Non-Zionist Rabbis

[From the book "Be-Ahavah U-Be-Emunah" vol. 1, #21]

Question: Should we relate to non-Zionist Rabbis reservedly and in a unpleasant manner?
Answer: G-d forbid that such an idea should enter your mind! We are obligated to honor all Torah scholars, even if there are sharp differences of opinion between us and them, and anyone who scorns a Torah scholar is in the category of a heretic (Sanhedrin 99b). It is also forbidden for Torah scholars to scorn other Torah scholars. Scorning Torah scholars is like scorning the Oral Torah, which appears through the medium of the Rabbis and their students, and it is therefore heretical. The Jerusalem Talmud compares this to a structure of stones, if one stone is shaken, the entire structure is shaken (Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin 10:1). That is to say, one who scorns a Torah scholar, scorns and knocks over the entire building of the Torah in Israel (see "Perek Tzibbur" by Maran Ha-Rav Avraham in Ma’amrei Ha-Re’eiyah, p. 55).


It is, however, obviously permissible and a mitzvah to wage war against their mistaken opinions which do damage to all of Israel, but all of this must be done without scorning them, G-d forbid. The war of ideas is permissible, but it must be done with love, fraternity, peace and friendship, within the context of respect and awe. Maran Ha-Rav Kook explained that the ideal of "Great is peace" ("Gadol Ha-Shalom" – a midrashic expression lauding the important of peace) does not imply complete agreement, but rather that responding to harmful opinions does not necessitate dispute. We are able to respond with reasoned explanations, and through this, it will not in any way destroy the peace (Notes on the booklet "Or La-Yesharim," Ginzei Re’eiyah 3:27).


Note: In this vein, it is worth recalling the following story about our Rabbi, Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah:
Even though the Satmar Rebbe had a completely different outlook from our Rabbi, he never scorned or denigrated him. Once Ha-Gaon Rav Moshe Feinstein ztz"l issued a ruling regarding the height of a mechitzah between men and women in a shul, that in pressing situations it is permissible to be lenient in a particular issue. The Satmar Rebbe came out against him. Our Rabbi said: "It is known that our paths are separate and different, but in this issue he (the Satmar Rebbe) is correct." Even though they were polar opposites regarding the Redemption of Israel and Klal Yisrael (the entirety of Israel), our Rabbi never said one negative word about him.