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The Shoah

Some personal background.

My grandfather's family business was taken from them. My grandfather was a surgeon and was no longer allowed to practice except on Jewish people who couldn't pay. My grandfather's house was taken over by the SS and they were allowed to live in the corridor in the daytime and in jail at night. My grandfather was arrested for being Jewish more than once, and the family had to pay to get him out of jail. My grandparents were put on a train to Auschwitz and never heard from again.

Many of you reading this short series of statements can relate to stories in your own families. Many of you who relate, know that the number of stories of atrocities that happened from 1933 all the way through the end of the Second World War are so much more numerous for each family, there is not space enough to write them all.

The Shoah is the worst persecution of our people in modern times - even worse than the pogroms, the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades, and the Shoah and these other persecutions raise some deep questions:.

  1. Why does suffering exist?

  2. If HaKadosh Baruch Hu is all powerful and really cares for us, how could He let all this happen?

  3. If perhaps HaKadosh Baruch Hu thought that my parents or grandparents were guilty of breaking mitzvos, what guilt could my little brother/sister etc. have if they were children?

  4. Why does this happen to Jewish people?

  5. Is there any kind of healing for the suffering of the Shoah?

  6. Are there any lessons for us from the Shoah?

Why does suffering exist?

This is a question that many have screamed. It is a question that is in many ways beyond full answers. We're told in Dvarim perek כט, posek כח, that some things still belong as 'secret knowledge' to HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

הַנִסְתָרֹת ה' אֱלֹקֵינו וְהַנִגְלֹת לָנו ולְבָנֵינו עַד עוֹלָם לַעֲשוֹת אֶת כָל דִבְרֵי הַתוֹרָה הַזֹאת:

"There are some things that the LORD our God has kept secret; but he has revealed his Law, and we and our descendants are to obey it forever."

Does this posek mean that we should just not ask the question and keep Torah? I don't believe so. But it does tell us that there are some deep answers that we might not fully comprehend until the oilom haboh. We can look in the Tanach to see what perspectives HaKadosh Baruch Hu has revealed for us. This is important because even keeping some of the Torah in our hearts can be difficult if we're still dealing with the trauma of this situation.

Let's take a look at some of the issues here. Our first approach is to look at suffering and evil in general. After all, while the Shoah is closest to us, and perhaps evil on a scale never before seen in the world, there have been many other terrible massacres to other peoples in history. Just in recent years we've seen genocides carried out by Serbs on Bosnians, 800,000 Rwandans (nearly exclusively Tutsis) were killed by Hutus in the space of 100 days. Smaller pogroms continue to go on around the world from Indonesia to America, Africa to Europe. What is it in man that allows him (or her) to carry out such evil? Let's take a look at the Shoah again. We know that the majority of Germans were not hardcore Nazis, yet the overwhelming majority of Germans enabled and furthered the Nazi program. What is it in the heart of man (and woman) that means they don't stand up for tzidkus when they should? (And then they deny it afterwards!)

The Novi Yermiyohu says this:

עָקֹב הַלֵב מִכֹל וְאָנֻש הוא מִי יֵדָעֶנו:

(perek יז, posek ט.)

"Who can understand the human heart? There is nothing else so deceitful; it is too sick to be healed."

Maybe that's why Dovid HaMelech says…

הֵן בְעָווֹן חוֹלָלְתִי ובְחֵטְא יֶחֱמַתְנִי אִמִי:

(Tehillim perek נא, posek ז)

("I was born in iniquity ; and in sin my mother conceived me.")

…after he commits adultery and arranges to murder a loyal soldier.

How could such wickedness be in the heart of a man who is for the most part a righteous leader in Yisroel? There is not one person in the Tanach who is fully righteous, and that's what HaMelech Shlomo says in Koheles perek ז, posek ט.

כִי אָדָם אֵין צַדִיק בָאָרֶץ אֲשֶר יַעֲשֶה טוֹב וְלֹא יֶחֱטָא:

"There is no one on earth who does what is right all the time and never sins."

