Rabbi Eliezer Sadan (Rav Eli Sadan) – His Hands Remained Steady

I would be almost sympathetic with normative appeals to “political theology” were it not for the fact that the leading activists actually at work on the ground are reactionary. For anyone interested in the intellectual center of gravity in contemporary rightwing Religious Zionism in Israel, here’s Alan Brill on Rabbi Eli Sadan and a review of Sadan’s His Hands Remained Steady (Hebrew).

The Book of Doctrines and Opinions:

There is a trend of Americans rabbis going to Israel for a few weeks and upon return exclaiming: “how come we don’t have a Rav Shagar world here? Think of what our educational institutes would look like.” They imagine that Religious Zionist institutions, rabbis and youth are following Rav Shagar. It is somewhat akin to an Israel visiting Drisha, Mechon Hadar, and the 92nd St Y, then proclaiming that the lectures he heard are what is being preached by the RCA-OU.  In actually, the leading intellectual influence of the Religious Zionist world is Rabbi Eli (Eliezer) Sadan (b. 1948) the architect of the religious military preparatory programs, Bnai David, which in turn became a model for the others. I am offering this blog post as somewhat of corrective. (I will correct any errors as they are pointed out.)

Eli Sadan

In 1988 , Rabbi Eli Sadan together with Rabbi Yigal Levinstein…

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About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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2 Responses to Rabbi Eliezer Sadan (Rav Eli Sadan) – His Hands Remained Steady

  1. Berel Dov Lerner says:

    R. Sadan has some strange ideas, but if you want to use him as a window into the thinking of Religious Zionists you would do well to ask not what he writes, but rather what do students take away with them from participation in the programs he has pioneered. It is my impression that what sticks is a strong commitment to the Jewish People via participation in Israeli state and society. His sanctification of the state offers a kind of fundamentalist grounding for respecting the political process, respecting de facto political pluralism, and respecting the decisions of a democratically elected government. Thus, the old joke has settlers boasting about how difficult it would be to evacuate them in the context of territorial compromise. One guy says: they would have to send a whole company of soldiers to make us leave! The next says: they would have to send a whole battalion to make us leave! Then the guy from Eli (R.Sadan’s settlement) says: They would have to send a fax to make us leave! (sounds better in Hebrew). It’s also a bit disingenuous to mention R. Sadan’s connection with R. Tau without mentioning the great ideological drift that has taken place across the years. Rav Tau has become HarDaL: a Hareidi Zionist who wants nothing to do with academics etc., and as far as I know currently supports the Shas party. The programs associated with R. Sadan are very happy to see their graduates study in universities and join professions which can be of service to Israeli society.

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