pope.jpg

A German born Pope, Pope Benedict XVI, walked through the gates at Auschwitz followed by a retinue of VIPs and important leaders of the Catholic Church.

I know it was moving for everybody who was watching and for the participants and for the numerous media outlets around the world covering the story. I found it less moving and perhaps a cause for some anger at how vile people were and could be again. Still, I respect the positive meaning and message of the event, one that I believe contains the genuine pain this (Zionist?) Pope feels about that sordid piece of German and European history that began in the early 1930s and ended in the mid-1940s after so many millions were murdered including 500,000 Gypsies and six million Jews.

Pope Benedict XVI prayed on Sunday at the cells and crematories of the concentration camp complex here, on a visit he called “particularly difficult and troubling for a Christian, for a pope from Germany.”

“Words fail,” said Benedict, born Joseph Ratzinger in Bavaria in 1927. The son of a policeman, he was inducted unwillingly into the Hitler Youth and the German Army. “In the end, there can only be a dread silence, a silence that itself is a heartfelt cry to God.

“Why, Lord, did you remain silent?” he said, his voice wobbling. “How could you tolerate this?”

Indeed, how could God tolerate this?

The Pope, formerly Cardinal Ratzinger, had a ready answer:

“We cannot peer into God’s mysterious plan, ” he said. “We see it only piecemeal, and we would be wrong to set ourselves up as judges of God and history. When all is said and done, we must continue to cry out humbly yet insistently to God: Rouse yourself! Do not forget mankind, your creature!”

I would think there are plenty of believing Jews who would agree with Benedict’s reasoning. It’s the old fly-on-the-wall-can’t-see-what-it’s-all-about, but-the-person-who-can-see-the-entire-wall-can-understand why-that-fly-is-about-to-be-thwacked-to-death theory of how good people get killed and evildoers prosper.

This was a very meaningful trip for many. The camp jn Poland, a historically Christian country with a large percentage of Catholics, that represents the most heinous element of the war – a place where 1.2 million were murdered, most of them Jewish people – was being visited by a German-born Pope who had lived and served in the Nazi army of WWII. This was a journey of healing, apology and atonement. Although only one of the thirty two survivors who met the Pope at Auschwitz was a Jew, he received two kisses from the Pope. It is clear also that Benedict wanted to speak to a Jewish audience as well as his non-Jewish audience:

Deep down, those vicious criminals, by wiping out this people, wanted to kill the God who called Abraham, who spoke in Sinai and laid down principles to serve as a guide for mankind, principles that are entirely valid,” he said.

“If this people, by its very existence, was a witness to the God who spoke to humanity and took us to himself, then that God finally had to die and power had to belong to man alone, to those men who thought that by force they had made themselves masters of the world.

“By destroying Israel, they ultimately wanted to tear up the tap root of the Christian faith and to replace it with a faith of their own invention: faith in the rule of man, the rule of the powerful.”

He spoke in Italian so as not to speak in Polish. This trip was important for the Poles who had massive losses to the Nazis in the War but also feel that these days they have been locked into the general sense of guilt as participants in the genocide of Jews that took place primarily on their soil, a notion they are trying mightily to dispel, going as far as to petition the UN to change the name of Auschwitz so that they will not be implicated in the future.

Here is the text of most of most of the Pope’s speech (courtesy of Reuters through Haaretz):

“To speak in this place of horror, in this place where unprecedented mass crimes were committed against God and man, is almost impossible – and it is particularly difficult and troubling for a Christian, for a Pope from Germany. In a place like this, words fail; in the end, there can only be a dread silence – a silence which is itself a heartfelt cry to God: Why, Lord, did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this? In silence, then, we bow our heads before the endless line of those who suffered and were put to death here; yet our silence becomes in turn a plea for forgiveness and reconciliation, a plea to the living God never to let this happen again.”

“Pope John Paul II came here as a son of the Polish people. I come here today as a son of the German people. For this very reason, I can and must echo his words: I could not fail to come here. I had to come. It is a duty before the truth and the just due of all who suffered here, a duty before God, for me to come here as the successor of Pope John Paul II and as a son of the German people – a son of that people over which a ring of criminals rose to power by false promises of future greatness and the recovery of the nation’s honor, prominence and prosperity, but also through terror and intimidation, with the result that our people were used and abused as an instrument of their thirst for destruction and power.”

“I have come here today to implore the grace of reconciliation – first of all from God, who alone can open and purify our hearts, from the men and women who suffered here, and finally the grace of reconciliation for all those who, at this hour of our history, are suffering in new ways from the power of hatred and the violence which hatred spawns.”

