Thursday, December 8, 2005

G-d's Lawyers, כביכול



The situation as far as religious observance in pre-WWII Europe is no secret. The vast majority of Jews, although Yiddish-speaking, were non-observant for the most part. Cities that we think were centers of Torah were actually centers of "culture", "enlightenment", and every social movement known to man. Chassidic centers were enclaves, havens from the outside secular world, and a Chassidic young man had a difficult time finding a match. As far as a human being could tell the situation was grave, Judaism was going to bankrupt soon.

So, the "thinkers" would tell you, G-d had "no choice but to bring the holocaust". The uprooting of Jewry from Europe to North America and Israel saved Religious Jewry from total extinction and allowed the few Religious ones to rebuild. Others will say that it was punishment for our sins, especially the cardinal sin of Zionism. (Was Socialism, Bundism, and Communism not as grave a sin as far as taking Jews off the path?)

So, my question is, couldn't G-d find some other way of "rebuilding", according to those people? Did the pride and joy of European Jewry have to be taken down with the rebuilding project? Those that say that it was a punishment will say that the good go down with the bad when G-d brings death and destruction, but to "rebuild" Jewry it had to happen too?

I read and watch anything I can get my hands on about the holocaust and the Pre-war situation as far as Jews are concerned. The loss is unimaginable, irreplaceable. I cannot believe that anybody who suffered and lost family speaks this way, it comes from those who managed to evade the suffering, but it has become "chic" to speak this way even amongst descendants of survivors. They say that it does not show a lack of concern or love for Jews, but what do I know, I don't see it that way.

Simpler times, simpler times........

39 comments:

avremel said...

what can we say. A very thoughtful and thought-provoking piece.

The Rebbe's opinion is well-known, and although not a survivor of the camps, he felt the pain of those that did survive and cried for those who were lost.

n said...

ht, good job on an intelectual post. where has this talk become chic? what publications, etc..?

Hirshel Tzig said...

N

Thanks for the nice words. Certain, ahem, circles, ahem, not necessarily publications.

vml said...

One of those claiming the holocaust was a 'punishment' was your very own Rabbi Joseph Isaac Schneerson.
When you referred to G-ds' lawyers cynically did you mean him?

Hirshel Tzig said...

VML

My first thought on writing this post was that boors like yourself would make such comments, but then I remembered:
?וכי בשופטני עסקינן

and I decided to write it anyway.

Tamara said...

Can you translate that HEbrew please?

vml said...

Ahem....
So you saying that I am incorrect in my above (well known fact)about your Nosi?
I think you meant that certain boors who know no history and would not challenge you....

Hirshel Tzig said...

?וכי בשופטני עסקינן = are we speaking (dealing) with idiots, that we need to take them into account, worry about what they'll say?

btw Tamara
I'd like to hear your opinions too, not just translation requests :)

Hirshel Tzig said...

VML

a so-called learned person like yourself should know better than to base your facts on the writings of a gentile who understands nothing.

zezmir said...

That, my friend Ht, is a great picture!

zezmir said...

(I was refering to the tzig)

zezmir said...

G-d's ways are not known to man - to undestand him would be to be Him.

As to your question of how anyone could speak this way, the answer seems to be fairly obvious:
We have enough distance from the events to speculate, and it is human nature to try and wrap things up neatly in a box.

As to the fools who were sure to take this post in the direction they did, I only wonder why they waste ther tile coming to blogs and vomiting the same stupidity. Don't you have anything productive to do?

ch'sidshe tourist said...

vml:it looks like you read "rescued from the reich". he was the one who came up with the notion that the previous rebbe considered the holocaust to be a punishment.
tzig: great new look!
p.s. why don't you put a tie on him?!!!

zezmir said...

Rigg did not come up with this concept. It came from our friends in the oppososition to Chassidus camp...

avremel said...

VML

if I were you I'd lay very low now and not touch this subject. Ever hear of Efraim Zuroff?

Tamara said...

Wow Tzig, you sure are demanding. My thoughts on this are probabally not as well formed as many of your commentors because of my lack of knowledge on the religious level and of the people who are being referred to.

I, like you, think it's important to read and learn and comprehend as much material and as often as we can about this tragic event in our history. I can't say I "try to get my hands on everything I can"; however, I do feel that as an English teacher, it's part of my job as both teacher and Jew to impart knowledge on this topic to my students.

If I worried about "?וכי בשופטני עסקינ" (the idiots :) ) I wouldn't be able to teach anything. I teach at a public urban high school in Los Angeles. For most of my students, I am the first Jewish person they've met or interracted with. That being said, I feel it's my responsibilty to discuss, share and somehow get them to understand the severity of this situation. I can, in now way, help them to understand the why it happened; nor do I think that any of us will everstand the "why". I personally just have faith in G-d regardless of it all.

