Jerusalem And The Complete Redemption

Referring to the recent move for dividing Jerusalem into two capitals, Reb Zalman writes:  “Today there seems to be a gathering momentum for various schemes to divide/share Jerusalem between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine. The current political vision is somehow awkward in comparison to what I wrote in 1967 and published in my Paradigm Shift. Had we acted then, so much bloodshed could have been prevented. It would pay to keep this vision in mind and to massage it to the current situation.”

When the 1967 article was published in 1993, Reb Zalman wrote the following introduction:  “This article, not accepted by several Jewish journals in May 1967, was written in response to the gathering clouds of the 1967 war. It was written about the same time as my response to Richard Rubenstein‘s “Homeland and Holocaust” that appeared in The Religious Situation, 1968. There I wrote, among other things, a proposal that we set aside one penny per gallon of gas to contribute to the United Jewish Appeal to be earmarked for the resettlement of Palestinian refugees.

“The United Nations is today not the instrument it could have become then. Perhaps in the current conflicts about the territories, we are approaching another nexus for rethinking these issues.”

What follows is a reprint of Reb Zalman’s 1967 article:


Jerusalem must be internationalized. This is the burden of these lines. The purpose of an internationalized Jerusalem is to make it possible for the Jews to keep Jerusalem, while at the same time opening the way for the complete redemption.

There are many intoxicants in humanity’s blood. Some of them are the result of the inhalation or ingestion of foreign substances; others are the result of experiences lived through. Pride, victory, and success create such intoxicants, and the voice that tries to speak a sobering word is shouted down.

This is an attempt to say a sobering word in the service of the same objectives that most Jews hold. Perhaps all we wish to do is to extend the aims and to make more feasible a long-range view of peace in the Middle East, along with the redemption of Israel and all nations.

A Jewish Jerusalem would be good, but it would postpone the complete redemption and recycle the possibility of a Jewish defeat. We want the world to recognize our claim to Jerusalem. On no other basis can we negotiate with the world. One can negotiate only that which exists as a claim. Even a de facto recognition of the claim makes negotiations possible.  This we want.

Those who want to raze the Moslem and Christian holy places and rid Israel of “abominations” invite dangerous “liberations,” “holy wars,” and “crusades.” This we don’t want. A Jewish Jerusalem in which the right of access to the holy places will be given as a matter of natural right to Christians and Moslems is what Israel is offering. An internationalized Jerusalem that will be under territorial autonomy of the United Nations is what “world opinion” is demanding. We wish to state why we think that this is even better for Jews and for the “complete redemption” than a territorially Jewish Jerusalem.

A complete redemption is one in which all parties are redeemed, judged, and justified before God. There are still some Jews who believe in and hope and pray for the complete redemption. Some think this is a dream that cannot be realized. Some think that for the sake of the complete redemption, only Jews need to be redeemed. We think that a complete redemption must not enslave another or cause him loss of property or face. The Hebrew words G’ullah Sh’lemah, total redemption, imply no halfway measures. Because of this, we hold that a redemption that causes distress, upset, loss of face, honor, or any other form of enslavement must include in itself the seeds of the same for the “redeemer.” In this way, Versailles included Auschwitz. What is gained by might is lost by greater might. A Jewish Jerusalem will suffer the Christians and the Moslems but will not greet them as its own. When the Ukrainian peasant had to get the keys of his Provoslavna (Russian Orthodox) Church from the Jew because this was the way the Roman Catholic landowner had arranged matters, we suffered under Chmielmtzky. The salvational value of a pilgrimage to a holy place is undermined when a pilgrim has to pour out his heart to his God that he may free the place from the hands of infidels. We wish no Moslem or Christian to pray for another redemption. Their holy places must be their own. It is in our interest to keep the messianic spark contained in Christianity and Islam alive in order to motivate Moslem and Christianity to the age of the plowshare.

The messianic element demands that the Moslem, Christian, and Jew need the messianic era as Moslem, Christian, and Jew. Just as we cannot be asked to enter a redemption that excludes the very basis of our wish to be redeemed — Judaism — so cannot others be asked to give up their basis for redemption. Just as our own messianic hope cannot be fulfilled by means of the Christian or Moslem channels, so cannot we demand that others relinquish their hold on the source of their values.