“Constantly the question comes up: Where was God in those days? Why was he silent? How could he permit this endless slaughter, this triumph of evil?”

“We cannot peer into God’s mysterious plan – we see only piecemeal, and we would be wrong to set ourselves up as judges of God and history. Then we would not be defending man, but only contributing to his downfall. No – when all is said and done, we must continue to cry out humbly yet insistently to God: Rouse yourself! Do not forget mankind, your creature! And our cry to God must also be a cry that pierces our very heart, a cry that awakens within us God’s hidden presence – so that his power, the power he has planted in our hearts, will not be buried or choked within us by the mire of selfishness, pusillanimity, indifference or opportunism… Let us cry out to God, that he may draw men and women to conversion and help them to see that violence does not bring peace, but only generates more violence – a morass of devastation in which everyone is ultimately the loser.”

“The place where we are standing is a place of memory and, at the same time, it is the place of the Shoah. The past is never simply the past. It always has something to say to us; it tells us the paths to take and the paths not to take. Like John Paul II, I have walked alongside the inscriptions in various languages erected in memory of those who died here… All these inscriptions speak of human grief, they give us a glimpse of the cynicism of that regime which treated men and women as material objects, and failed to see them as persons embodying the image of God.”

“Deep down, those vicious criminals, by wiping out this [Jewish] people, wanted to kill the God who called Abraham, who spoke on Sinai and laid down principles to serve as a guide for mankind, principles that are eternally valid. If this people, by its very existence, was a witness to the God who spoke to humanity and took us to himself, then that God finally had to die and power had to belong to man alone – to those men, who thought that by force they had made themselves masters of the world. By destroying Israel, they ultimately wanted to tear up the taproot of the Christian faith and to replace it with a faith of their own invention: faith in the rule of man, the rule of the powerful.”

“The Germans who had been brought to Auschwitz-Birkenau and met their death here were considered as ‘Abschaum der Nation’ – the refuse of the nation. Today we gratefully hail them as witnesses to the truth and goodness which even among our people were not eclipsed. We are grateful to them, because they did not submit to the power of evil, and now they stand before us like lights shining in a dark night.”

“Behind these inscriptions is hidden the fate of countless human beings. They jar our memory, they touch our hearts. They have no desire to instil hatred in us: instead, they show us the terrifying effect of hatred. Their desire is to help our reason to see evil as evil and to reject it; their desire is to enkindle in us the courage to do good and to resist evil.

“At Auschwitz-Birkenau humanity walked through a “valley of darkness.” And so, here in this place, I would like to end with a prayer of trust – with one of the Psalms of Israel which is also a prayer of Christians: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me… I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.” (Ps 23:1-4, 6)

“Pope John Paul II came here as a son of the Polish people. I come here today as a son of the German people. For this very reason, I can and must echo his words: I could not fail to come here. I had to come. It is a duty before the truth and the just due of all who suffered here, a duty before God, for me to come here as the successor of Pope John Paul II and as a son of the German people – a son of that people over which a ring of criminals rose to power by false promises of future greatness and the recovery of the nation’s honor, prominence and prosperity, but also through terror and intimidation, with the result that our people were used and abused as an instrument of their thirst for destruction and power.”

“I have come here today to implore the grace of reconciliation – first of all from God, who alone can open and purify our hearts, from the men and women who suffered here, and finally the grace of reconciliation for all those who, at this hour of our history, are suffering in new ways from the power of hatred and the violence which hatred spawns.”

“Constantly the question comes up: Where was God in those days? Why was he silent? How could he permit this endless slaughter, this triumph of evil?”

“We cannot peer into God’s mysterious plan – we see only piecemeal, and we would be wrong to set ourselves up as judges of God and history. Then we would not be defending man, but only contributing to his downfall. No – when all is said and done, we must continue to cry out humbly yet insistently to God: Rouse yourself! Do not forget mankind, your creature! And our cry to God must also be a cry that pierces our very heart, a cry that awakens within us God’s hidden presence – so that his power, the power he has planted in our hearts, will not be buried or choked within us by the mire of selfishness, pusillanimity, indifference or opportunism… Let us cry out to God, that he may draw men and women to conversion and help them to see that violence does not bring peace, but only generates more violence – a morass of devastation in which everyone is ultimately the loser.”

“The place where we are standing is a place of memory and, at the same time, it is the place of the Shoah. The past is never simply the past. It always has something to say to us; it tells us the paths to take and the paths not to take. Like John Paul II, I have walked alongside the inscriptions in various languages erected in memory of those who died here… All these inscriptions speak of human grief, they give us a glimpse of the cynicism of that regime which treated men and women as material objects, and failed to see them as persons embodying the image of God.”