This lack of tzidkus in our lives explains the kind of conflicts we can have with one another. Think of the fighting in the shul in Williamsburg a few years back. How could that happen? How can we say or write such terrible things about one another as we often see published.

Yermiyohu, Dovid HaMelech and Shlomo HaMelech tell us the problem is our heart, and we are just deceiving ourselves if we pretend to be above acting in sin. Often it takes great strength and risk to stand against injustice. Often it takes more than we find within ourselves to stand fully against sin.

We humans have repeatedly been used with our full active cooperation to bring evil into the world and not reflect HaKadosh Baruch Hu, as we were commanded.

But this brings us to our next point. Suffering and evil reflect more than just man's disobedience. When we look at Hitler and similar people; when we look at the scale and detail of the atrocities, we see something that can only be described as evil. These deliberate plans and acts are not just "unrighteous" - they are actively evil. True evil does exist and is the opposite of HaKadosh Baruch Hu. We see the origin of this true evil as Satan in the Tanach. Literally the name means the "Accuser, or Adversary". This figure is an enemy of HaKadosh Baruch Hu and does everything to fight against the will of Ribbono Shel Olam. Fortunately for us Ribbono Shel Olam is much more powerful, but we see with the story of Iyov that Satan is more powerful than humans. This means that humans who do not fully submit themselves to HaKadosh Baruch Hu will knowingly or unknowingly become agents of real evil. And this is what we saw in the Shoah. Those righteous goyim who stood against the evil at considerable personal risk were most often those who put faith and trust in HaKadosh Baruch Hu before their personal wellbeing. (People like Corrie Ten Boom in Holland, who wrote the book "The Hiding Place".)

So our first partial answer is that suffering exists because of the active evil of Satan and his influence through us imperfect humans. Shockingly, Koheles tell us none of us is righteous all the time and so, if only in a small way, we are all capable of taking part in this evil.

Is there a way forward for us to avoid living in such a condition? Well, in the start of Bereshis we see how Adam and Chava disobeyed HaKadosh Baruch Hu and as a consequence lost their intimate relationship with Him, and their immortality. Their disobedience was instigated by Satan in the form of a snake. As a result, Adam, Chava and their descendants (us) were sentenced to a mortal life of hardship and partial separation from Ribbono Shel Olam. This is why some of the passages that mention Satan are so interesting. Let's look at the Novi Zecharyoh perek ג, for example.

