Rav Avigdor Miller on The Russian Conundrum



What is the significance of the movement of Jews from Russia to Israel and the fact that it’s so many irreligious Jews coming to the country?


The exodus of the Jews from Russia – now where they’re going to, I’m not going to discuss now; to Israel or anyplace else but the exodus of Jews from Russia, you have to know is a glorious opportunity for teshuva for the Russian Jews.

I want to explain that.

The world does not know – the facts are concealed by many well-meaning people – but the Jewish people rebelled against Hashem in Europe. When the Communists took over Russia, the Jews were enthusiastic about them. The most active Communists were Jews; they were called the Yevsektsia, the Yevrayishe section. The Jewish Communists were the ones who closed down all the synagogues. They closed down all the yeshivas. They closed down all the mikvaos.

Now, the gentile Communists also to some extent persecuted the religions in Russia, but nowhere as severely as the Jewish Communists persecuted the Jewish religion.

In every town, they had mishpatim, trials. The whole town came together and there were judges up front, Communist judges. And who were the people, who were the ones being judged? They judged the Jewish cheder. The cheder was on trial.

And witnesses, Jews, came up and spoke against the cheder, “It’s dirty and the children are persecuted.” “The rebbe hits the boys.” All kinds of lies they said against the cheder.

And finally the judges said, “We’ll ask the people now – what’s your verdict against the cheder? Should we close down the cheder?”

And the Jews raised up their hands to close the cheder. And then they went right away and locked up the Hebrew school in every town. They made a trial in every town and they locked up all the Hebrew schools.

Once in a while, there was one Jew who tried to protest, but he was risking his life. A Jew who tried to protest was risking his life in Communist Russia. Because the Communists wouldn’t stand for that. And so the Jews enthusiastically threw away the Torah; they threw away Hakodosh Boruch Hu and they embraced the Communist avodah zara.

Who dreamed that seventy five years later the whole thing would collapse like a bubble that bursts into nothing? Lenin was standing in the Red Square; a big statue with his arm outstretched: “To the future! Forever and ever!” Who would dream the time would come when they’d pull the arm off to break it down? They broke off his head. The whole statue is broken down. They took it away someplace else – in the garbage, in the junkyard. Who dreamed about that?

But at that time, the Jewish people—I must say it because it’s the truth—the Jewish people bowed down to the avodah zara.

Not only then. Even before the Communists came very many Jews were already disaffected with the Torah. They spoke with criticism against rabbanim. For a hundred years the maskilim were hammering away at Yiddishkeit. At first the Jews didn’t listen to the maskilim. But then they started publishing newspapers in Yiddish and in Hebrew. And the Jewish people began reading their newspapers. And the newspapers poisoned the masses. The masses were poisoned!

At the beginning of World War I there were thousands of periodicals published by the irreligious. Only one daily newspaper, the Varshive Tageblat, was published by frum Jews. And so the Jewish people read this poison every day.

The Chofetz Chaim said, אין בית אשר אין שם מת – there wasn’t a house where there wasn’t at least one child that was spoiled, an apikores. In some houses, all of them became apikorsim. And therefore, the Jewish people began to look with eyes of disfavor on their Torah even before the Communists. And therefore, it’s their fault. The Russian Jews chose to go lost. It wasn’t merely an oness, that they were forced. No, they chose to go lost!

And Hakodosh Boruch Hu punished them. Many went lost forever and ever. Many intermarried with gentiles and their children are gentiles and they’re lost in Russia. They don’t even know they’re Jews. And it’s a punishment forever and ever and ever!

The parents are in Gehenom now, the Jewish Communists, and their children are sending them packages of poison for them in Gehenom. If they would have had children who are doing mitzvos, they’ll send packages of mitzvos and maasim tovim to their dead parents. But now that their children are goyim and lost among the nations, the children are sending packages of poison to the parents forever and ever.

The greatest misfortune is ואבדתם בגוים – to go lost among the nations. Like Rabah said, “מסתפינא מהאי קרא – I’m afraid of that passuk. מסתפינא מהאי קרא – I’m afraid of that passuk ואבדתם בגוים.”

The Russian Jews were to blame. They were to blame!

And so, it didn’t happen suddenly. It was a gradual development. They chose avodah zara. They thought, “From now on, forever and ever, Communism will rule the world. It’s a new order. No more religion. No more Torah. All Mankind will be equal.” And so when they saw that the bubble burst finally and instead of Russia being the homeland, they saw now that the Pamyat and other Russian organizations are thinking of making pogroms—they’re talking about pogroms in Russia—they decided to leave.

Now where they’re going to go is a big problem. If they go to Eretz Yisroel and they get lost in the kibbutzim so it’s not much better than Russia.

And if they come to America and all they do is show off that they can talk Yiddish? That’s not enough. Of course there are some Russian Jews who did teshuva – very good! But a great many of them got lost. They send their children to universities here. I saw a picture of a Russian Jewish youth posing underneath a big portrait of the big tzaddik Martin Luther King. A big portrait of that tzaddik Martin Luther King; underneath was an admiring Jewish boy from Russia who looked up lovingly at the picture. They come to America to admire Martin Luther King?

However, some are saved. Some are saved. And baruch Hashem, in Russia itself today they’re opening mosdos, institutions to teach them Torah. There is even a possibility of yeshivas in Russia; it could be.

However, they need a big teshuva. They have to do a great deal of teshuva because what they brought upon themselves was their own fault – that’s the truth. The Jews persecuted Judaism in Russia more than anybody else did.

TAPE # 845 (September 1991)