Hirshel Tzig said...

wow, T, you outdid yourself there. :)

I guess what I meant re: the fools is that when we speak we can't worry that the fool will take it the wrong worry, not that we don't try and teach fools.

Tamara said...

OH, well I didn't quite outdo myself. This topic is not only very important to me, but I happen to be teaching "Night" right now to my tenth graders. I'm a new teacher (as I mentioned in my own last blog post) and have never taught it which means I've been reflecting often about the way in which I've gone about introducing this topic to my students. I can't stay that I've done the best job this first time around. I also just attended a convention for English teachers where one of the workshops that I attended was specifically about teaching the Holocaust. I'm ALSO going to be attending a 3 day workshop in March specifically focusing on using literature to teach the Holocaust. This is being put on by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum so the resources will be awesome.

Anyway...hope you're happy now :)

vml said...

I did not read Riggs books(unfortunately)Though I did hear him on N.P.R and Zev Brenner AND read the article about him in Bais Moshiach, when Lubabs still considered him a 'good' guy.(till he found out to much, about how 'important' libraries can be,for example.....if they belong to the 'right' people)
The previous Rebbes position is weel know and I did not get it from Rigg.In fact Lubavitchers have always tried to split hairs about how the Rebbe disagrees with the position of his shver.The only time this came out was after Rav Shach said something to which the Rebbe responded.
I wonder if they teach chumash in Lubavitch:The descriptions about mothers eating their own flesh (kids)because of famine brought about for not following the torah are right there.

zezmir said...

VML,
Huh?
With all the hatred you exude in that post you must have confused your point. Where you asking or saying something among mixed in with your diatribe?

Hirshel Tzig said...

VML is exhibit A.

Not only is he G-d's lawyer, he's also a man who knows his Chumash.

bpunbound said...

Not meaning to give someone more attention then he deserves, but I'm highly impressed.

Listens to npr and zev brenner and reads bais moshach. A very well rounded intellectual life indeed!

bpunbound said...

btw Hirshel, nice mug shot of you there.

Perhaps you could have the posterior angle next to vml's posts'.

Hirshel Tzig said...

BP

Thanks, that was taken after me and some of the "kids" did a job on some snags...

VML said...

There is really no agenda, but to find the truth. I approached Deutsch several years ago, but he is not a trained historian nor was he very helpful. He actually has self-published his own work, so his books must be used with caution. This is not to say that there are not good researchers out there who self-publish, but if you do not go through a serious process of getting proof-readers, editors and fellow-historians to look through and check your work before publication, then you will not be taken seriously and your work will not be as strong as it should be. Although Deutsch has done alot of research, no one really takes him seriously which is sad.

MM Schneerson's studies---yes, he studied in some capacity in Berlin, but he did not get degrees. Now, if you talk to many people at 770, they will tell you that he had all these degrees and worked for the Navy building ships or on some secret project. THis is simply not true. There is no agenda here. This is just one example of how many Chabad leaders get caught up in building a muyth that is only based on a tiny piece of truth. We I started working with Lubavitchers, I felt that being so pious, they would be driven to find the truth and appreciate it. Well, they are only interested in truth that shows their movement 100% in a good light. This is the danger. If you are not able to look at your history with all its good and bad, then you will continue to make mistakes. Also, I came from a Christian background before I learned of my Jewish background in 1992. With this background and learning about Chabad, I have come to realize that Chabad is very similar to Christianity. They hold up their Rebbe to be perfect and without sin, and as many of you know several of them beleive he is the Messiah, and this is alot like Christianity. Although there are several good Christians out there, there have been too many throughout history who have taken that ideology that they are right and have found the true way to do horrible things to non-beleivers. The seeds of such mistreatment and intolerance are also there with Chabad, or any religious group, who beleives they have the perfect way and a perfect leader that all should follow. So, my creed is to follow the truth. Remember MM Schneerson said that he perferred ungly truth to beautiful lies, yet few in the Chabad community follow his beleif.

Ask them about the JI Schneersohn's take on the Holocaust, and most do not even know--this is interesting commentary within itself. They do not know because it is radically different from MM Schneerson's take and Rebbes are not suppose to contradict one another. It is such a sad story--it makes me shake my head. We humans sometimes do so much to hold onto ideas without any evidence--Allah is Good, Mohammed is his Prophet, Jesus died for your sins, Church of Christ has the only way to salvation, the Rebbe is the Messiah, etc.

Now to Kotler and Kalmanowitz--They took help from everywhere they could. Kotler was appauled by the Rebbe's focus on the MEssiah and his spiritual campaign, especially throughout 1942-1943 when all energy should have been focused on rescuing lives. So, Kotler and Kalmanowitz would have gladly received help from the Rebbe, but such help never came from the Rebbe. He only condemned them for their un-kosher ways. For the record, I wanted to find the Rebbe acting like Kotler and Kalmanowitz. That would have been a beautiful conclusion to the story. Rabbi Weisfogel, who was Kalmanowitz's assistant said of the Rebbe "He was a moral failure at this time to condemn us and the Jewish people as a whole for the Holocaust when he in turn did hardly anything except rescue his books and few students' lives."