וַיַרְאֵנִי אֶת יְהוֹשֻעַ הַכֹהֵן הַגָדוֹל עֹמֵד לִפְנֵי מַלְאַךְ ה' וְהַשָטָן עֹמֵד עַל יְמִינוֹ לְשִטְנוֹ: וַיֹאמֶר ה' אֶל הַשָטָן יִגְעַר ה' בְךָ הַשָטָן וְיִגְעַר ה' בְךָ הַבֹחֵר בִירושָלִָם הֲלוֹא זֶה אוד מֻצָל מֵאֵש: וִיהוֹשֻעַ הָיָה לָבֻש בְגָדִים צוֹאִים וְעֹמֵד לִפְנֵי הַמַלְאָךְ: וַיַעַן וַיֹאמֶר אֶל הָעֹמְדִים לְפָנָיו לֵאמֹר הָסִירו הַבְגָדִים הַצֹאִים מֵעָלָיו וַיֹאמֶר אֵלָיו רְאֵה הֶעֱבַרְתִי מֵעָלֶיךָ עֲוֹנֶךָ וְהַלְבֵש אֹתְךָ מַחֲלָצוֹת: וָאֹמַר יָשִימו צָנִיף טָהוֹר עַל רֹאשוֹ וַיָשִימו הַצָנִיף הַטָהוֹר עַל רֹאשוֹ וַיַלְבִשֻהו בְגָדִים ומַלְאַךְ ה' עֹמֵד: וַיָעַד מַלְאַךְ ה' בִיהוֹשֻעַ לֵאמֹר: כֹה אָמַר ה' צְבָאוֹת אִם בִדְרָכַי תֵלֵךְ וְאִם אֶת מִשְמַרְתִי תִשְמֹר וְגַם אַתָה תָדִין אֶת בֵיתִי וְגַם תִשְמֹר אֶת חֲצֵרָי וְנָתַתִי לְךָ מַהְלְכִים בֵין הָעֹמְדִים הָאֵלֶה: שְמַע נָא יְהוֹשֻעַ הַכֹהֵן הַגָדוֹל אַתָה וְרֵעֶיךָ הַיֹשְבִים לְפָנֶיךָ כִי אַנְשֵי מוֹפֵת הֵמָה כִי הִנְנִי מֵבִיא אֶת עַבְדִי צֶמַח: כִי הִנֵה הָאֶבֶן אֲשֶר נָתַתִי לִפְנֵי יְהוֹשֻעַ עַל אֶבֶן אַחַת שִבְעָה עֵינָיִם הִנְנִי מְפַתֵחַ פִתֻחָה נְאֻם ה' צְבָאוֹת ומַשְתִי אֶת עֲוֹן הָאָרֶץ הַהִיא בְיוֹם אֶחָד: בַיוֹם הַהוא נְאֻם יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת תִקְרְאו אִיש לְרֵעֵהו אֶל תַחַת גֶפֶן וְאֶל תַחַת תְאֵנָה:

"In another vision the HaKadosh Baruch Hu showed me the Cohen Gadol Joshua standing before the angel of the HaKadosh Baruch Hu. And there beside Joshua stood Satan, ready to bring an accusation against him. The angel of the HaKadosh Baruch Hu said to Satan, "May Ribbono Shel Olam condemn you, Satan! May HaKadosh Baruch Hu, who loves Jerusalem, condemn you. This man is like a stick snatched from the fire." Joshua was standing there, wearing filthy clothes. The angel said to his heavenly attendants, "Take away the filthy clothes this man is wearing." Then he said to Joshua, "I have taken away your sin and will give you new clothes to wear."

He commanded the attendants to put a clean turban on Joshua's head. They did so, and then they put the new clothes on him while the angel of the HaKadosh Baruch Hu stood there. Then the angel told Joshua that Ribbono Shel Olam, the Almighty, had said: "If you obey My laws and perform the duties I have assigned you, then you will continue to be in charge of My Temple and its courts, and I will hear your prayers, just as I hear the prayers of the angels who are in my presence. Listen then, Joshua, you who are the Cohen Gadol; and listen, you fellow priests of his, you that are the sign of a good future: I will reveal my servant, who is called The Branch!

I am placing in front of Joshua a single stone with seven facets. I will engrave an inscription on it, and in a single day I will take away the sin of this land. When that day comes, each of you will invite your neighbor to come and enjoy peace and security, surrounded by your vineyards and fig trees."

Here we see the Cohen Gadol, Yehoshua, representing the people before HaKadosh Baruch Hu in clothes literally "covered in excrement" (symbolizing our sin). But Ribbono Shel Olam arranges for a Yehoshua to have white clothes - atonement. Then He says that this is a type of someone to come - "My righteous servant" - Moshiach. We see a picture how through Moshiach as Cohen Gadol our filthy rags can become white. This posek even says our sin will be removed in this way in a single day!

Why does suffering exist? In one sense it's a mystery, but in another it's the logical outcome of us humans choosing to walk away from HaKadosh Baruch Hu. With our forefather Adam and Chava we see the consequences. The world changed from a place of nothing but blessing and relationship with Ribbono Shel Olam, to a place of trouble and death.

If HaKadosh Baruch Hu is all powerful and really cares for us, how could He let all this happen?