“Deep down, those vicious criminals, by wiping out this [Jewish] people, wanted to kill the God who called Abraham, who spoke on Sinai and laid down principles to serve as a guide for mankind, principles that are eternally valid. If this people, by its very existence, was a witness to the God who spoke to humanity and took us to himself, then that God finally had to die and power had to belong to man alone – to those men, who thought that by force they had made themselves masters of the world. By destroying Israel, they ultimately wanted to tear up the taproot of the Christian faith and to replace it with a faith of their own invention: faith in the rule of man, the rule of the powerful.”

“The Germans who had been brought to Auschwitz-Birkenau and met their death here were considered as ‘Abschaum der Nation’ – the refuse of the nation. Today we gratefully hail them as witnesses to the truth and goodness which even among our people were not eclipsed. We are grateful to them, because they did not submit to the power of evil, and now they stand before us like lights shining in a dark night.”

“Behind these inscriptions is hidden the fate of countless human beings. They jar our memory, they touch our hearts. They have no desire to instil hatred in us: instead, they show us the terrifying effect of hatred. Their desire is to help our reason to see evil as evil and to reject it; their desire is to enkindle in us the courage to do good and to resist evil.

“At Auschwitz-Birkenau humanity walked through a “valley of darkness.” And so, here in this place, I would like to end with a prayer of trust – with one of the Psalms of Israel which is also a prayer of Christians: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me… I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long.” (Ps 23:1-4, 6)”

About the author

themiddle

27 Comments

  • I would think there are plenty of believing Jews who would agree with Benedict’s reasoning. It’s the old fly-on-the-wall- can’t-see-what- it’s-all-about-but-the-person-who-can -see-the-entire-wall-can-understand -why-that-fly-is-about-to-be-thwacked -to-death theory of how good people get killed and evildoers prosper.

    This coming from a Jewish blog site with a cental image of someone wearing an “I love Hashem” t-shirt.

    Suggested reading: With God in Hell, by Professor Eliezer Berkovits. Out of print. Try your library. A very worthwile read.

  • There are no more g-dless people than the idol worshiping catholics. we should be more than suspect of everything these perverted evil doers say and do. we and others have suffered much at their anti-progress, racist, hatred filled hands. my one hope is that there is a special place in hell for each one of them.

  • I don’t get it, Shy Guy, where do I have things wrong? Or did you mean to remind us that former Chief Rabbi of Israel, Ovadia Yosef, does indeed disagree with me. He thinks the six million Jews who were murdered are the resurrected souls of sinners.

    Of course, there are many Jews who believe the fly on the wall idea.

    Here’s another one: instead of the fly on the wall, they use the programmer’s analogy.

    It is striking, Shy Guy, to note that your source, Eliezer Berkovits, essentially places the blame on what happened upon the Jews for not meeting God’s standards as set for us.

    When the Jewish people lives up to its potential as a light unto the nations, the moral fabric of the entire world is improved.(9) The nations of the world will see the beauty of Jewish values and will praise us and want to emulate our ways. (10)

    At such times, anti-Semitism may still rear its ugly head, but no power in the world will be able to harm us. And the Almighty Himself will turn over heaven and earth to attest to the fact of this awesome truth.

    But if that light is lacking, then the moral fabric of the world quickly sinks into decay. And then it is only a matter of time before the Jews are seen as little more than an irritating reminder of an old-fashioned, restrictive morality, an enemy of the “new world order” that wants nothing to do with the Chosen People and their God.

    Such times are times of national tragedy indeed. In place of the miraculous protection that once graced our people, we are left vulnerable to the cruelest whims of humanity. Hunted down, persecuted, put to death in the millions simply because we are Jews.

    Such times are times of great suffering, but not of suffering in vain. The nature of our covenant means that even when we are subjected to the unimaginable cruelty of a Holocaust, the message remains the same: There must be a better way. Mankind must be taught to rise above his baser instincts. In that way, the suffering itself becomes the source of the Jewish message to the world.

    Amazing explanation and totally reprehensible in my view. I prefer the fly-on-the-wall theory, which, as I show you above, is just as “Jewish” theologically as your Berkovitz’s theory.

  • Um, I always thought Eliezer Berkovitz rails at God after the Holocaust for being absent. The Aish Berkowitz is named Yitzchak, a different person.

    Anyway, nice post, including the note about how Poles are so often misconstrued as the primary perpetrators of the genocide b/c that’s where the Nazis set up most of the death camps.

  • Indeed, Middle, you have mixed up Berkovitz’s.

