The Empty Wagon

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Zionism's journey from identity crisis to identity theft

Zionism. The untouchable topic.

  • "Lack of knowledge has led to very confused ideas about religion, even among the chareidim."
  • "Even talmidei chachamim, rabbonim, and tzaddikim are not imbued with the [proper] understanding."
  • "Sadly, even in our own circles, the mold for shaping public opinion lies in the hands of the state of Israel."
  • "Regardless of how much we talk about [Zionism] and people listen and understand, nevertheless, in their hearts, they still kiss the idol."
  • "There are only a few groups left that do not follow after the Eigel ... But the rest of the chareidim travel on the train of Zionism ..."

These are some of the sentiments expressed by gedolei Yisroel specifically regarding Zionist hashkafos and the Torah community, both now and in the past. For those who find these statements more than a little disquieting, for those who can accept that what many think are Torah hashkafos are actually their opposite — and want to know the truth ...

The Empty Wagon will open that door.


Throughout history, the Jewish people’s identity, self-image, and worldview came solely from the Torah. Then the Zionists arose and strove, for over a century, to implant their own ideas into the consciousness of the Jewish people. More than anything else — even more than their desire to create a state — the Zionists wanted to change the Jewish people’s hashkafos — to change their very identity. And in that, to a great extent, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

Today, many people — b’nei Torah included — have accepted Zionist hashkafos, often mistaking them for Torah ideas, or at the very least, compatible with them.

  • What are the Jews? A nation? A religion? A family?
  • Can a Jew who does not believe in the Torah still love the Jewish people?
  • What is the relationship between the Jewish people and Eretz Yisroel? What do we mean when we say it is “our land”?
  • What is the purpose of the Galus? How does it protect us from destruction?
  • Why does anti-Semitism exist? Can we do anything to control it? How should we react to it? And how did we survive for millennia in exile in the face of repeated persecution?
  • Who are the enemies — and friends — of the Jewish people?
  • What is the Jewish attitude toward war and warriors?
  • Why did the Jewish people never feel shamed at being mocked by anti-Semites?

These and other such questions, once simple and clear to all Torah Jews, have, since the advent of Zionism, become subject to great ignorance and confusion. Zionism’s false and heretical hashkafos, values, and Jewish identity claim to be the true Jewish values, hashkafos, and identity, and many frum Jews have tragically fallen for it — in whole or in part. If someone wants to extricate himself from Zionism’s influence, he must maneuver through this mess of false ideology, false Judaism, false history, false politics, and a false worldview. The Empty Wagon seeks to assist the reader in doing just that.

Author: Rabbi Yaakov Shapiro
Hardcover | 1394 pages | ISBN 9781647647926