April 13, 2018 11:58 am at 11:58 am #1506056
My wife had a cousin in Israel ( now deceased) who survived the Holocaust and made it to Israel after the War.
He grew up in a very large Chassidishe family but out of grandparents, parents, siblings, uncles, aunts and numerous cousins, he was the only survivor.
He made the decision that since Hashem had abandoned him, he would abandon Hashem. He never set foot in a shul and he raised his children totally ignorant of Judaism. The only exception he made was when if a religious relative of his wife ( my wife ) came to visit. They had several settings of kosher plates and utensils that they only took out for those occasional visits. The food was brought in already cooked.
Should he have stayed religious, as many did? Obviously yes. Did I fault him for not doing so?
No. I didn’t lose my entire family , nor did I experience what he did in the camps. pApril 13, 2018 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm #1506063
If you read the Yaffa Eliach book Hassidic tales of the Holocaust there was a story of someone who went to visit his Rebbe after the War with his new Shiksa wife. Seems he was the Shamash of the community before the war and was the only survivor of his family
Unfortuantly many people lost their faith after the war (Many also kept it)April 13, 2018 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm #1506064
May he do teshuva.April 13, 2018 1:36 pm at 1:36 pm #1506117
As I have heard a few times from R’ Moshe Meir Weiss…..we cannot judge these survivors. We were not in their place. He would tell the story of his uncle who survived physically but not religiously. At one point during the war, his uncle gave advice to Rabbi Weiss’s father that saved both their lives. Rabbi Weiss stated that who knows the reward his uncle will get for all the torah that he and his siblings learn due to the act that his uncle’s advice saved his father’s life.April 13, 2018 4:54 pm at 4:54 pm #1506137
LS -“Did I fault him for not doing so?
No. I didn’t lose my entire family , nor did I experience what he did in the camps.”
I agree. But the tendency to Judge others is Rampant in our Generation!
As far as atheism is – I’ll quote a Goy:
“Freedom and not servitude is the cure of anarchy; as religion, and not atheism, is the true remedy of superstition.”
“Man is by his constitution a religious animal; atheism is against not only our reason, but our instincts.”
Edmund BurkeApril 13, 2018 5:10 pm at 5:10 pm #1506181
Joseph: did you miss the now deceased part?
But perhaps one can do something for his neshuma and Daven that his kids/grandchildren do Teshuva.
If they live in Israel, chances of ending up assimilated like the Rothschilds are a lot lower, so there’s stil hope there.April 13, 2018 6:02 pm at 6:02 pm #1506189
Joseph I was not aware that one could do teshuva after they are dead.April 13, 2018 7:27 pm at 7:27 pm #1506219
The diary of Rutka Laskier was kept secret by her sister for 60 years after the war. Her sister was saved by catholic nuns. The sister is in her 90’s now and still catholic, so to speak.April 14, 2018 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm #1506273
Isn’t there a basic idea that Hashem wouldn’t give someone a test they couldn’t pass? Is there someone in the Torah that says if really really super horrible things happen to you you no longer have to keep the mitzvos?
I am in no way implying that I would do better at such a test bus someone who totally goes off the derech and doesn’t keep anything has failed has he not? Maybe he doesn’t deserve a sever punishment because he faced such a hard test. However he certainly didn’t pass with flying colors.April 15, 2018 12:23 am at 12:23 am #1506319
Being obligated in the mitzvos (which applies to every Jew without exception), and being criticized for failing to observe the mitzvos, are different things.
Another consideration is whether the person is in a position to influence other Jews. For example, a religious or secular leader, a teacher, or an author should be held to higher standards.April 15, 2018 7:16 am at 7:16 am #1506339
In the book Lieutenant Birnbaum, Meir Birnbaum relates how he became close to a Rebbe (I think the Bluzhever, but I could be wrong) after the war when he was serving in the DP camps. When the Rebbe was given permission to go to the US, while Lt. Birnbaum was still remaining in Europe, Lt. Birnbaum asked the Rebbe whom he should go to for Brachos, now that the Rebbe would not be near him. The Rebbe responded, “When you go into a Shul and see a man wrapping his Tefilin over a tattooed number – go over and ask him for a Bracha. Anyone who went through the hell of the camps and still puts on Tefilin is someone worthy of having his brachos answered.”
So no, I don’t judge. I can only look in awe at those who went through that and stayed Frum, and thank G-d that I was not so tested.
an Israeli YidApril 15, 2018 7:22 am at 7:22 am #1506345
Israeli Yid, that’s a famous quote from the Satmar Rebbe.April 15, 2018 1:19 pm at 1:19 pm #1506439
Over the years I have had many friends who survived the camps and stayed frum. Yet they never spoke against those who didn’t stay religious. They knew what they had gone through. If the survivors themselves refused to judge, who are we to show such chutzpah?April 15, 2018 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm #1506673
Besides for the ‘anger at Hashem’ and loss of belief due to the lack of open and speedy divine help, I’ve come to realize another cause for those who turned away from the path of their parents.
During the war, nobody was actively practicing Judaism. They couldn’t. After the war, many people found themselves technically not Orthodox. It was a decision to become again a practicing Jew.
One more point. There were those who became convinced that the world is indeed Hefker. But those who were ‘angry at Hashem’ could have been brought back with the right care. They didn’t lose their belief due to logical questions but rather it was their only way to release anger.April 16, 2018 8:59 am at 8:59 am #1506743
Joseph – the Satmar Rav ZT”L may have said that, but this particular incident took place with the Klausenberger (not the Bluzhever as I’d said previously). Who is to say two Gedolim can’t have the same thought?