This is the next logical question. And again, we can't claim to know the whole mind of HaKadosh Baruch Hu. Here are some thoughts about the subject:

Let's ask a couple of questions to start with. Why did HaKadosh Baruch Hu allow Dovid HaMelech to murder a man and to commit adultery? Why did HaKadosh Baruch Hu allow the son he had with Batsheva to die? Did Ribbono Shel Olam not love the child? Did Ribbono Shel Olam not love Uryoh? What about Moshe Rabbenu. How come HaKadosh Baruch Hu allowed him to hit a rock for water and miss out on entering Eretz Yisroel?

Firstly, HaKadosh Baruch Hu gives us a lot of evidence in the Tanach that He loved and cared for Moshe Rabbenu and Dovid HaMelech. However, as He is perfect He cannot compromise even for Moshe Rabbenu and Dovid HaMelech. There are consequences even for them when they sin. This should not make us doubt the love of Ribbono Shel Olam but should make us have even more confidence in His love because we can trust His standards and constancy. If we lived in a world where mass-murderers were allowed to do what they liked with no consequences, we'd all be living in fear at home behind locked doors. The fact that there are consequences for evil, like murder, makes society safe for us. With these examples of Moshe Rabbenu and Dovid HaMelech we see that HaKadosh Baruch Hu will not change His constant standards - even for great tzaddikim. This should give us a lot of confidence as it also shows He cares what happens to the little person as well as the Melech and the Novi.

Secondly, HaKadosh Baruch Hu has made us "betzalmo". (See Bereshis perek א, posek כז). This includes a decision-making capacity - or choice. The only way Ribbono Shel Olam could change this is by not making us betzalmo, but making us robots. HaKadosh Baruch Hu is faithful to uphold the freedom He has given us, even if it hurts Him terribly.

The Tanach tells us how much HaKadosh Baruch Hu loves us, but also how we in walking away from Him, and even killing His prophets, have brought pain to Him and to us. (See for example Dvarim perek לב).

If we look at the whole of our history, we see the following: When we walk away from HaKadosh Baruch Hu, we do not receive from Him instantly the penalty for our sin. Instead there is an opportunity to repent and turn back to Him, (usually requiring sacrifice for atonement as well). Let's use the example of Dovid HaMelech again. HaKadosh Baruch Hu did not kill him immediately he sinned, but allowed him the opportunity to repent first. At that time in his life HaMelech Dovid's heart was too hard to see his sin, so HaKadosh Baruch Hu sent Natan as His mouthpiece to help HaMelech Dovid see his sin. (See Shmuel ב, perek יב). Allowing Dovid HaMelech time to repent from adultery however also allows him the freedom to kill Uriah. There is a terrible tension here. If HaKadosh Baruch Hu is to withhold judgment enough for us to have a chance to repent and be forgiven, there is also room for us to do worse. But who of us would want to give up the opportunity to repent and be written in the Book of Life in the oilom haboh?

There is good news though. The Tanach shows us that while we are required to live for HaKadosh Baruch Hu here on earth, there is an oilom haboh. And as we have noted before, passages such as Daniel perek יב, posek ב show us that in the oilom haboh there will be no suffering for those who are with HaKadosh Baruch Hu. There will be final and lasting judgment and the wicked will be separated from the presence of Ribbono Shel Olam, and those of us who are written in the Book of Life for ever. Eternity is where it really counts. This life is a second of time compared to that.

The other good news is this. HaKadosh Baruch Hu knows that because of our averoh, our world is messed up and people do evil, and He promises to be there with us as we struggle through suffering. Look at psukim such as Yeshayohu perek מג, psukim ה-א. Notice it doesn't say "if you pass through…", but "when you pass through…". I have found that to be true, even if it takes time to reflect afterwards.

If you would like to see a DVD or video that relates the life stories of six people who experienced the Shoah and realized this click here.