    Essentially, here are your choices:

    1. G-d does not exist.

    2. G-d exists but does not (normally? usually? ever?) interfere with mankind’s actions.

    3. G-d punished the Jews.

    4. We cannot fathom why G-d allowed the holocaust to take place.

    5. A combination of 3 and 4.

    6. God is Catholic. Read Nathan’s post above. No wonder!

    I’ll leave off with the late Professor Berkovitz’s verbatim transcript of the document found in a small bottle in the destroyed Warsaw Ghetto, where many of my own relatives perished in the flames:

    I Yossel, the son of Yossel Rakover from Tarnopol, a Gerer hasid, descended from saints and great zadikkim…. write these lines at a time when the Warsaw Ghetto is in flames. The house in which I am now is among the last ones which the fire has not yet reached… It will not be long before this house, too, will become the grave of its defenders and tenants. By the rays of an exceptionally red sun, which penetrate through the small and half-covered window from where we have been shooting at the enemy for days and nights, I can see that it is evening now. Twilight of sunset. To be sure, the sun knows not how little sorry I am for never seeing it again…

    My time has come now. Of myself I can say as once Job did, “naked did I leave my mother’s womb and naked do I return…” I am forty years old. As I contemplate my life I can say with reassurance – as far as any human being may be sure about himself – that I have led an honest life. I was not unsuccessful but I was never proud about it. My house was open to the needy. I was happy when I could help another human being. I have served G-d with fervor and my only request to Him was that He let me serve Him “with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”

    I cannot say that after what has passed over me my reaction to G-d has not changed. What, however, I am able to say with certainty is that my emunah has not changed a bit. Formerly, in the good times, my relationship to Him was like to one who was continually pouring out His loving kindness on me and I remained forever indebted to Him for that. Now, my relationship to Him is like to one who owes me something….

    G-d has hidden His face from His world. Thus He left His creatures to their wild instincts. To my sorrow I must therefore recognize the fact that when instincts rule the world, it is natural that those in whom the divine element is still alive, the pure ones, must become the first sacrifices. There is not much comfort in this. But since the destiny of our people is not decided by earthly considerations but by transcendental, spiritual and divine ones, it is incumbent on the man of emunah to see in these events aspects of an overriding divine reckoning, compared to which human tragedies are of lesser importance. This does not mean that a pious Jew ought to “justify the judgment” and say: “G-d is just and His judgment is just,” and that we have deserved the blows that we are receiving. To assert that would be self-desecration as well as desecration of the Divine name…

    I am proud of being a Jew, not in order to spite the world against the befouled and guilty human stream. The Jew is a hero, oppressed, holy. You, our enemies, say that we are bad. We are by far better and nobler than you are. I would have liked to see how you would look if you were in our situation.

    I am happy to belong to the most unfortunate people among the nations, whose Torah is the quintessence of what is exalted and most beautiful in all and in all ethics; the Torah, which is even more holy and more triumphant now that it has been desecrated, trodden underfoot by the enemies of G-d.

    I trust in G-d, the G-d of Israel, even though He does everything to destroy my trust. I have trust in His statutes, although I cannot justify His deeds… I bow my head before His greatness, but His staff with which He castigates me I shall not kiss…

    I wish to tell You, my G-d, clearly and openly, that now more than at any other time of our endless martyrology we, the oppressed, the down-trodden, the suffocating, buried alive and burned alive, have the right to know, where are the limits of Your patience?

    Furthermore, I have to tell You: do not pull the rope too tight lest it snap. The testing that You have placed upon us is so hard and so bitter that You have to forgive those children of Your people who in their misfortune and in their anger turned their back on You…

    Forgive those who despised Your name and went after other gods, who became indifferent towards You. You have castigated them so hard that they lost their faith that You were their father, that indeed they all had one father… But if You are not my G-d, whose G-d are You? The G-d of the murderers?

    If those who hate me, who murder me, are so dark and so wicked, what am I if not someone who in his depth carries something of Your light and Your goodness?

    I cannot praise You for the deeds that You tolerate; but I bless You and praise You for Your very existence, for Your awesome greatness that seems to be so mighty that whatever is happening now in the world is like nothing in Your eyes. However, just because You are so great and I so small, I ask You, I warn You for Your name’s sake: stop emphasizing Your greatness by countenancing the torment of the unfortunate.

    I do not ask You to punish the guilty. It is of the fearful nature of these events that in the end the guilty will suffer of themselves. For in our death dies the conscience of the world. A whole world was murdered when it murder the Jewish people. This world will consume itself in its own wickedness; it will drown in its own blood.