In any case, the point I made stands – those who went through that and kept their Emuna are worthy of our utmost respect – but we can not judge those who lost their Emuna there.
an Israeli YidApril 16, 2018 11:29 am at 11:29 am #1506881
If you can’t judge those who last their emuna you also can’t judge those who kept it.
I think it’s also important to define what we mean by judge. There is the judgement of that which is right and wrong. And then there is judgement as to how hard it is for someone to do the right thing. The latter we can no judge but certainly we can deal with what one augut to do in certain situations. That’s what the Torah is for telling us how to live.April 16, 2018 11:29 am at 11:29 am #1506890
Btw believing that Hashem abandoned you and you abondoning him in return is the opposite of athiesim. It’s the belief in Hashem and being mad at him.April 16, 2018 11:48 am at 11:48 am #1506911
JJ2020 – a perfect example of this is Elie Wiesel’s “Prayer for the Days of Awe” –
A Prayer for the Days of Awe
By Elie Wiesel
Published: October 02, 1997
Master of the Universe, let us make up. It is time. How long can we go on being angry?
More than 50 years have passed since the nightmare was lifted. Many things, good and less
good, have since happened to those who survived it. They learned to build on ruins. Family life
was re-created. Children were born, friendships struck. They learned to have faith in their
surroundings, even in their fellow men and women. Gratitude has replaced bitterness in their
hearts. No one is as capable of thankfulness as they a
re. Thankful to anyone willing to hear their
tales and become their ally in the battle against apathy and forgetfulness. For them every moment
Oh, they do not forgive the killers and their accomplices, nor should they. Nor should you,
Master of t
he Universe. But they no longer look at every passer
by with suspicion. Nor do they
see a dagger in every hand.
Does this mean that the wounds in their soul have healed? They will never heal. As long as a
spark of the flames of Auschwitz and Treblinka glow
s in their memory, so long will my joy be
What about my faith in you, Master of the Universe?
I now realize I never lost it, not even over there, during the darkest hours of my life. I don’t
why I kept on whispering my daily prayers, and those one reserves for the Sabbath, and for the
holidays, but I did recite them, often with my father and, on Rosh ha
Shanah eve, with hundreds
of inmates at Auschwitz. Was it because the prayers remaine
d a link to the vanished world of my
But my faith was no longer pure. How could it be? It was filled with anguish rather than fervor,
with perplexity more than piety. In the kingdom of eternal night, on the Days of Awe, which are
the Days of Jud
gment, my traditional prayers were directed to you as well as against you, Master
of the Universe. What hurt me more: your absence or your silence?
In my testimony I have written harsh words, burning words about your role in our tragedy. I
would not repeat
them today. But I felt them then. I felt them in every cell of my being. Why did
you allow if not enable the killer day after day, night after night to torment, kill and annihilate
tens of thousands of Jewish children? Why were they abandoned by your Crea
thoughts were in no way destined to diminish the guilt of the guilty. Their established culpability
is irrelevant to my ”problem” with you, Master of the Universe. In my childhood I did not expect
much from human beings. But I expected everyt
hing from you.
Where were you, God of kindness, in Auschwitz? What was going on in heaven, at the celestial
tribunal, while your children were marked for humiliation, isolation and death only because they
These questions have been haunting me
for more than five decades. You have vocal defenders,
you know. Many theological answers were given me, such as: ”God is God. He alone knows
what He is doing. One has no right to question Him or His ways.” Or: ”Auschwitz was a
punishment for European Je
wry’s sins of assimilation and/or Zionism.” And: ”Isn’t Israel the
solution? Without Auschwitz, there would have been no Israel.”
I reject all these answers. Auschwitz must and will forever remain a question mark only: it can
be conceived neither with G
od nor without God. At one point, I began wondering whether I was
not unfair with you. After all, Auschwitz was not something that came down ready
heaven. It was conceived by men, implemented by men, staffed by men. And their aim was to
ot only us but you as well. Ought we not to think of your pain, too? Watching your
children suffer at the hands of your other children, haven’t you also suffered?
As we Jews now enter the High Holidays again, preparing ourselves to pray for a year of peace
and happiness for our people and all people, let us make up, Master of the Universe. In spite of
everything that happened? Yes, in spite. Let us make up: for the child in me, it is unbearable to
be divorced from you so long.
Elie Wiesel, a professor in th
e humanities at Boston University, was awarded the Nobel Peace
Prize in 1986.April 16, 2018 11:51 am at 11:51 am #1506913
What about those Holocaust survivors that became self-hating Jews??? George Soros is among many of those who seem to have developed Stockholm Syndrome from Nazis, thus feeling ashamed of being JewishApril 16, 2018 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm #1506915
WB1995: The above posters will tell you to not C”V judge the survivor George Soros.April 16, 2018 3:02 pm at 3:02 pm #1506983
Joe -“The above posters will tell you to not C”V judge the survivor George Soros”
Stop with your manipulating lies!
There’s a huge difference between s/o who became disillusioned with Yiddishkeit due to the Holocaust, & s/o who became an anti-semite afterwards!April 16, 2018 6:50 pm at 6:50 pm #1507047
Health: Was survivor Yossi “Tommy” Lapid also an anti-semite?April 16, 2018 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm #1507091
Joe -“Health: Was survivor Yossi “Tommy” Lapid also an anti-semite?”
IMHO he was.April 16, 2018 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm #1507096
LC, iac, aIY: Are you okay with judging survivors like Yossi Lapid and George Soros?April 18, 2018 6:49 am at 6:49 am #1508061
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