If perhaps HaKadosh Baruch Hu thought that my parents or grandparents were guilty of breaking mitzvos, what guilt could my little brother/sister etc. have if they were children?

We've already seen that no-one is innocent. By the standards of HaKadosh Baruch Hu we should all deserve pretty much the same fate, whatever that may be. Therefore, it would not be consistent with His justice to say that all those who died in the Shoah were more guilty than those who escaped it. We have also already seen that the Shoah, like all atrocities, is a result of active evil in the world and Satan's influence over those who do not fully submit their lives to HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

There is a way we can expand this kind of question. What about someone who is born handicapped? Did they sin? Did their parents commit an averoh? How did that child get born handicapped and another one escape?

Again, we do not have full answers for suffering, but we can definitely say HaKadosh Baruch Hu gives us evidence that suffering is not automatically a consequence of personal sin or sin of our parents. However, if we are going to commit an averoh, we can only expect the consequences outlined in the Torah. It's the mercy of Ribbono Shel Olam if those consequences are delayed and we have a chance to repent and turn back to Him.

Let's look at the question of those born with handicaps or those children who died in the Shoah. Firstly, we have to recognize the posek in Dvarim perek כט, posek כח, that states we will not know all the reasons. It's our natural inclination faced with these tragedies and challenges to scream "why"? We may never find all the "answers", but we can be comforted to know that Ribbono Shel Olam is close to us to help us overcome the impossible in a greater way than we can imagine if we stay close to Him. We've seen some psukim in Yeshayohu that state this. Here are a couple more psukim from the Tanach.

כִי אֵל רַחום יְהֹוָה אֱלֹקֶיךָ לֹא יַרְפְךָ וְלֹא יַשְחִיתֶךָ וְלֹא יִשְכַח אֶת בְרִית אֲבֹתֶיךָ אֲשֶר נִשְבַע לָהֶם:

"…For the HaKadosh Baruch Hu, your Ribbono Shel Olam is merciful; He will not fail you, neither destroy you, nor forget the covenant of your fathers which He swore to them."

Dvarim perek ד, posek לא.

ה' יִגְמֹר בַעֲדִי ה' חַסְדְךָ לְעוֹלָם מַעֲשֵי יָדֶיךָ אַל תֶרֶף:

"HaKadosh Baruch Hu will perfect His work in me; O Ribbono Shel Olam, Your mercy endures forever; You will not forsake the works of Your hands."

Tehillim perek קל"ח, posek ח.

יֵצֶר סָמוךְ תִצֹר שָלוֹם שָלוֹם כִי בְךָ בָטוחַ:

"You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You; because he trusts in You."

Yeshayohu perek כו, posek ג.

But there is more to this than just survival. Yeshua made an astonishing statement when he was questioned like this.

"As Yeshua was walking along, he saw a man who had been born blind. His talmidim asked him, "Rabbi, whose sin caused him to be born blind? Was it his own or his parents' sin?" Yeshua answered, "His blindness has nothing to do with his sins or his parents' sins. He is blind so that the power of HaKadosh Baruch Hu might be seen at work in him."

Yochanan perek ט, psukim ג-א.

It is as if the world was put into reverse when Adam and Chavah disobeyed HaKadosh Baruch Hu. Nothing is perfect and everything is dying. But HaKadosh Baruch Hu promises that even when we have terrible challenges, He can redeem the situation to show how great He is and to give us true peace and fulfillment in our life here on earth. More than that, He has a purpose for us that can bring Him glory in such a way as to speak to others, sometimes for many generations to come.

If we're a chosen people, why does this suffering happen to the Jewish people?

Here's another difficult question. We have already established that many other peoples have also suffered terrible persecutions and atrocities throughout history, and continue to do so today. However, looking at history as a whole, it does seem as if the Jewish people have suffered an immense amount of attack. Perhaps in the light of this history we should be asking another question:

"How has the Jewish nation survived when entire empires have been obliterated?"

