As the founder and director of Ohr Naava Women’s Torah Center in Brooklyn, Rabbi Zechariah Wallerstein is one of the most highly respected rabbis in the New York area. He recently gave a lecture in which he urged all Jews to move to Israel no matter what, comparing the recent riots to Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) the nationwide pogroms in November 1938 that signalled the beginning of the Holocaust.
“I told people eight years ago that America is going to fall apart,” Rabbi Wallerstein said in a lecture on Sunday. “All of us, we all need to get out of here. We don’t belong here. There’s no question for anyone who is listening that it is time for us to go to Eretz Yisrael (the land of Israel). If you didn’t think it was time until now, there is nothing to talk about.”
“These (riots) are not happening in Eretz Yisrael. It’s not. Not rioting. If they riot, the Israelis do what they gotta do. It’s very different; the anti-Semitism, the liberalism, the atheism, it’s not on this level at all.”
“This all came down and people say, ‘Rabbi Wallerstein, you didn’t move!’ Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky (one of the most prominent rabbis of this generation) has been saying this for the last two years. And Rabbi Abraham Twersky (another prominent rabbi) said that it was time to move and he moved.”
Rabbi Wallerstein assured his students that the Messiah was imminent.
“[Jewish sources say that] in the times of Moshiach (Messiah) there’s going to be many warnings to get up and move. So I said, ‘Okay, let’s go!’. But at the same time I saw that my family is here, my grandchildren are here, they don’t speak Hebrew. My business is here. My friends are here. My organizations are here. You expect me to just pick up and go?”
“And the answer is ‘yes’.”
“This is what happened in the Holocaust when they had Kristallnacht, and they had these riots and they burned down shuls [synagogues]. I’ve spoken to many Holocaust survivors and I asked them why didn’t you run? Why didn’t you leave? They burned down the shuls!”
“They said that it was the government and it was going to pass. [Hitler] is a fascist. He’s meshuggeneh (crazy). They’re going to throw him out of government. Politics are going to change. My factory is here. My family is here. My [livelihood] is here.”
“And they didn’t leave. But they were saying the same thing I am saying now.”
“So I know it is very hard. I know you are going to ask, ‘Rabbi Wallerstein, are you going? Rabbi, you are giving me [rebuke] but are you going?’”
“Not right now, but do I know I should be going? One-hundred percent. I don’t have what it takes but I’m going to work on myself.”
“Because right now, America has had the worst violence. Liberal New York and liberal LA had the worst virus. Liberal New York and liberal LA are having the worst vandalism and riots. And this is where we live.”
“You are all saying that if I move then you will move, ‘Rabbi! Lead us to the Promised Land!’”
“All of us, we all need to get out of here. It’s not for us anymore. We don’t belong here anymore. Hashem took away a lot of the money that was keeping us here, the education that was keeping us here.”
“Hashem help us. Oy, I should have the koach (strength) to lead you.It is written in all the seforim (holy books) that this is what is going to happen; whoever is stuck in galus (exile) when Moshiach comes, and some of us are not even going to make it to Eretz Yisrael. It’s the best place. And the best place is in the west part of Jerusalem.”