    Death cannot wait any longer. I have to finish. From the floors above me the shooting becomes weaker and weaker. The last of the defenders of our fortress are falling now. With them falls and perishes the great, beautiful, G-d fearing Warsaw; Jewish Warsaw. The sun is setting and I thank G-d that I shall not see it rise again… Soon I shall be with my wife and children, with millions of others of my people, who perished, in a better world… Without doubts, where G-d alone rules.

    I die peacefully, but not satisfied; beaten, but not despairing; trusting, but not pleading; in love with G-d, but not a blind Amen-sayer of His.

    I followed Him, though He pushed me back; I fulfilled His commandments, even though He made me suffer for it; I loved Him and remain in love with Him, though He has pressed me into the dust, afflicted me to death, reduced me to mockery and derision…

    And these are my last words to You, my G-d of anger: nothing will avail You! You have done everything that I deny You, that I shall not trust You. Yet, I die as I lived – with rock-like emunah in You.

    May He be praise forever, the G-d of the dead, the G-d of vengeance, the G-d of truth and justice, who will yet let His countenance shine upon the world and shake its foundations by the power of His voice…

    Shema Yisrael! Hashem Elokenu, Hashem Echad! Into Thy hand I entrust my spirit.

  • Oh please Shy Guy, give me a break. You ignored my Ovadia Yosef comment and the two other links I offered. In other words, your initial premise that a site that has a woman claiming to love HaShem cannot espouse the view many Jews believe in the fly-on-the-wall theory, is patently false.

    You then proceed to give us 5 choices in this last comment, and while completely ignoring the information I provided in those links – information sourced from Orthodox sources, although who knows whether the lofty Israeli Rabbinate would consider them good enough theologians to perform conversions and divorces – that offer differing views from yours, your comment #4 IS the fly-on-the-wall theory. So I guess one can love HaShem and still go for that theory. Since we’re in agreement on this issue, is there a point you wish to address about the post itself?

    By the way, here is Eliezer Berkovitz (I actually did identify him correctly but some time passed between my research and my posting the comment and I had forgotten my initial research):

    Obviously, God cannot be good or bad. By His nature, He is incapable of doing evil.However, since He is essentially incapable of evil, He is incapable of good. God’s inability tobehave unethically excludes Him from the category of ethical entities. For Him, good isneither an ideal nor a value; it is a reality, literally a fulfilled entity. Justice, love, peace, andmercy are ideals for man only. They are values that only man can fulfill. God is perfection.However, because of His very perfection He seems to lack one value: the value that resultsfrom the effort to attain a value. Because He is absolute light, He lacks the light that emanatesfrom darkness. One may even say that while goodness is a value for man, it is a reality forGod. Only man can create a value; God is a value. But if man alone creates values, if he is the[sole] creature who aspires to fulfill values, he must be given freedom to choose and decide.God must honor this freedom. The rule is that God cannot intervene whenever He finds manmisusing his freedom. By intervening, He could make it impossible to commit evil but wouldalso rule out the possibility of doing good. Man can be intimidated but cannot be flogged intodoing good. If God were to disrespect man’s freedom to choose his course of action from astance of personal responsibility, not only good and evil would vanish from the face of theearth but also so, along with them, man would himself. After all, freedom and responsibilityare the very essence of man. Without them, man is not human. For man to be man, he musthave the latitude to make his choices freely. If he possesses such a freedom, he will put it touse. However, the use to which he puts it will often be a misuse; he will opt for evil. When hedoes so, he will inflict suffering on innocents.Rabbi Eliezer Berkovitz, Faith After the Holocaust, pp. 94–95.9

    So essentially, you refer us all to a scholar who wants to eliminate God from the equation entirely. Okay, so this eliminates quite a few things from Jewish theology, doesn’t it? For example, why do we bother with Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) if any one of us can walk down the street and get shot by a person who has made a personal choice to be evil? It’s his choice and has nothing to do with my choice but I might suffer for his choice and God is not involved – after all, the killer deserves his freedom.

  • While I have heard of Rav Yosef’s opinion before, I have only a minimal idea what it is based. I understand that Rav Yosef has stated this as fact. On the face of it, to little old me, in its totality, it sounds absurd, but I’m no Torah scholar. In addition, I am curious to know how was Rav Yosef made privy to this otherwise divine confidential information.

    I already had read the 2 links you presented, which are both Chabad based sites, conveying the late Lubavitcher Rebbe’s opinion, which essentially says that the Holocaust was not divine punishment. I have problems with that, too, based on elementary Jewish teachings. Most people who learn a decent amount of Tanach, Shas and Hashkafak books by major Jewish philosophers will be able to think of numerous contradictions between Chabad’s opinion and overall workings of divine intervention (and the lack thereof) as conveyed to us for 1000’s of years.