The messianic new “Torah which will come forth from Me” (Isaiah 51:4) must be more redeeming than any previous one (Jeremiah 31:33). It will have to transcend the best that we know of God’s will at the present. The Holocaust and the atom bomb point to the fact that previous truths have not been good enough. This is why we are in various stages of exile. Exile of the soul, the mind, and the emotions. Exile from plenty and the good life, and exile from God and from our best selves.

A United Nations capital in Jerusalem instead of New York would be a move in the direction of the complete redemption. At present the United Nations is weaker than ever before. Humanity cannot afford this. When Castro and the People’s Republic of China are out of place in New York, peace is impossible. The United Nations needs sovereign territory of its own. If Jerusalem is to be what the New Jerusalem ought to be, it must not miss the opportunity to be the host of the United Nations. To be the house of prayer of all nations, Jerusalem must belong to all nations. When Jerusalem belongs to all the nations, then she is safe. Perhaps this is what is meant by “Jerusalem is destined to be spread among all the lands.” Israel ought, therefore, to demand of the United Nations that it move to Jerusalem, and, only on that condition, internationalize it. The sentiment of many UN member nations will move in this direction and we have a right to exact this price. Whatever financial expense this will entail, it could not exceed the cost of Arab-Jewish blood spilled for it. And not only the blood of Arab and Jew, but also of Jebusite, Assyrian, Roman, Saracen, and Christian. There is hardly any nation that did not contribute with blood to its soil. The Israeli armed forces have shown that they have what it takes to be the core of a United Nations peacekeeping force. The discipline that sought to prevent overkill and civilian hurt and pillage is one that ought to become worldwide.

Any person serving in the United Nations peacekeeping force should have to relinquish his or her nationality and become a world citizen. With the Israeli draft in force for the United Nations, Israel will become the first “no nation” under United Nations auspices. There is no worthier vocation of the kingdom of servitors and the holy folk than to serve peace. “Sim Shalom Tovah Uverakhah,” we pray thrice daily. Other people could, upon serving the United Nations in any capacity, become world citizens.

Jerusalem would be surrounded by Israeli territory. The currency of Israel would be hardened, employment increased, and security guaranteed. In dealing with Jerusalem and the holy places, one of the most benign myths in the world—that of the city of peace and goodwill—is placed in the service of these objectives. Just as the Vatican brings commerce, money, and pilgrims to Rome, which is only part of the world, how much more would Jerusalem enjoy these when it belongs to practically the whole world.

When, with the United Nations, mankind’s resources became located in Jerusalem— computerized libraries and communications making them available instantaneously and globally — a United Nations University would grow out of the Hebrew University, as well as colleges of various nations and cultures and seminaries of various religions. All this would be a step in the direction of the complete redemption: “and out of Zion shall come forth Torah.” It could take us as far as humanity can reach toward peace. What would God say when all of God’s children ask for God’s blessing and to dwell in Jerusalem?

(Gabbai Seth Notes:

A complete redemption is one that will be self-sufficient and satisfying for Jews everywhere.  Humanitarianism, environmentalism and universalism are all part of a Jewish caring and must be part of a complete redemption.  A decision to divide Jerusalem will not work in the long-term because of the effect it would have on deep-rooted feelings on all sides.  The effects on individual feelings of a division would not fade in time, but rather, grow.  A successful plan will address feelings over time.  Y’hi ratzon milfanecha / May it be Your will that this vision will come to pass, helping reduce bloodshed, anger, pain, suffering, illness and insecurity.  May our leaders keep it in mind and may the vision help pull us towards increased peace, health and happiness.  

Please share your comments. 

Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor.

3 Responses to “Jerusalem And The Complete Redemption”

  1. Leah Vaks Says:

    Is the Geula Sheleima a unilateral move?
    Can one establish peace against an enemy’s will? (Many would claim Jerusalem as dar-al-Islam, not as a haven of pluralism.)
    Does the real UN, not the idealized one, approximate the Kingdom of Heaven in any measure? Can it be trusted to represent all nations fairly and the values of the Torah authentically?
    Can a mamlechet kohanim survive without any malchut?
    Could one pass down Jewish identity to one’s children if one has relinquished Jewish nationality?

    Aside from these deeply-rooted doubts about its practical realization in our time, I feel that Rebbe Zalman’s vision may be a prophecy for the eschatological future–the acharit hayamim.

