3 Shvat 5781 / Saturday, January 16, 2021 | Torah Reading: Va'era
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Another Holocaust?    

Another Holocaust?

Some are beginning to believe, G-d forbid, that another Holocaust could happen again in our time. Anti-Semitism is on the rise again, it would seem, just about everywhere.


One of the paths that lead me to Torah was a quest to figure out how the Holocaust could have happened. The older I get the more it seems arrogant to think I could come to any intelligent conclusions about such a question. But it lead me to ask questions about Jewish identity, to learn about the history of the Jewish people, to learn about religion in general and Torah in specific. Although I can not adequately articulate any conclusions I may have drawn about why the Shoah occurred, I came to the conclusion in my mind and in my heart that humans have been pushing Jews away because the message Moses brought to the tribe to deliver to the rest of us is the truth – make that The Truth. That was not an answer I thought it possible I would embrace. I was thinking something out of The Origins of Totalitarianism, by Hannah Arendt and ended up with Crossing the Narrow Bridge, by Rabbi Chaim Kramer. 

I do not think that a day of my life goes by without thinking about anti-Semitism, how to stop it, how to stop another Holocaust, and why some people are willing to believe psychotic nonsense about the Jewish people. I actually had to declare a moratorium of sorts on Holocaust material because my husband and I realized I was getting into depressions about it. The more I have learned, the less difference I see between the world in which we now live and the world that produced the Shoah. I am beginning to believe, God forbid, that another Holocaust could happen again in our time. Anti-Semitism is on the rise again, it would seem, just about everywhere.
What do we do? When we look back and judge people who were alive in that time, people who could have surely done something to combat the insanity, the apathy, the hatred that culminated in mass murder, what is it that they should have done? What could people like us, who love the Jews, have done? I feel the answers to that question need to come from Hashem to our ears, right now. Groping through history books, watching documentaries, reading biographies – none of these are giving me answers that feel satisfying enough. Those answers don’t make the nagging worry transform into the clear action that I am seeking.
Hashem, what do we do? Am I wrong to be afraid? Could You please give me the oratorical gifts of Alan Dershowitz, the bravery of Hannah Senesh, the wealth of Donald Trump, and the patience of Hillel? I might need these things if I am going to stop it from happening.
There is a part of me that thinks I need to stop this, that one person can. I am all I can control, therefore somehow a very irrational part of me thinks that means Hashem expects me to move mountains. I do not understand why I make that leap. But Judaism is not about the individual as much as it is about the tribe, the family. And we Bnei Noach are a small tribe following a much larger, but still small tribe. 
Perhaps I am chasing my tail from worry when what I need to do is stop and reflect upon where answering these huge questions has put me. It led me to believe in a religion with which I was not raised – heck we were not raised with any, so that is two giant leaps wrapped up in one. And it lead me a relationship with the Creator that has transformed my life in ways that I would not have thought possible and could not even come close to articulating adequately. It is all too unbelievable and strange to think about where I started and where I have found myself. It is humbling. It is awe inspiring. 
God wants for me to turn to Him. That seems to be part of the answer. Because there are no humans who can answer the questions that are keeping me up at night. He wants for me to blame Him, to ask Him for help, to thank Him, to yell at Him. He wants for me to ask Him what my priorities should be, how we can improve things here, how we can protect each other. I just pray that I can understand what he wants from us and that I will have the courage and the humility to do it.
“My thought are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways, says the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8)

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  2 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  How can I reach Ms. Jonsson?
David Almoslino7/2/2014 11:57:38 PM
Anonymous,3/18/2009 3:25:04 AM

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