    You’re missing my point. It’s not what you’re saying – it’s the mocking tone of how you say it.

    Can you fathom the Holocaust? Personally I can’t. From my list of choices, I chose 5. And you?

    Regarding Berkovitz’s “Faith After the Holocaust”, I can only say that from the excerpt you posted (available here, he is inconclusive IMO. I would love to see the context in which that quoted section comes from. In any case, Berkovitz’s book “With G-d in Hell” was published some 6 years later and in the book’s preface, Berkovitz mentions his previous writing and states that the questions remain unsolved.

    Yossel Rakover’s last words, which I posted above, are what Berkovitz ends the next to last chapter of “With God in Hell” with, appropriately so, IMO.

  • Here is your source for the article.

    Telushkin, to my knowledge, is not a Lubavitcher, although that does not matter in this instance since we were just discussing valid Jewish opinions.

    As for my mocking tone, it is intentional. I find it hard to believe that a god would allow the slaughter of so many, including children, on the basis of their faith or any other basis. How can one seriously expect justice from such a god? How can one believe in such a god? I can only surmise that either there is no god, or if there is one he bears no resemblance to the God of the Torah, or that if there is a God, we have to assume that we are the fly on the wall. Either idea seems fairly depressing. However, the alternative, which is to believe whole-heartedly in God and his intentions, seems to be foolish in light of what happened and continues to happen to good people.

  • TM, yes, I linked to the HTML equivalent of your PDF link.

    Google Telushkin. The site of your article isn’t called Moshiach.com for nothing. Telushkin’s article also links to AskMoses.com, also run by Chabad and what your other link pointed to.

    Indeed, I am not inavalidating Chabad’s opinion. I simply have learned contrary from my own rabbis and readings.

    Well, now we’re cooking. If there’s no G-d, then Jewlicious is far from 100% kosher, I would think.

    As for G-d of the Holocaust bearing no resemblance to the Torah’s G-d, recall the millions that perished in over 80 years of harsh servitude in Egypt, G-d’s cause and effect warnings to us in Parshat Bechukotai and Va’etchanan, with dire consequences that describe the events that took place during the destructions of both Temples and the myriads of deaths that accompanied them.

    Same G-d to me. Excellent heads-up, for that matter.

  • re shy guys comment “You’re missing my point. It’s not what you’re saying – it’s the mocking tone of how you say it.”

    That is a point the middle has refused to understand time and time again in the many long months he has been writing here. Trust me, If I could change one thing about any of our writers, that would be it.

    Let me also say that this blog is somewhat of an anarchist collective, as ck likes to call it. As such, we have no editorial meetings and the musings of one writer are rarely indicative of attitudes of the group, or any official jewlicious policy.

  • Hi Laya,

    That’s OK with me. I’ve gotten that feeling since coming across this site a few weeks ago. I think the “I Love Hashem” pic and the “100% kosher” slogan don’t jive with the blogs general contents and lack of policies you mention. A bit misleading.

  • It’s the old fly-on-the-wall-can’t-see- what-it’s-all-about, but-the-person-who-can- see-the-entire-wall- can-understand why-that-fly -is- about-to- be-thwacked-to-death theory of how good people get killed and evildoers prosper.

    That was a beautiful piece of writing, Middle. Never has Muffti heard the ‘we’re so short sighted’ view of why things happen given a name that makes it sound as lame as it really is.

  • Well, I guess I’ve got to have the pope’s back on this one. I liked his speech very much. I agree with the criticism in Shy Guy’s link, to the effect that he could have portrayed the German people as more active, and not passive, in response to the Nazis’ “promises.” (The rest of the link is way over the top.)

    It’s important to keep in mind that, while self-evidently a “son of the German people,” B wasn’t at Auschwitz as a Bavarian tourist, but instead in his representative capacity. As German-born pope, not as pope-named German. As my Holy Father, if you like. Perhaps B will favor us with a history of the Third Reich and its aftermath, but that’s not why he was there.

    Ever the theologian, his remarks were deeply eloquent. But that’s from a Catholic perspective. I think it’s different for us than you all, finding some meaning in the Holocaust. If I agree with the Church that Jews remain in an unbroken covenant relationship with God, then perhaps Jews must grapple with the Holocaust in that context.

    We Catholics believe we have a different covenant relationship with God, indeed a different relationship with the perpetrators of that event: as persons to whom the Word of God is addressed, and whose moral failure, and efforts at repentance, are judged in that context. In that sense, it’s easier for Jews, for the Nathans of the world, to dismiss Catholics and other gentiles as beyond the pale.

