Hastening Redemption

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Hastening Redemption: Messianism and the Resettlement of the Land of Israel is 1985 history of on nineteenth century Haredi migration to Palestine prior to Zionism by Israeli historian Arie Morgenstern.

Scholarly impact[edit]

Publication in Hebrew in 1985 led to scholarly reconsideration of the followers of the Vilna Gaon, a group that had not been regarded as enthusiastically messianic until the appearance of Morgenstern’s book.

The larger scholarly impact was Morgenstern’s ability, by the use of innovative sources, to document an early nineteenth-century aliyah of previously unsuspected scale.

Evidence of large-scale aliyah between 1808 and 1840[edit]

Old Yishuv
A sepia photograph shows three elderly Jewish men sporting beards and holding open books, posing for the camera. Against a backdrop of leafy vegetation, the man in the centre sits, wearing a black hat and caftan, while the two others stand, wearing lighter clothes and turbans.
Jewish life in the Land of Israel
Key events
Aliya of Nachmanides (1267)
Hebron and Safed massacres (1517)
Revival of Tiberias (1563) • Sack of Tiberias (1660) • Hebron massacre (1834) • Safed attack (1838) • Jerusalem expansion • Petach Tikva founded (1878)
Key figures
Ishtori Haparchi (d. 1313) • Joseph Saragossi (d. 1507) • Obadiah MiBartenura (d. 1515) • Levi ibn Habib (d. 1545) • Jacob Berab (d. 1546) • Joseph Nasi (d. 1579) • Moses Galante (d. 1689) • Moses ibn Habib (d. 1696) • Yehuda he-Hasid (d. 1700) • Haim Abulafia (d. 1744) • Menachem Mendel (d. 1788) • Haim Farhi (d. 1820) • Jacob Saphir (d. 1886) • Haim Aharon Valero (d. 1923)
Etrog cultivation • Winemaking
Banking • Printing
Kosher soap production
Kollel • Halukka
(Montefiore • Judah Touro)

Jerusalem (Mea Shearim • Mishkenot Sha'ananim) • HebronSafed TiberiasJaffaHaifaPeki'in AccoNablusGazaKafr Yasif Shefa-'AmrPetach Tikva

Great Academy of Paris (1258)
Ramban (1267) • Abuhav (1490s)
Abraham Avinu (1540)  • Ari (1570s)
Johanan ben Zakai (1600s)
Hurva (1700) • Tifereth Israel (1872)
Related articles
History of the Jews and Judaism in the Land of IsraelHistory of Zionism (Timeline) • Haredim and ZionismEdah HaChareidisShaDaRYishuvThree Oaths

“It should be known to you that from other lands, worthy people are actually streaming to the Four Holy Cities (Hebron, Jerusalem, Tiberias and Safed)” letter from Jerusalem, 24 December 1834.[1]

A particular school of pietistic reading of the Bible and Talmud established, to the satisfaction of Jews in Persia, England, Morocco, Yemen, and all the communities in between that the Messiah would arrive in the Hebrew year 5600, 1840 on the English calendar. Beginning in the early years of the nineteenth century, thousands of Jews in possession of the wealth to finance such a journey, moved with their families to the Land of Israel to await the great event. The arrival of large numbers of followers of the Vilna Gaon known collectively as the Perushim was especially notable, but sizeable groups are recorded as arriving from most of the world’s Jewish communities, including Persia, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria and Russia.[2][3] The early enthusiasm encountered grave setbacks. Notably a devastating epidemic in 1813, and the Galilee earthquake of 1837 that virtually destroyed Safed and Tiberias. The greatest difficulty, however, was undoubtedly the economically underdeveloped state of the economy and the existence of a government unable to provide security of life or property, let alone sanitary drains. Death rates among the immigrants were extraordinarily high. Life was difficult for everyone in the ill-governed Ottoman province, but Jews suffered particularly under laws that forbade them to bear arms (making it impossible for Jewish travelers to defend themselves from bandits) and preventing Jews from constructing new housing, and from building or repairing synagogues. These restrictions could only be overcome by means of substantial bribes, and even that was only possible at moments when the responsible officials were corrupt and not especially ill-disposed towards Jews.

The conquest of Syria (of which the Land of Israel was then part) by Muhammad Ali of Egypt in 1832 brought major changes in the situation, as the new government treated Jews more equably, permitting, for example, the rebuilding of synagogues destroyed by the earthquake of 1837, and the building of some Jewish housing. By 1840, Jews were a majority of the population of Jerusalem, a situation that has continued ever since.


  • Hastening Redemption: Messianism and the Resettlement of the Land of Israel, Jerusalem, Yad Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, 1985; Published in English, 2006, Oxford University Press.


  1. ^ Hastening Redemption: Messianism and the Resettlement of the Land of Israel, Arie Morgenstern, Oxford University Press, 2007, p. 52
  2. ^ Ofri Ilani, The Messiah brought the first immigrants, Haaretz, 06/01/2008
  3. ^ Gil Student, Slow Pace And The Rebirth Of Israel, Jewish Press, May 7, 2008.