  2. Gabbai Seth Fishman (Blog Editor) Says:

    For some comments regarding this post, please see


    Dear Rabbis of the ASSEMBLIES around the world:

    First of all please pray for the demised Rabbis. In the recent terriost activities, three families of Rabbis died in the terror attacks in Mumbay. We have deeply mourned and prayed for our Rabbi families to have peace. Operations to rescue four Israeli including Rabbi GAVRIEL Holtzberg and his wife Rivka who were being held at a Jewish religious centre, ended tragically. All of them were killed by the terrorists.

    Please pray for their families and Global peace.

    If you have any peace material I can teach in our Messianic assemblies and public, please make me as part of your Ministry/organisation and help us to spread peace out.


    Dear beloved Brothers an sister in YHWH. Greetings to you all in the wonderful name of yahshua the Messiah and soon coming king.

    HalleluYAH I already introduced and sent the brief report of introducing our sacred truth work. You have gotten in touch with me showing YAHWEH love towards us.

    This year we are happily celebrated the Holy feasts. During the time of Holy feast season we all remembered all of you for joy, peace and healthy of life.

    Now I can send our brief report of Holy feasts 2008. We celebrated the Feast of Trumpet according to EXO 12:16,1 COR 15:50-53 and REV 29:1-6. We celebrated the Day of Atonement according to LEV 23:27-32. LEV chap 16. The day is associated with purifying the bride of the Messiah just prior to the wedding of the lamb. REV 19 AND ALSO 20,21 chapters. The feast of Tabernacle is a separate Feast, the eighty day period is one of the three pilgrims feasts spoken of DEUT 16:16-17, we also referred LEV 23:39, NUM 29:39, EXO 34:24, ZEC 14:1-2. We are extremely…

    We send the report of Feasts of Tabernacle 2008 on behalf of all the dear ones who joined with me to send the regards. Thank you YAHWEH for your great love.
    Each elder spoke on different subjects. On the last great day on of our service, elders voiced the vote of thanks. We did have a very happy Tabernacle remembered all of you
    to those who have celebrated Holy feasts with you . We thanked each and every one who came, took part and helped in some way to make the Holy feasts 2008 a zealous and uplifting experience for all.
    The Holy days were with the Elders with a spirit of joy peace prosperity and happiness. Every one exalted YAHWEH by celebrating Holy feasts. We want to unite with you as oneness family and grow under your stewardship. Our Messianic believers are very few and poor so as to unable to bring tithes and offering to YAHWEH’s presence. We can also run orphanages and widows home . Some time we do not have food to satisfy our hunger starvation. Even though we can strive hard to spread of the sacred truths to turn many minds towards abba YAHWEH.
    Dear beloved Brothers and sisters, YAHWEH promises to bless to those who cheerfully give to His sacred truth work. EXO 25:2, MAL 3:10.
    If you would like to receive your blessings for cheerful giving back part of what our ELOHIM has given you in tithes and voluntarily offerings then we ask you to pray, and then do as He leads you. What ever you send the love gifts for the celebrations of Holy feasts ,our YAHWEH bestow upon rich rewards in heaven. If you are unable to send your charities please forward my information to those who wish to send their benevolence to spread of the sacred truths to know our people. Please do not keep away us from your companionship. If you want to really see our YAHWEH sacred truth work please come down to India to deliver your valuable messages to win the lost. Your donations and charities can be sent through by post or western union .My postal address is ELDER.M.SRIKANTHCONGREGATIONS OF YAHWEHPO.ELAMANCHILIROMJI NAGARW.G.DT., A.P.S.INDIA E-mail :

    If you wish to send your love, gifts for the Holy day celebrations and for orphans and widows needs, please send your loving kindness to the given below western union details. The details are as follows.NAME: SRIKANTH SURNAME: MYLABATHULA CITY/TOWN: NARSAPUR DISTRICT: WEST GODAVARI STATE: A.P.COUNTRY: INDIA
    Please know that your tithes and offerings are not only needed but also needed your spiritual encouragement to exalt our most High name on earth. we are prayerfully expecting our kind response with blessings
    May the name of YAHWEH be glorified
    Yours in Him: ELDER.M.SRIKANTH

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