Rav Ze’ev Javitz was born in Kolno to a distinguished and wealthy family renowned for its religious observance and adherence to the traditional Jewish way of life. He began writing at an early age and his first article of renown, Migdal Ha’meah synthesized his beautiful style of writing with his professional and scholarly historical knowledge. It dealt with the history of Judaism, covering the hundred years from the death of Mendelssohn (1786) to the death of Montefiore (1886). Being a member of Hovevei Zion, he put his writing talents to use for the Zionist cause. In a famous article, Be’Derech Tzeti, he describes the first aliya of the Bilu movement to Eretz Israel.
In 1888 Rav Javitz moved to Israel and first settled in Yehud, but soon moved to Zichron Ya’akov where he taught and published widely on educational theory. However, his educational ideals did not meet with the Baron de Rothschild’s favor and he was forced to leave Zichron Ya’akov after three years, moving to Jerusalem where he lived until 1897 when he left Israel altogether.
That same year the First Zionist Congress took place and Rav Javitz joined the movement with great enthusiasm. Returning first to Vilna, then Germany and finally London where he remained until his death in 1924, he became very active in the Mizrachi movement from its inception. He edited the Mizrachi paper, Ha’Mizrach, from 1903-1904 and served on its first Board of Directors. In this position he was called upon to write the party’s first statement of purpose. In this he wrote: Zion and Torah are two holy vessels which complement and need one another… There is no other force that can protect and strengthen the Zionist ideal except for the observance of true Judaism in all its aspects and in all its purity.
Rav Javitz devoted the remaining years of his life, not only to the Mizrachi party, but to researching, writing and compiling a historical encyclopedia called Toldot Yisrael. It covered Jewish history from the time of the patriarchs until the Hibbat Zion movement, but was only published in its entirety after his death. (The publication consisted of fourteen volumes). He wrote, as well, many books on education and midrash and is author of Mekor Berachot, a book on blessings and prayer. The fourth yishuv of Ha’Poel Ha’Mizrachi founded in 1933 in the Sharon Valley was named Kfar Yavitz in his memory.
|From His Writings:|
The Nature of Zionism in the Perspective of Mizrachi
“The whole spirit of Zionism, as expressed by Mizrachi, is according to my opinion Judaism in the most pristine and lofty state, when it is absorbed within the homeland of the Jewish people, in all its meaning, essence, nature and fulfillment. Just as it is impossible for the soul of Judaism to exist without the body of the nation of Israel, so is it impossible to rise and reach the ideal of totality without the promised land of our forefathers for only there can we feel the spirit of God…
Therefore, Zionism is to my mind and in the eyes of the Mizrachi Movement a conglomeration these three ideas: Torah, Israel and Zion. Their connection is strong and impenetrable. The Mizrachi movement only attempts to guide our hearts so that we might see these three ideas as equal to one another and devote our hearts, souls and strength to their cause.”
Source: “A personal Letter to the Rabbis”
The Role of Mizrachi
“The platform of Mizrachi rests upon its desire to impress upon the hearts of those opposed (to Zionism) a love of Zion; while at the same time to create in the heart of the (irreligious) Zionists – a love for the Jewish religion. It would be our wish to take these two and to synthesize them into one total Judaism, thereby having a complete creation, one which retains the Torah as its soul, the nation as its body, with its place in Eretz Israel.”
Source: “The Ideology of Mizrachi”
The Reasons for Establishing Mizrachi
“In the nations of the Diaspora it is no longer possible for our nation to breathe, that is, it is impossible for us to follow the Holy Torah and to live a life according to the commandments which are the basis of our spiritual wellbeing and to guard their purity because the present harsh times force us to attend to our needs.
Therefore, the hearts of those who love the spirit of our people and are true to the Torah of our God have decided that the hope of returning to Zion will give a firm basis to our unique status and gather our inner forces and guarantee the holiness of the Torah in all its aspects.
…Just as in all monetary decisions and business considerations, we join together with the rest of the Zionists, so too, we have called a special meeting for ourselves in order to discuss those things which are close to our hearts. We have not found any other way for our Torah to exist after Zion is rebuilt except by guarding the true Judaism in all its aspects and in all its purity.
Just as we have not found any other tool by which we can judge and express the love for Zion, except by way of the Torah and mitzvot, so too, we will not find any other tool which contains blessings and guards over our Torah in truth to return the hearts of the sons to the fathers, as the Zionist movement does…
Zionism and Torah are two holy vessels, which compliment one another and need one another.”
Source: The first Kol Koreh” – the first mission statement of Mizrachi
|The Living Land:|
Rabbi Tzvi Shechterman founded moshav Kfar Yavitz – named in memory of Rav Javits, in 1932. It is located in the upper Sharon region, near Tel Mond and 10 km from Even Yehuda. Rav Shechterman purchased the land that is close to Arab Tel Kuram and Taibe, and planted grapevines and orchards in order to sell the produce to Jews in the Diaspora.
True to the ideal of Jewish labor, a pioneering group of new immigrants associated with Mizrachi was called upon to work the land, with a view to settle upon it. One of these founding laborers was Michael Hazani, who was a founding father of religious settlement in Israel.
To ensure the safety of this first group of workers, a defense “pluga” arrived in 1937. This was because Arabs surrounded the moshav. This fact led to it being the most under siege settlement during the 1936-9 Arab Riots. During the Second World War the workers group had to be dispersed, and the workers were able to find placement in other settlements.
After the Second World War and the War of Independence the moshav received a number of waves of new residents, mainly of new immigrants from Yemenand refugees from Europe.
Today Kfar Yavitz is the home to 120 families, 540 people and its main produce is agriculture: flowers, orchards, strawberries, squash and more.