Rabbi Shlomo HaCohen of Vilna

The head of the Vilna Beis Din, and author of the Responsa Binyan Shlomo.

Rabbi Shlomo HaKohen (1828-1905) said that he was amazed how Rabbi Chaim of Brisk and other rabbis were not more careful in their harsh declarations against masses of Jews. He stated the following in response to the anti-Zionist publication “Light of the Just”:

“The editors of the book perpetrated a vile deed in designating as ‘heretics disbelievers, and followers of Shabbatai Zvi,’ a hundred thousand men of Israel who hold to the Zionist position, among them several hundred rabbis, Gaonim (great sages), Tzaddikim (righteous), and men of learning and fear of G-d, and wise, intelligent people. Therefore it is forbidden for any Jew to possess the booklet, 'Light of the Just' in his house, and thus transgress, There shall not be in your house a shameful thing. For this book is bound to inflame a blaze of shameful controversy in the tents of Yaakov, and to split the house of Israel into pieces, G-d forbid." And, "How these rabbis left their pious ways to transgress a commandment of our Sages in Avot, to be like the students of Aharon, Loving peace and pursuing peace; loving mankind, and bringing them close to Torah, to send this fire into the hands of the editors of this book, to kindle the flame of controversy in the dwellings of Yaakov. Who can envision the end? Therefore, the obligation and mitzvah rests on those rabbis to repent and nullify the words of their letters in front of the public, for the honor of Torah and its students, and for the peace of the Israeli nation." Rabbi Shlomo HaCohen of Vilna. "The Advocate", year 5650)

Source: Torat Eretz Yisrael by R. David Samson and Tzvi Fishman. Jerusalem, Israel: Torat Eretz Yisrael Publications; 1991. page 240

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