This is a very interesting question. We have already established death and destruction are part of our fallen world, and the activities of haSatan. Death and destruction have occurred everywhere in the world, very often through other human beings. Think about the Novi Daniel's prophecy to do with the different empires overtaking each other - the Babylonian, then the Persian, then the Greek and finally the Roman empire. If we look in Bereshis we find an empire called the Hittite empire. Until 100 years or so ago, secular academics were trying to use these biblical accounts to prove the Tanach was not true! How? Because the Hittite empire is portrayed as such a powerful empire they were convinced archaeologists should have turned up evidence of its existence. But archaeologists did eventually find a lot of evidence of the Hittite empire and the Tanach is again proven true.

What does this show us? It shows us that a very great empire disappeared without a trace for very many centuries, but that little Yisroel has remained despite all the attacks of Amalek, Sancheriv, Haman, Antiokus all the way up to modern times of Stalin, Hitler and Hamas. The Babylonian Empire was destroyed, the Greek Empire destroyed, the Roman Empire destroyed and yet little Yisroel still exists. This clearly shows the hand of HaKadosh Baruch Hu in our preservation.

Now some say the reason we still exist is the Rabbonim, but this is clearly not the whole truth. Just think about the former Soviet Union for example. There was barely any religious activity for 70 years but the Jewish people still survived. It seems that HaKadosh Baruch Hu is preserving "a remnant" just as He promised.

וְהֵבֵאתִי אֶת הַשְלִשִית בָאֵש וצְרַפְתִים כִצְרֹף אֶת הַכֶסֶף ובְחַנְתִים כִבְחֹן אֶת הַזָהָב הוא יִקְרָא בִשְמִי וַאֲנִי אֶעֱנֶה אֹתוֹ אָמַרְתִי עַמִי הוא וְהוא יֹאמַר ה' אֱלֹקָי:

"…And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on My name, and I will answer them; I will say: 'It is My people', and they shall say: 'HaKadosh Baruch Hu is my Ribbono Shel Olam.'"

Zecharyoh perek יג, posek ט.

HaKadosh Baruch Hu often shows His greatest power when faced with the greatest opposition. For example, immediately after Hitler's attempt to exterminate Jewish people entirely we see previously unheard of numbers of Jewish people living in Yerushalayim. But there's more…

During Nisan we celebrate Pesach. Pesach reminds us of the time that Moshe Rabbenu led our people out of the land of slavery. Let's examine a few things to do with Moshe. Firstly, at the start of Sh'mos we see that Pharaoh tried to annihilate all Jewish male children under the age of two. But at the very time Pharaoh under Satan's influence tried to destroy Yisroel, HaKadosh Baruch Hu caused a deliverer to be born right under Pharaoh's nose. Not only was Moshe Rabbenu protected, but he also lived right in Pharaoh's house and his own mother was still allowed to raise him! It has been said that no time is the power of HaKadosh Baruch Hu so evident as when evil men, trying to accomplish their own desires, end up enabling HaKadosh Baruch Hu's plan to come to fruition.

Later on though, Moshe Rabbenu has to flee because of opposition not just from the Egyptians but also from opposition among Yisroel. (Sh'mos perek ב, psukim טו-יג.) Then, about 430 years or so after the last recorded time HaKadosh Baruch Hu speaks to anyone, we see Him speak to the Novi, Moshe Rabbenu in perek ג. HaKadosh Baruch Hu chooses Moshe Rabbenu as a Novi and to be the one to lead Yisroel out of slavery at a time of real opposition. Moshe Rabbenu is preserved through the time of slaughter of all male sons. Then in Dvarim perek יח, psukim יט-יח Ribbono Shel Olam says to Moshe Rabbenu:

נָבִיא אָקִים לָהֶם מִקֶרֶב אֲחֵיהֶם כָמוֹךָ וְנָתַתִי דְבָרַי בְפִיו וְדִבֶר אֲלֵיהֶם אֵת כָל אֲשֶר אֲצַוֶנו: וְהָיָה הָאִיש אֲשֶר לֹא יִשְמַע אֶל דְבָרַי אֲשֶר יְדַבֵר בִשְמִי אָנֹכִי אֶדְרש מֵעִמוֹ:

"I will raise them up a prophet from among their brothers, like you; and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I will require it of him."

