Whether the Holocaust was a punishment has been contemplated for decades.
I was born in a displaced persons' camp in Germany and have pondered it all my life. I bear no burdens of sentimentality for
leadership or fellowmen and have come to the sad but true conclusion that what is written in the Torah about how and
why God will curse His people is what occurred. Just read chapter 26 of the book of Leviticus and chapter 28 of
the book of Deuteronomy. If you read these two chapters remember to weep, because at the speed these passages are read during
the typical synagogue service, you can barely hear it even if you try. And as for allowing it to sink into your hearts
- our history is the answer!
"And the work of righteousness shall be peace, And the effect of righteousness - quietness
and confidence forever" (Isaiah 32:17).
"I Am the first and I Am the last. And beside Me there is no God" (Isaiah 44:6).
Logically following the knowledge of God's presence or existence is the truth of His
having created His universe. We know that if the temperatures of the molecules forming life's elements were off by a fraction
of a percent, life as we know it could not exist. That life as we know it occurred randomly by chance and without a Designer
is a notion only a fool or a liberal could entertain. And history, too, bears witness to God's Presence, as all serious readers
of the Bible know. The 17th century French philosopher, Rene' Descartes, saw that the biblical prophesies regarding
the nation of Israel, actually became history.
It was said that the difference between the Jews and the ancient Greek scholars was that the
the Greek studied for the sake of knowledge, while the Jew studied to know the will of God. An honest look at Jewish history coupled with
a careful reading of the Bible will give an honest person reason to pause. The facts of life being what they are, it is logical
to pursue and preserve God's goodwill by diligently seeking the knowledge of what is right in His eyes. The nation of Israel,
in particular, which is created to serve as His witnesses, and is conceived to demonstrate how to earn God's favor and
His blessings, must never stop actively engaging in this existential quest.
The key compass setting for traveling toward pleasing God is fulfilling the command to love your neighbor
as yourself (Leviticus 19:18). And if this is somehow difficult because our failed leaders, whom God's prophets warn
us to recognize (Isaiah 9:15), have diluted this command to be practiced as 'what is unpleasant to you; do not do to another';
keep in mind that the commandment to love God with all our hearts, souls and might (Deuteronomy 6:4) which is recited 3 or 4
times daily, by practicing Jews, is not a command that is fulfilled by multiplying prayers.
"And the Lord said: Forasmuch as this people draw near, And with their mouth and with their lips do honour Me,
But have removed their heart far from Me, And the fear of Me is a commandment of men learned by rote; Therefore, behold, I
will again do a marvellous work among this people, Even a marvellous work and a wonder;
And the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, And the prudence of their prudent men shall be hid" (Isaiah 29:13,14).
Prayer is not work and rabbinic substitutions for God's commands are not acceptable or pleasing to a God
who is very strict about His chosen people accurately representing Him and complying with His will. The foundation of righteous
Jewish life, underpinned with love of one's neighbor and love of God with everything we have - that He provided
- was never built. And the mission to create the moral and spiritual context for all endeavors was never even begun.
Instead of building this "tent of Shem" for Japhet to dwell in (Genesis 9:27), our leaders taught us how to dwell in Japhet's
tent and to put a mezuzah on it. Every manner of substitution was established to permit Israel to live like Japhet, i.e.,
the gentiles, when it was Israel who was commanded to make the tent in which the gentiles would find a
home. As a result, God's blessings remain in cyber space without known delivery dates and addresses. Consequently,
the world is in chaos. Hutus massacred 800,000 Tutsies in 1994 while the world watched. Darfur Christians are being massacred
by Muslims as we speak. The new liturgies and earnest prayers do not impress the Object of the prayers. And the most powerful
men in the world went about their vain pursuits and what they considered and now consider America's interests. These
men entertained and still indulge in futile policies to bring a solution to the Arab - Israel wars which brings more suffering,
but not without profits for the military industrial corporate ownerships.
"And seek the peace of the city wither I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray unto the
Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall you have peace" ( Jeremiah 29:7).
And as Israel continued to pray; the nation forgot that righteousness is not the same as charity. Righteousness
was and is the word which indicates and signifies a strict, wholehearted compliance with God's commands - His written
Torah commands. Who is therefore to blame for the failure to be righteous ? Without righteousness, peace and
quiet remain in cyber space and Israel remains without protection from its Creator.
