religious-Zionist sources that address sources A and B. Is that correct? Commented Jul 8 at 16:25
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    Any source but particularly the first two
    – Schmerel
    Commented Jul 8 at 16:32
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    Em ha-Banim Ch. 2, sec. 9 discusses this general topic (the redemptive process in the Land of Israel beginning through sinners before the advent of the messiah). Commented Jul 8 at 16:51
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    IIRC the source in the Zohar refers to these people as Erev Rav so the Zionists would not want to use that source and call themselves Erev Rav
    – zunior
    Commented Jul 8 at 19:24
  • Are you asking about the state of Israel or the State of Israel?
    – shmosel
    Commented Jul 8 at 20:15

2 Answers 2

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Megilla 17b-18a goes thru the Amida as what will happen in the end of times. Although it doesn't mention a secular state, it says that first the Jews will come back (Isaiah 27:13 implies that this may be only from Iraq and Egypt, not the whole world) and only after that, there will be a judgement on the wicked. It goes through each b'racha until the end when we have Mashiach and the service in the Bet Hamikdash.

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The Satmar Rav often quotes from this Zohar (see for example Al HaGeulah Ve Al Temurah, Siman 61). It can be found in Zohar, Ki Teitzei 12:64 (279a). It reads:

[The fourth exile] is called a pit where an ox has fallen. This is why it is written of Yosef, "The firstling of his herd, grandeur is his" (Deut. 33:17), of him it says, "And they...cast him into a pit" (Gen. 37:24), which is the female; "and the pit was empty" is the male, which is empty, without Torah, but with snakes and scorpions in it. This is the fourth exile, which is a generation of evil people, filled with snakes and scorpions that are scoundrels like snakes and who are scorpions (akrabim) since they uprooted (akru) the words of the sages and give false judgments. Of them it says, "Her adversaries have become the chief" (Eichah 1:5). "And he looked this way and that, and when he saw that there was no man" (Shemot 2:12) of Yisrael among the wicked mixed multitude. This will be at the end of exile. And because of that the end, the time of redemption bores all the way to the great abyss. And the Faithful Shepherd: Tehom [abyss see Gen. 1:2] is Hamavet [the death'] spelled backwards, and death is no other than poverty. It has been clarified up high, before the Tannaim and Amoraim, that they will all descend for your sake into the deep [the fourth exile], to help you.

Refer also to the Zohar in Parshas Shemos 7b:

ומלכא משיחא יתידע בכל עלמא. וכל מלכין דעלמא יתערון לאתחברא לאגחא קרבא ביה. וכמה (עמין) מפריצי יהודאין יתהפכו לאהדרא לגבייהו. וייתון עמהון לאגחא קרבא על מלכא משיחא. כדין יתחשך כל עלמא חמש עשרה יומין. וסגיאין מעמא דישראל יהון מתין בההוא חשוכא. ועל דא כתיב כי הנה החשך יכסה ארץ וערפל לאומים.

Messiah will be publicly known throughout the world, and all the kings of the world will join together to do battle with Him.

Many of the renegades of Yisrael will turn and join THESE NATIONS to war against the king Messiah; then will the world darken for fifteen days. Many of Yisrael will perish during this darkness. Of this it is written, "For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples" (Yeshayah 60:2).

English translation taken from here (modified).

Further information can be found in Teshuvos Vehanhagos (Vol. 2, Siman 140). In Teshuvos Vehanhagos, it is said that even if sifrei kabbalah predict this, it is forbidden for a Jew to behave in a way that is prohibited by Torah, and it is prohibited to inherit the Land. (see also the sefer "Achakeh Lo: I Will Await Him, Rabbi Yirmiyahu Cohen, p. 376).

And he answered that it is forbidden to do so in Torah explicitly, and it is also forbidden according to the six Torah prohibitions, and said that one cannot defy the will of the Creator and the strength of the One without any lack, and the raising of the Shechinah and therefore the holiness will rest and be removed from among the evil ones.

The Brisker Rav said that even if it was foretold, a Jew must do his best to stay on the path of Torah. He then quotes the Rambam (Hilchos Teshuvah 6:5):

Because He did not decree that a particular person would be the one who strayed. Rather, each and every one of those who strayed to idol-worship [could have chosen] not to serve idols if he did not desire to serve them.

Rabbi Yirmiyahu Cohen cites a Raavad (Hasagot HaRa'avad; Hilchos Teshuvah 6:5), that says that Hashem's knowledge does not force people to do anything. Their free will remains intact. In our case as well, the Raavad would say that the excistence of these prophecies about a Jewish State do not mean that we should fulfill them. We try our best to do only what the Torah allows.

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    I don't see how this answers the question asking for what the sources are. Not why the anti-Zionists do not take them into account.
    – Schmerel
    Commented Jul 8 at 17:59
  • I provided three sources...
    – Shmuel
    Commented Jul 8 at 18:04
  • I changed the English translation to match the section you quoted in the Hebrew. I also changed the word "oppressor" to "renegades" to match your interpretation (which appears to be correct, פריצי יהודאין are apparently Jews, not oppressors of Jews; apparently the other site is trying to translate in a way that also includes the word עמין which is parenthesized in the text you quoted)
    – b a
    Commented Jul 8 at 18:05
  • I don't see any of those three sources. The Zohar can easily be understood as referring to something other than the state of Israel. The other two are just why those sources have no relevance. They aren't the actual sources themselves
    – Schmerel
    Commented Jul 8 at 20:18
  • That Zohar is understood by many, many gedolim to refer to the State. The Zionists would ofcourse not cite that Zohar.
    – Shmuel
    Commented Jul 8 at 20:24

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