Eim Habanim Semeichah, written in 1943, is Rabbi Teichtal’s comprehensive treatise on Settlement in Eretz Yisrael, Messianic Redemption, and Jewish Unity. Rabbi Teichtal’s personal history lends significance to this work.
Born in 1885 to a respected Rabbinic family, Rabbi Teichtal studied under the tutelage of some of the noted scholars of his day and was recognized at an early age as a talmid chacham. He served as the Rabbi of Pishtian, Czechoslovakia where he established the Moriah Yeshiva. His opinion on halachic matters was sought by many throughout Europe, and his responsa were published in a three volume work entitled Mishneh Sachir. During his 20 years in Pishtian, Rabbi Teichtal became a recognized Rabbinic leader of the so-called “Ultra Orthodox” world and shared the prevalent anti-Zionist sentiments of that community.
After Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, Rabbi Teichtal became active in relief activities in an effort to ease the plight of his community. When deportations began in 1942, he and his family went into hiding. At this point, Rabbi Teichtal came to the realization that the neglect of Eretz Yisrael had been a serious mistake. There, in the attic in which he was hiding, with virtually no books at his disposal, Rabbi Teichtal began the writing of Eim Habanim Semeichah, which he completed in one year. Unfortunately, Rabbi Teichtal did not survive the holocaust, dying Al Kiddush Hashem on a train on the way to the Mathausen concentration camp in January, 1945. His book, however, was deposited with a gentile family and retrieved by his daughter after the war. Thus his legacy and his teachings survived
Eim Habanim Semeichah presents classical sources in support of the settlement of Eretz Yisrael and the unity of the Jewish people as necessary preconditions for the Messianic redemption. Rabbi Teichtal advocates the concept of natural redemption that had been posited 80 years earlier by Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Kalischer. He also finds merit in the settlement efforts of the non-religious chalutzim, although he exhorts them to adopt Torah observance. The settlement of Eretz Yisrael is, according to the author, the beginning of a process of repentance and unification that will result in the Messianic Era. Rabbi Teichtal acknowledges his previous rejection of active settlement of Eretz Yisrael and engages in a psychological analysis of the ongoing rejection of this idea in the Orthodox world in spite of the grave situation of the Jews of Europe.
Many of the sources and ideas in Eim Habanim Semeichah are as relevant today as they were when the book was written. It is an important contribution that this work has been made available to the English speaking public.
The Book is available through the following distributors:
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