Think of the similarities with what happened about 430 years after the Novi Malochi - the last recorded time HaKadosh Baruch Hu spoke in the Tanach. At that time Hordus commanded all sons under age two be killed in the city of Beislechem of Dovid. This fulfilled what the Novi Yermiyohu said:

כֹה אָמַר ה' קוֹל בְרָמָה נִשְמָע נְהִי בְכִי תַמְרורִים רָחֵל מְבַכָה עַל בָנֶיהָ מֵאֲנָה לְהִנָחֵם עַל בָנֶיהָ כִי אֵינֶנו:

"So says HaKadosh Baruch Hu, 'A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing, bitter weeping: Rachel weeping for her sons; she refuses to be comforted for her sons for they are not.'"

Yermiyohu perek לא, posek יד.

Despite this a Novi survived, in fact by being taken to Mitzrayim! (Remember Pesach). Then the Novi came back to Yisroel, and like Moshe Rabbenu he experienced opposition from the goyim and from Yisroel. Like Moshe Rabbenu, he was chosen to lead people into freedom from slavery. Like Moshe Rabbenu HaKadosh Baruch Hu was to cut a covenant with him. This covenant is mentioned in the same perek of Yermiyohu, Yermiyohu perek לא, posek לג-ל. Through this covenant we are told HaKadosh Baruch Hu will put His Torah into our hearts. This is one step more than the bris with Moshe Rabbenu.

הִנֵה יָמִים בָאִים נְאֻם ה' וְכָרַתִי אֶת בֵית יִשְרָאֵל וְאֶת בֵית יְהודָה בְרִית חֲדָשָה: לֹא כַבְרִית אֲשֶר כָרַתִי אֶת אֲבוֹתָם בְיוֹם הֶחֱזִיקִי בְיָדָם לְהוֹצִיאָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם אֲשֶר הֵמָה הֵפֵרו אֶת בְרִיתִי וְאָנֹכִי בָעַלְתִי בָם נְאֻם ה': כִי זֹאת הַבְרִית אֲשֶר אֶכְרֹת אֶת בֵית יִשְרָאֵל אַחֲרֵי הַיָמִים הָהֵם נְאֻם ה' נָתַתִי אֶת תוֹרָתִי בְקִרְבָם וְעַל לִבָם אֶכְתֲבֶנָה וְהָיִיתִי לָהֶם לֵאלֹקִים וְהֵמָה יִהְיו לִי לְעָם: וְלֹא יְלַמְדו עוֹד אִיש אֶת רֵעֵהו וְאִיש אֶת אָחִיו לֵאמֹר דְעו אֶת ה' כִי כולָם יֵדְעו אוֹתִי לְמִקְטַנָם וְעַד גְדוֹלָם נְאֻם ה' כִי אֶסְלַח לַעֲוֹנָם ולְחַטָאתָם לֹא אֶזְכָר עוֹד:

"Behold, the days come, says HaKadosh Baruch Hu, that I will cut a new covenant with the house of Yisroel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I cut with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt (which covenant of Mine they broke, although I was a husband to them, says HaKadosh Baruch Hu). But this shall be the covenant that I will cut with the house of Yisroel: After those days, declares HaKadosh Baruch Hu, I will put My Torah in their inward parts, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their Ribbono Shel Olam, and they shall be My people. And they shall no longer each man teach his neighbor, and each man his brother, saying, Know HaKadosh Baruch Hu. For they shall all know Me, from the least of them even to the greatest of them, declares HaKadosh Baruch Hu. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more."