For the record, if I was a buisness man, as many Lubavitchers encouraged me to be, I would not have mentioned his dealings in the US after his rescue. As one Lubavitcher at 770 told me "If you do this, you will get thousands of dollars and go all over the Chabad world and give talks." Yes, I said, but that is not the truth. To this, he was silent.
Bryan Rigg | 03.23.05 - 11:28 am | #

vml said...

From a post made by Rigg on Tzigs 'nemesis' blog.

Do you dispute that the F.R Said the holocaust waS for 'sins's?

Anonymous said...

The Frierdiker Rebbe blamed the holocaust on our sins see Likutei Dibburim, Purim 5701

avremel said...

The Frierdige Rebbe in 1941 knew almost nothing about the mass murders and extermination. Stam Tzores come as a wakeup call, but not Holocausts. That's my opinion, ir kent zich kriggen.

VML said...

The Chemelnitzky pogroms known as 'meoro'os ta'ch and ta'ss' were on a terrible scope.Close to a third of the Jews in Europe were murdered by these cossacks.The Tosfos Yomtov attributed this to a zilzul in speaking in shul.He authored a special mi shebeirach 'leshomer piv uleshoino' because of this.
Question:Was he G-ds lawyer to decide????

Hirshel Tzig said...

VML

wrong again. 300,000 Jews were killed then, and there was no Churban like at the holocuast. Please do not compare the two.

n said...

if 300,000 yidden were murdered, vml may be right about a 'third' of the yidden. I have some rcolection of demographics and our birthrate two hundred years beofre the churban was phenominal, miraculous, from about two million to about twelve million..somebody please verify. Through the ages we suffered so much, pograms, assililation, disease, starvation..Our ashkenazic numbers I understand about eight/nine hundred years ago were maybe 10,000. Remarkable indeed.

Hirshel Tzig said...

N
Yidden in Europe, not a third of all Yidden. That's very different.

vml said...

Tzig, you into splitting hairs??
You are right close to a third of EUROPES Jews, who were numerically much larger than the Sephardic communities.But does it make a difference??It was a cruel massacre on a horrendous scale.Does it have to be an exact third,for the Rebbes apologetics?

Hirshel Tzig said...

1) True that the Tosfos Yom Tov was mechaber a MiShebeirach, but that was the Tosfos Yom Tov. The Churban was not a complete one, so technically it isn't splitting hairs. Do we have people today that can say that they too have all the answers like the TY did?

Since the days of Chassidus this was not the approach, i.e. to defend mass-killings, and warn of others.

vml said...

Tzig:Bravo!So you agree that the Rebbes approach was novel, i.e once upon a time when am yisroel went through horrific times it was blamed on aveiros by .So why are you mocking rabbis who followed this approach?
You want to follow your rebbe.....gezunterheit.You do understand that just like you follow your rov others follow theirs.
N.B our way has not led to anybody making a literal 'getshkeh' out of their leader.Yours has.Something has to learned from trying to 'outsmart' the whole rabbinic world

Hirshel Tzig said...

VML
If I were a psycologist I'd say that you were either once part of a Satanic cult or are obsessed with Idol-Worship and are a closet worshipper, hence you accuse and obsess about idols. I don't believe that until recently any Rov, Rebbe, or Rosh Yeshivah save for the Satmar Rov, had said things like that, so who's being novel here?

Hirshel Tzig said...

VML

Reb Elchonon Wasserman hy"d comes to mind. I read in the Hakdomoh to Kovetz Heoros that he told the townspeople before they were to be killed that they all are Korbonos and that they should have only pure Machshovos. But, even that was only בשעת מעשה and he didn't say anything about this being an עונש for specific sins.

Hirshel Tzig said...

sorry

I meant Kovetz Shiurim

Anonymous said...

"They do not know because it is radically different from MM Schneerson's take and Rebbes are not supposed to contradict one another."

Spoken like an outsider (eye roll). Of course Lubavitchers know that the Fr. Rebbe spoke in terms of teshuva for sins and the Rebbe said we don't know the reason for the Holocaust. Duh! No secret there.

Very different, the Fr. Rebbe speaking DURING the war when there was a chance to change the tide of history and the Rebbe speaking AFTER the war.

The Rebbe was utterly batul to his father-in-law and no way-no-how contradicted him. That's ABC to a Lubavitcher Chasid.

As for what the Fr. Rebbe did or didn't do during the war, Lubavitchers who spent the war years in Shanghai have a completely different understanding of what R' Kotler did or didn't do to save Jews. Ask them. Listen to them recount how food was withheld from them because they were Lubavitchers.