    In sum, there’s a distinctively Christian dimension of the pope’s speech that must seem quite alien to Jews.

    (OK, back to idol-worship. Here’s hoping to see Muffti, anyway, with me in hell!)

  • Laya, you mean that if you could change the nasty tone of comments like those about Reform Jews and McDonalds or shrimp-encrusted fish sticks, you would? I don’t remember you commenting about those remarks and yet you have a beef with a legitimate criticism of God and where he was during the murder of six million Jews. Guess what, there are plenty of Jews, including Orthodox Jews who denounced their faith after the Holocaust. It is a perfectly legitimate criticism to make and one shared by many Jews.

    Thanks Muffti, somebody appreciates me here.

    Tom, I have to admit that it was a little disconcerting to read that only one of the 32 survivors there to meet Ratzinger was a Jew considering that more than 90% of Auschwitz’s victims were Jewish.

    Shy Guy, let’s just put things in perspective here. You keep commenting that it’s not 100% kosher here because people present other JEWISH points of view, even mocking ones, that pertain to Jewish issues. Laya agrees with you. However, I see neither of you rallying to the defense of other movements who are mentioned derisively sometimes as NON-JEWS or VERY POOR JEWS on this blog. In this particular discussion, Shy Guy, you have taken us on a distant journey from the point of the post to your concern that my remarks about the fly on the wall idea make us less than 100% kosher. You stick to that line even after I show you that other Orthodox Jews believe this, because that’s not what you’ve been taught. Hmmm…does that mean that in order to be 100% kosher, Jewlicious writings need to conform to what you’ve been taught?

  • I fully agree with TM’s first paragraph but then again that just goes to show that Jewlicious is not 100% kosher as advertised.

    Denunciation of the Jewish faith is not a Jewish point of view. At most, it can be a point made by a Jew but such a point is anti-Jewish by definition.

    And again, you still don’t get it. It’s your snide tone as well as your now “100% non-kosher” opinion that I’m pointing out. I am not into denial that there is a legitimate Jewish point of view that we don’t see the big picture, etc. I even stated that I agree with it to some extent.

    As to rallying to the defense of others mentioned as NON-JEWS or VERY POOR JEWS, I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Enlighten me.

    As to Jewlicious conforming to my views, yes, I’ve just purchased the blog for $1.2M. They threw in the Brooklyn Bridge for free. So button your lip and get me my latte – pronto!

    Actually, I would think you would know that the answer to your last question is of course not. It has to conform to Judaism. Like a diamond, there are 70 facets to the Torah.

  • Denunciation of the Jewish faith in God and his covenant with us after the Holocaust most certainly is not anti-Jewish and even if it were, by the very virtue of the comments being made by a Jew, they remain Jewishly valid and legitimate – which is 100% kosher. I mean, who are you to tell a survivor who lost his/her family what they should believe and that their beliefs are anti-Jewish if they cannot understand God’s plan? Who are you to tell me, a person descended from an entire family that was destroyed – literally dozens of people – what I have to believe and state in order for my remarks to be considered legitimately Jewish?

    My snide tone is my snide tone. I find your self-righteous and critical tone about comments by people from Chabad to be quite condescending and unfortunate but I don’t dismiss your Jewishness as invalid.

    Non-Jews or very poor Jews? You mean you didn’t make a comment about invalid conversions in the Conservative and Reform movements the other day? Guess what, Shy Guy, they are Jews, those converts, no less than you. Remember Ruth?

    Your joke about buying this blog is quaint, but it evades the issue which is that in your view as long as you’re fine with what is written here because it falls into what you’ve been taught, then it’s 100% kosher.

  • Laya said:

    Let me also say that this blog is somewhat of an anarchist collective, as ck likes to call it. As such, we have no editorial meetings and the musings of one writer are rarely indicative of attitudes of the group, or any official jewlicious policy.

    …true, but don’t let that mislead you into thinking that we don’t get drunk together sometimes! And the get-togethers are still better than Jewsch…aw, fuck it.

  • Nonsense. Literally an oxymoron. One denouncing their Judaism is not anti-Jewish. Yes, black is white, etc.

    Regarding my “tone” about Chabad, go back up a few posts and quote me. Where was I condescending to Chabad? On the contrary, you hinted that I was negating Chabad and I replied “I am not invalidating Chabad’s opinion.” Me up against the Rebbe?! I know where to place my bets!

    Regarding Conservative and Reform converts, once again, I don’t make this up. According to Torah Judaism they are not Jews, plain and simple. This is Halachah, plain and simple. Sorry to ruin their day. They are 0% Jewish. I am 100% Jewish and that’s a fact. I do pity them but I’m not going to dilute the truth. I wish them all the best in one day becoming Gerei Zedek.