To summarize we have seen that HaKadosh Baruch Hu judges us all equally and fairly, and that we will reap the reward of that in the oilom haboh. Either we will be without Him forever or with Him forever. This is what really counts. Secondly, we see that the greatest terrors cannot stop the purposes of HaKadosh Baruch Hu to save us. Lastly, we see we need to respond to the Neviim He sent to experience deliverance like at Pesach and even greater.

Is there any kind of healing for the suffering of the Shoah?

When we talk of healing, what are we talking about? We can't rewrite or remake history. In fact those of us who have dealt first hand with the effects of the Shoah, or those who are the children of survivors need to be witnesses of these events. However, trauma from any source can work deeply in our neshumeh to affect the way we act and react in society for the rest of our lives. It is here that HaKadosh Baruch Hu can bring us real healing. What we are talking about is way back in time, so we need the Master of time to help us with this. Trauma also messes up our perception of objective reality and we need the Master of real truth to help us with this.

HaKadosh Baruch Hu can help us if our relationship with Him is restored. He can help us see where He was in those events. He can help us see objective reality and be set free from the prisons that surround us as a result. This is what Moshiach came to do - set us free and restore our relationship with HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

Click here to view some life stories of those who have found healing from the controlling effects of the Shoah.

Are there any lessons for us from the Shoah?

There are many lessons, and we have examined quite a few on this site:

1. There is a real power of evil - an adversary against HaKadosh Baruch Hu called haSatan.

2. HaKadosh Baruch Hu is more powerful.

3. Men and women do not have the power by themselves to resist the Yetzer Hara and the influence of haSatan. It is only pride that makes us think otherwise.

4. The power to resist evil consistently can only come from HaKadosh Baruch Hu and His Ruach in our life. (See for example Yechezkel perek לו, posek כה-כז.)

וְזָרַקְתִי עֲלֵיכֶם מַיִם טְהוֹרִים וטְהַרְתֶם מִכֹל טֻמְאוֹתֵיכֶם ומִכָל גִלולֵיכֶם אֲטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם: וְנָתַתִי לָכֶם לֵב חָדָש וְרוחַ חֲדָשָה אֶתֵן בְקִרְבְכֶם וַהֲסִרֹתִי אֶת לֵב הָאֶבֶן מִבְשַרְכֶם וְנָתַתִי לָכֶם לֵב בָשָר: וְאֶת רוחִי אֶתֵן בְקִרְבְכֶם וְעָשִיתִי אֵת אֲשֶר בְחֻקַי תֵלֵכו ומִשְפָטַי תִשְמְרו וַעֲשִיתֶם:

"Then I will sprinkle clean waters on you, and you shall be clean. I will cleanse you from all your defilement and from all your idols. And I will also give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give to you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall keep My judgments and do them."

5. Judgment is real, but HaKadosh Baruch Hu delays it for a time so we have a chance to repent and turn to Him.

6. The oilom haboh is where final judgment is realized. At that time there will no longer be a chance to change. Either we will be with HaKadosh Baruch Hu forever or we will not be with Him for ever.

7. HaKadosh Baruch Hu will reveal Himself to those who seek His face, and that includes bringing us healing. (See for example Divrei Hayamim ב perek ז, posek יד and Yermiyohu perek כט, posek יג.)

וְיִכָנְעו עַמִי אֲשֶר נִקְרָא שְמִי עֲלֵיהֶם וְיִתְפַלְלו וִיבַקְשו פָנַי וְיָשֻבו מִדַרְכֵיהֶם הָרָעִים וַאֲנִי אֶשְמַע מִן הַשָמַיִם וְאֶסְלַח לְחַטָאתָם וְאֶרְפָא אֶת אַרְצָם:

"If My people, upon whom My name is called, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." "And you shall seek and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart."

8. To know HaKadosh Baruch Hu and His healing, as well as His power in our life to resist the Yetzer HaRa and haSatan is only possible under His conditions.

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