Volume 10 Number 85
                       Produced: Sun Dec 26  8:17:29 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Heavenly judgement
         [David Ben-Chaim]
Looking at the Holocaust from a Different Perspective
         [Hayim Hendeles]


From: David Ben-Chaim <DAVIDBC@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1993 19:19:46 +0200 (EET)
Subject: Heavenly judgement

 I would like to connect several topics on this list which have been
keeping the Internet wires humming. Being of sound mind and body, and
with shevach ve-hodaiyah lashem, I take the risk of being stoned
(electronically) for a radically different opinion then most of those of
you who have been sending in postings for the last few weeks.

I am referring to the following topics:

                        1. The Shoah
                        2. Aliyah
                        3. Infallicy of Gedolim
                        4. Cause & effect in this world
                        5. Censorship of a dedication to The Rabbanit

         Our forefathers also had to suffer a holocaust of imprisonment
& slavery in Egypt in order to lose the taste of the "flesh pots" of
Egypt and have the zechut to receive the Land of Israel on a golden
platter (I don't have the exact quote in front of me now - "houses which
you did not build, trees you did not plant..."). My generation has lived
through the Shoah (Holocaust can be used also for Nuclear Holocaust, but
Shoah is unfortunately uniquely ours!) and has been purefied by fire of
the decadence of pre-war Europe to have the zechut to have the State of
Israel established.

Yet, most of the People of Israel have decided that chutz la'areetz is
more attractive than living here. I was insulted as an Israeli by the
self-justifications giving on this list for not moving here, the worst
being that it's hard in Israel since there are special difficult mitzvot
to preform here that you are "patur" (excused of) by living in the
Diaspora. This coming from a list of people who obviously try their best
to observe every mitzvah no matter how esoteric it may be! (Like "are
Mars Bars kosher" - which kept this list busy for several weeks. In my
days if you were in doubt, you did without but I guess I'm old fashioned
in that respect.) I think that it was not by chance that nobody
mentioned the famous gemarah "...he who lives in chutz la'aretz is
likened to one who has no G-d..."

"Wait for Machiach" to take you to Israel, but do we sit back and not
work and just pray for The Eternal to feed us, do we not go to doctors
and just pray that The Great Healer will do his work for us? Only when
it comes to Aliyah is the Jew suddenly dependent only on prayer and
refuses to take the first step. (Interestingly, it was the non-religious
sector of our people who lead the return to Israel while Rabbis usually
advised against such moves.)

I personally feel that the reason that The Land of Israel is being given
"on a silver platter" to our enemies is a punishment for those of our
people who prefer Monsey, Lakewood or Skokie to living in Israel. Yes,
Am Yisrael is aariv (responsible) for each other and we're getting the
raw end of the deal for your actions!

We are additionally being punished IMHO (I like that abbreviation) by a
lack of rain in Israel this winter, the rain being promised us in The
Shema "If you listen to my commandments....I will give rain in it's due
season" for the emminent willing giving up of parts of our homelands.
Religious people have not come on voluntary Aliyah, and those forced to
come here (Non-religious, doubtfully Jewish Russians or Falasmura) have
joined the anti- religious element here to move us from the True path
(TV on Shabbat, Who needs kosher meat, calling for the jailing of Rav
Goren etc. etc.)  Unforunately I dread that Jerusalem will be given away
too since our Gedolim did not watch over her Honour and were to scared
of each other's reactions to even declare a full Halell on Jerusalem
Reunification Day, but rather left it to amcha ("the masses") to decided
for themselves what to do. Civil service workers (including univ.
workers) have May Day off, but we have to take Jerusalem Day off our
yearly vacation time.!  That lack of respect for our Holy City has lead
to a corresponding demise in the respect of "amcha" (the masses) for
it's rabbinate who meddle in politics and inter-Jewish fighting rather
than worry about their communities.  ("According to the pask of Rabbi
XXX you must vote for YYY party and you will be cursed if you don't" or
all kinds of yes men saying what The Rav said without the Rav speaking
out in his own name, etc. etc.)

Am Yisrael is inter-marrying, opting out etc. and serious persons such
as yourselves worry about Mars Bars, Kashrut in downtown Katmandu, etc.
etc. etc. In the past, The Rabbis were too busy worrying over "eggs
which had not yet been laid on Shabbat" to realise that the people were
going to Galut with out enough knowledge and faith to make them return
to The Land of Israel without having to drag them through the Expulsion
from Spain, Anti-Semitism and the Shoah as punishment to cleanse us
(spiritually) to be worthy of re-recieving The Land.

(With a wink towards the disscusion about having the dedication to The
Rabbanit removed, I will use my Wife's famous Jewish answer to The N.Y.
Times crossword puzzle - Gematriah - to wrap this up):

All the above is proven through the well known table of how the days of
the week that the days of Pesach comes out on decides the various
holidays...  the seventh day of Pesach always falls on the same day as
Yom Ha'atzamut as the leter "ayin" is the seventh letter from the end of
the Hebrew alpha- bet. On the last day of Pesach we read The Song of The
Red Sea exualting our (G-d given) victory of a bunch of slaves over the
mightest army then in the world, and the same situation arose in 1948.
However our religious leaders couldn't take the risk of having the full
Halell recitied to mark that occasion because each one was afraid of
what the others would say if he took the lead.  

