Devarim: Is Zionism Judaism?



With yet another series of tragic losses of our young IDF soldiers protecting Jews, our concerns only deepen about the situation in Israel. Especially as we stand in the Nine Days, when we remember the siege and destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temples.

If you have ever listened to a Friday sermon broadcast from a Gaza mosque, you have heard a rant against the West, against the Jews, but especially against Zionism.

But what exactly is Zionism? How is it different from Judaism? Indeed, is it different from Judaism?

Today is Shabbat Chazon, the “Shabbat of Vision,” preceding Tisha B’Av, the saddest day of the Jewish calendar. Today we read the Haftorah of Isaiah’s vision, penned some 2,750 years ago. And this is the last sentence we read: Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and its captives with righteousness.

So, wait, is Zionism a new concept associated with the modern State of Israel, or is it thousands of years old?

Is only the State of Israel – the so-called “Zionist entity” – at war right now? Or is every single Jew at war?

Perhaps if we open the Jerusalem Talmud and study why it is that God calls the entire Jewish people Zion (Tziyon), we shall come to learn what it truly means to be Zionists (Tziyonim). And how being Zionists can help us win this war – so that we became Metzuyanim, a standout people that no nation or culture can ever subjugate.

All of the above is illustrated by a heartbreaking story of what it truly means to be a soldier in the Israeli Army.


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