"Woe to the rebellious children, says the Lord, That take counsel, but not of Me; And that form projects,
but not of My Spirit,..." (Isaiah 30:1).
So the horrors God allows to be unleached by chance and consequence eat us alive. And our correction lies
not with the leaders who still insist they know it all, but with God and the messiah who will be called "The repairer
of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in" (Isaiah 58:12).
Now if our leaders had been wise or prudent they would have stressed the need for fulfilling the following passages:
"And you shall seek Me, and find Me, when you shall search for Me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13). This is
the antidote to Isaiah 29:13. And as for focus they would do well to refocus their energies and God given assets to take
stock of the current existential crisis in which we find ourselves. "afterward shall the children of Israel
return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall come trembling unto the Lord and to His goodness in the
end of days" (Hoshea 3:5).
"...and they came in' and possessed it; but they hearkened not to Thy voice, neither walked in Thy law;
they have done nothing of all that Thou commanded them to do; therefore Thou hast caused all this evil to befall them
If Israel again fails to heed the written commands of God; we have only ourselves to blame for the holocaust
which Iran is being allowed, by man and God, to perpetrate, as yet another prophesied punishment for a nation which
will not return to God's original written laws.
We have numerous warnings about the next holocaust. "Two parts therein shall be cut off and die;" (
Zachariah 13:8). And the rest of the world too, is warned by God who will destroy all those whom He used to punish
His wayward chosen nation (Zachariah 14:12).
The issue of guilt or innocence often clouds people's minds and even the minds of rabbis, especially when
the extermination, by the Nazis, of one and a half million children is broached. Since the negative impulse is so strong and
following it can lead to great pleasures, God warns that He will punish offenders down to the third and forth generation (Numbers
14:18). This is so we remember to love our children and our children's children more that the temporary, illicit pleasures which
non-compliance can bring.
"And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to
walk in all HIS ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, to keep
for your good the commandments of the Lord, and His statutes, which I command you this day ? (Deuteronomy 10:12)"
So forget about your version of fairness or your perception of justice. God is the Creator and Owner of
this Creation. He is absolutely just and righteous and He set the rules for our benefit. And His Torah Law is our proper righteousness
and justice which a wise leadership will finally carry out with justice and mercy. God, too, is as subordinate to the
Law; i.e., the Torah, as we are.
"Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked (Deuteronomy 10:16)."
And any doubt that the Holocaust was a punishment should be dismissed. And any cleric who teaches otherwise
should also be dismissed. And if we want to see our world redeemed, and live in the utopia God has instore for the genuinely
faithful; we will take Him and His written Torah seriously - NOW !!! - before Iran nukes Israel and terror engulfs
the world !!!
The only rabbi whose spirit continuously interprets Torah with a genuinely spiritual depth is Rav Samson
Raphael Hirsch. In his interpretation of Genesis 32:2, where Jacob and his family just left Lavan's house to return to the
land of his birth. "And Jacob went on his way and angels of God met him and were impressed by him." The great
Rav Hirsch said that God had made it clear to him 20 years earlier, when he left his parents' home, that the Holy Spirit,
the Schechina, wished to return to earth in such a maner that when the angels sought His Glory up in heaven, it would be found
on earth amongst mankind. And that Jacob and every member of his future nation were to work for the this return of the Glory
of God to earth.
How painfully unfortunate and tragic it is that, even after the last Holocaust and now before the one being
orchestrated by the entire world; no rabbi asks if our nation could possibly have erred in our performance of our mission.
The establishment of our rabbinic religion was met with opposition from priests, levites, Essenes, and later from
the Karites. Could such opposition have been without a possible legitimate cause ? Would it hurt our nation if we revisited
the notion that failure to comply with the written Torah is blasphemy ? I believe our people would be shocked upon reading
the inventory of laws currently observed, juxtaposed against the actual written laws which God gave Moses. This will be done
soon enough, because it is a part of the moshiach's job description to repair the breach and restore us to the paths
to dwell in (Isaiah 58:12). Wouldn't it be prudent of our leaders to jump start the process to avert the imminent holocaust
that awaits our nation again ??