News

ATID Fellow Publishes Translation of Eim HaBanim Semeichah on Eretz Yisrael, Redemption, and Jewish Unity

Rabbi Moshe Lichtman, a current ATID Fellows, has just published an English translation of R. Yisachar Shlomo Teichtel's 1943 Eim HaBanim Semeichah. Written during the depths of the Holocaust, the book classical sources in support of settling Eretz Yisrael, advocating the concept of natural redemption. R. Teichtel praised the merits of the settlement efforts of the non-religious chalutzim, while exhorting them to adopt Torah observance. The settlement of Eretz Yisrael is, according to the author, the beginning of a process of repentance and unification which will result in the ultimate redemption.

The author of this monumental work, who ultimately perished in the on a train to the Mathausen concentration camp in January, 1945, originally shared the prevalent, Orthodox view which discouraged the active return to Zion. The Holocaust, however, profoundly changed his perspective. The annihilation of unprecedented numbers of his fellow Jews forced him to seek explanations. While some people found it too difficult and terrifying to cope with this new reality, R. Teichtal began to reassess some of his fundamental positions. The Holocaust inspired him to reexamine the issue of Israel's redemption. It helped him better understand the sources which he already knew, for he now saw them in a different, more relevant, light. Previously, he viewed Zionism as "a desecration of holiness and a defilement of the supernal and earthly [Holy] Land." Now, however, he realized that the nationalistic movement and the rebuilding of the Land were revelations of Divine Providence and a clear sign of the imminent redemption. Thus, relying almost exclusively on his phenomenal memory and keen insight, he wrote this book, in an attempt to show his fellow Jews the path of truth which he had so recently discovered.

Lichtman's translation of the book into English, with copious notes, references, and an insightful introductory essay, was aided by the editorial efforts of another ATID Fellow, Yoel Finkelman. Lichtman, who has been teaching about the importance of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael at various yeshivot and seminaries for a number of years, says that he seized the opportunity when asked to translate Eim Habanim Semeichah, realizing that making it available to an English speaking audience would be a valuable educational tool.

The book actually fits in very nicely with Moshe's ATID project. "My project as an ATID fellow is to develop a curriculum, or program of study, which can effectively convince students of the theoretical significance of aliyah, as well as its practical plausibility," he explains. "I believe that Eim HaBanim Semeichah can be a very powerful tool in achieving these goals. One could therefore say that I have been working on my ATID project for a few years now! I only hope that this translation, my ATID project, and my future projects in this area will generate a physical and spiritual return to the Holy Land and its Creator."

Moshe, who lives in Beit Shemesh with his wife Shoshanah and their 5 children, teaches at Yeshivat Sha'arei Mivasseret Yerushalayim.

To read more on Eim HaBanim Semeichah, click here. Many thanks to Moshe's mentor in ATID, R. Stanley Peerless, director of the World Council for Torah Education, for making available the book review from their website, which can be found at www.torahcc.org

Copyright 2000-2010 ATID. All rights reserved.