    Now I understand what you meant by NON-JEWS. I still don’t know what you meant by VERY POOR JEWS. Or are they one and the same?

    As for your last paragraph, then you’ve missed my point or you’re not interested in it. So be it.

  • hehehe…here’s to seeing you there to Morrissey. Maybe we can be roommates!

    Middle, of course Muffti appreciates you!

    In any case, Muffti isn’t really sure what is going on in this ‘debate’ between Shy Guy and The Middle. SG, you don’t like the 100% Kosher motto, don’t read it. It’s a metaphor, you see, and so the crew here isn’t going to great pains to make sure your interpretation is upkept. Forget controversial positions about the holocaust: one of the writers here is a happy go lucky atheist. You may as well complain about that if your target is the motto.

  • Muffti, maybe we arrange an infernal menage with Selma Hayek.

    Middle, I was also struck at the dearth of Jewish survivors. Do you know of a rationale for that? It’s especially jarring when, as you note, B stressed the Holocaust’s Jewish dimension.

  • Menage with selma hayek. Well, if there’s gotta be another man with Muffti in a compromising position, he’s just glad that selma will be there too. HEll is sounding less and less bad!

    And with any luck, you and Muffti are really jsut the resurrected souls of good people. Or something like that. And as such, we’ll get VIP treatment in the inferno.

  • Muffti, just Googled ‘catholic actress’ to see if we couldn’t get separate action. (As JB sang, “The way I like it/Is the way it is/I got mine/He got his.”)

    Came up with Nicole Kidman (she’s yours!) and Vanessa Williams (of all people).

    Think we get a porn stash, too? Or is there a graven-image issue there?

  • Shy Guy, a Conservative convert is Jewish. A Conservative rabbi is as legitimate a rabbi as any Orthodox rabbi. We’re not going to bridge this difference between us.

    If you had read the link you provided in html and I provided in pdf, you will see that Jews certainly denounce God and faith in God after the Holocaust. They have every right to and it makes them no less Jewish and by extension their remarks no less Jewish.

    You claim not to be critical of Chabad but above you write that people with elementary Jewish knowledge and definitely those with greater knowledge would find contradictions in the views expressed in my links – which included the programmer’s analogy given by the Rebbe himself. If that’s not condescension, please define it for me, or do you think the average person with elementary knowledge or even one who has studied in yeshiva is as knowledgeable as the Rebbe. You can condescend, by the way, just don’t talk to me about snideness or mocking tones, lest I bring up smugness and self-righteousness particularly regarding who-is-a-better-Jew.

    Tom, I don’t know why there was only one Jewish survivor and it troubles me. The link Shy Guy provided that was critical of the Pope’s visit does address some issues. If I’m at my most charitable, I would suggest it’s because there are very few Jews living in Poland now and finding a survivor willing to participate in this ceremony may have been challenging. If I’m at my least charitable, this can be construed as part of an ongoing pattern not only to recognize the many non-Jewish Polish victims at Auschwitz, but to extend their faith and involvement with the Catholic Church into the realm of current rememberance and worship there. In other words, this was, at its base, a Catholic event and speaking to the Jews was important but not a focus.

  • Hmm, it’s hard to figure in any event, Middle. One would think that the Vatican would see maximizing Jewish guests and VIPs in its own interest. And had B wanted to address Catholics (Poles, Germans, whomever) in a direct, specific way, his speech would’ve been quite different.

    A pity, in any event.

  • TM, I will not attempt to bridge the difference between us regarding converts. It’s irreconcilable.

    Regarding Jews denouncing Judaism, maybe we agree. I didn’t claim that such a person is no longer a Jew. I said that the discarding of one’s Judaism is in itself not a Jewish concept. It is a violation of Jewish obligation. It is the obvious antithesis of Judaism.

    As for Chabad, go right ahead and repeat your claim as many times as you want. I’ll let other readers judge my words in their context to your accusation as to whether I was condescending to Chabad or not.

  • As for Shy Guy’s link, the author’s most important objection is that B depicts the German people as victims of a Nazi cabal of criminals. As I noted above, I agree with this criticism. B’s a Bavarian, a CSU kind of guy with a lot of CDU/CSU pals. Nazi support in Bavaria, the most Catholic region in Germany and a former stronghold of the Center Party (one of the parties in the ‘Weimar coalition’), was relatively weak, and the pope’s own father resigned a government job in protest of Nazism. So B may be faulted for soft-pedalling what everyone must view as widespread support for the regime.

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