It took no less a pair of Tzadickim than Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Webber
to write in "Joseph's Amazing Technicolour Coat" (now appearing on
Broadway - no commerical meant) having Joseph in prison sing in a moving

           "Children of Israel
            are never alone
            For we know we shall find
            Our own peace of mind,
            For we have been promised
            A land of our own"

|    David Ben-Chaim                      |
Coordinator, Computerized Services  Elyachar Central Library
The Technion, Haifa, Israel 32000.  Tel: 972-4-292503 or 292502          |
email: <davidbc@...>   fax: 972-4-233501                    |


From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 93 17:48:45 -0500
Subject: Looking at the Holocaust from a Different Perspective

			Gam Zu L'tova

In the past several issues, there has been numerous postings regarding
the Holocaust. The common thread in all these postings is that Man
cannot comprehend why G-d allowed such a terrible tragedy to occur to
the Jewish people.

An interesting thought occurred to me, and as a result, I would like to
turn this question around 180 degrees: We all know what "bad" occurred
as a result of the Holocaust. However, perhaps we ought to ask what
"good" came out of the Holocaust?

We all know that "kol deavid rachmana letav avid" - whether we
understand it or not, whatever G-d does is for the best. Therefore, I
think it a valid question to ask, what good came out of the holocaust?

On the surface this sounds absurd. But, I can think of 2 *very* positive
benefits that have resulted IMHO because of the Holocaust.  I would be
interested in hearing what others think about this, as well as other
possible benefits.

Before proceeding, I want to make one item explicitly clear: The
Holocaust is still an open wound to many of us, and it is impossible for
us to understand why G-d did exactly as He did.  The intent of my words
is *not* to be viewed as an attempt to justify the Holocaust, but only
as a possible approach as to how we ought to view it.  I don't think it
improper for us to attempt to find some factors that *may* have been (a
small) part of G-d's Master Plan.

1) The State of Israel. I don't believe we ever would have had a State
of our own, were it not for the Holocaust. At the time, the world had
just witnessed the horrendous suffering of the Jews, much of which was a
result of their inaction. As a result, perhaps one might argue, that the
world had pity on the Jews, and therefore voted in favor of the
partition in 1948. If the same vote were to be conducted today, I don't
believe the results would be the same.

   Now, don't get me wrong. While the current State of Israel is
*unfortunately* not quite what we have been praying for for the past
2000 years, I believe it to be a step in the right direction.  After all
is said and done, Israel is still considered to be the Jewish homeland.

2) IMHO Judaism is far healthier today then it was in pre-holocaust

At the time, the Haskala was rampant, Berlin was considered to be the
new Jerusalem ch"v, and Avoda Zara was rampant at the time in the form
of "isms" - Socialism, communism, (irreligious) Zionism, etc. which
people thought was the solution to all the World's problems. (These are
the words of Reb Elchonon Wasserman zt"l) Also, mention must be made of
the violent anti-Semitism in existence at the time, and sanctioned in
pre-WW2 Europe, which certainly did not help Judaism any.

Thus, although the level of learning and piety amongst the observant was
far higher in pre_WW2 then it is today, but because of the above, there
was a cancer spreading through the Jewish people, infecting the masses.
My Father, himself a Holocaust survivor, has told me many stories how
this infection struck in even the most wonderful families, and people
were constantly being lost.

Please read my words very carefully. I am not claiming the Holocaust as
being intended as a punishment for those "evil-doers" ch"v.  Heaven
forbid for us to speak ill about any of the Kedoshim who were martyred
during the Holocaust. We cannot judge those individuals; for perhaps,
had we been in their shoes, we might have acted the same.  I am only
asserting, that for whatever reasons, Judaism as a whole was in grave
danger, and deteriorating rapidly.

Today, this is all over. Instead of the downward spiral Judaism was in
60 years ago, we now see it on the upswing. Look at the growth of
Judaism in America since the War. There is alot of progress, and alot to
be hopeful for - especially now that G-d has allowed us the benefits of
living in a country which allows us to practice our religion openly.

(While assimilation in America has now reached catastrophic proportions,
I believe the vast majority of this is the net-result of pre-WW2
America. These are people who migrated to America long before there were
Yeshivas and Day schools, and a vibrant Jewish community. They had begun
the process of assimilation 100 years ago, and by the time a thriving
Jewish infrastructure was built, it was too late for them.)

Thus, perhaps, one of the reasons behind the holocaust was to eliminate
this cancer spreading among the Jewish people. And as in any surgery,
healthy tissue will be destroyed in the process, and the procedure
itself is painful. But, unfortunately, sometimes this is what it takes
to save the life of the patient.

I was discussing this issue with Eitan Fiorino, who can always be
counted on to provide new insights to any question, and he raised
another critical lesson necessary for 20th century Jewry to learn from
the Holocaust. I am quoting his comments below.

	>I would even add one more point -- that the pain of the
	>Holocaust prevents complacency.  How can Jews ever feel
	>comfortable in galus, even a galus as comfortable as Flatbush
	>or Monsey or Borough Park, in a post-Holocaust world?  The fact
	>is that life has probably never been better for galus Jews, and
	>what would we care about redemption if it weren't for the
	>bitter memories of the Holocaust?  It is easy to forget that we
	>stand apart from the nations when there is no threat of
	>anything . . .(sad, but true)

Food for thought.

Hayim Hendeles


End of Volume 10 Issue 85