Dei'ah Vedibur - Information &

A Window into the Chareidi World

24 Shevat 5766 - February 22, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
On the Ways of the Holy Ones: Remembering the Holocaust

by Yisroel Spiegel

Part II

By keeping the voice of Yaakov strong and steady, we Torah- true Jews are commemorating the Holocaust, keeping the memory of the millions alive and continuing along the path which they followed as they sacrificed their lives, their souls ascending in flames directly to Heaven. Our weltanshauung does not see the departure from life on earth as a dead end. On the contrary: the holy souls rise to bask in the light of the heavenly palaces. They surely derive great spiritual satisfaction from seeing the continuation of Jewish life down on earth among brethren who, despite of all the difficulties of our present day, preserve the Jewish lifestyle and its values and practice its teachings as has been done from time immemorial.

We have no place for national and international ceremonies to commemorate the Holocaust. We are also diffident with regard to the locations and expressions of those memorial rites where they always talk about preserving the memory through immobile, inanimate and lifeless media such as archives, museums, photo exhibits, monuments and the like. All these, even if they arouse great interest for research, fall very short of expressing and reflecting the true vibrant life which the deceased millions lived and breathed, the pulsating holy communities in which they thrived, the Torah fortresses, and the bustling, flourishing Chassidic courts from which they derived their strength.

What does properly and significantly express our attitude in a living, concrete way, are the botei knesses and botei midrash from which the voice of Yaakov continues to issue forth. These are the wellsprings of continuity of Torah and Yiddishkeit, as are the yeshivos and bastions of Torah in all of their spiritual colors, schools of thought, spiritual styles, with their respective followings, which flourished and proliferated then — and since those days. These are the indicators of Jewish continuity in these present times.

In contradistinction to the motto of "Never Again," we declare, "Again and Again!" Yes, we shall maintain and increase Torah life under the guidance of our leaders of Torah, mussar and chassidus, for this is the true and only way to honor in any meaningful, genuine and most apt manner the holy memory of those millions of Jews who were led to their death for the only `sin' of being Jewish. This is true Jewish revenge to flout the Satanic scheme of extermination devised by Hitler ym'sh.

From the depths of his antipathy, he understood that even if only a remnant of loyal Jews remain, Jews who are thoroughly versed in Jewish law, the Jewish nation will make a comeback. His orders can be readily found in original German documents: to first round up the `Talmudists,' that is, the religious leaders and rabbis, and eliminate them, murder them. For so long as they remained alive, his whole schedule of genocide would be thwarted. He understood that those few would be able to reestablish Jewry afresh, phoenix-like, no matter how many of the common folk he decimated.

This is what happened, by the grace of Hashem, in reality. Despite the systematic annihilation campaign carried out by the Nazis against Jewish Torah leadership, Hashem spared a select few who refused to submit to despair. In their mighty faith and nobility of spirit, they clung to their beliefs and, after having been Providentially spared, dredged up from deep inside their spiritual reserves the special powers needed to rebuild the empire of Torah, the yeshivos, the Chassidic courts, from the beginning. These are the only ones who are in practice restoring and rehabilitating what was destroyed in the Holocaust.


Chareidi Jewry has not only been preoccupied in reconstructing the kingdom of Torah since the Holocaust, but also in its actual physical reconstruction through building up large families. These attempt to fill the ranks of the missing, to some degree. Surely by their very existence, growth and dedication to Torah study and a Torah life, they are constantly replenishing the ranks and reviving the Jewish communities that were wiped out so brutally.

We are in no need of museums and archives — be they the best documented and preserved — in order to see and understood what was there. For the streets of our cities, our neighborhoods, and especially our houses of prayer and study in which the voice of Yaakov rings out, best replicate in a most vivid, living manner, the Jewish world that was destroyed.

Most amazing is the yen of the younger generation to emulate the form and figure of their grandparents and ancestors. The attire, language, customs, lifestyle, even accent as it was in the past — are imitated. Subconsciously, there must be a noble motive declaring to the Nazi fiend: "You killed bodies, but their souls are still vibrantly alive. Parchments were burned but letters wafted to the heavens."

And those flying letters are descending again and taking concrete form on parchments and in the bodies of living people who rejoice to be fulfilling the will of their Creator. Surely, there can be no form better suited and fitting to commemorate the sacrifice of those saintly six million.

In contrast to all this, how pained is the heart in seeing those Jews who are incapable of grasping the elementary but very deeply basic rejoinder to the demonic desire of our enemies to destroy us. Even greater is the pain over the myopic attitude they display towards our blessed families, when they stand self-importantly with their diagrams and statistical charts showing demographic trends of the decreasing size of the Jewish people in the coming two decades, as opposed to the real growth of our community. The stark contrast throws them into a panic to the point of passing all kinds of restrictive laws against those very ones who are internalizing in every aspect of their lives the true message produced by the terrible Holocaust. This is the very crux, the purpose behind their curtailing of the child allowances.

Who, indeed, is preventing them from raising large, blessed families? If they are so afraid of a chareidi population explosion, the fear of pen yirbeh, let them similarly increase their own ranks. Their financial and educational resources and possibilities are far greater than ours!

And yet, they seem to be bent upon self-destruction. For not only is their birth rate on the decrease and standing at below ZPG and below the natural growth for the nation as a whole, but their whole lifestyle is a syndrome of self- destruction. Not only do they relate negatively to the blessings of Jewish children, but they even cold-bloodedly murder their own unborn fetuses en masse through abortion.

The children that they do bear, place no value on their own lives and sink into depraved existences of revelry and dissolution. They wallow in drugs and drinking, and parents spend their nights in fear for their children's fate, for the trend is on the rise. Will they return home safely from their partying and drunken driving? The numbers of these agitated parents exceeds those who are concerned for sons serving on the attrition war front, in dangerous military outposts.


They are afraid lest we surpass them through our blessed increase, yet the choice is theirs to compete. But precisely those who cannot view our growth with benign eyes are emotionally and psychologically unable to fight increase with increase of their own. Maran the Chazon Ish zy'a said in his time, "We will win, since they have decreed their own extermination."

Those from their ranks who are awakened to opt for a real, meaningful life, reach the daring decision of joining the ranks of Torah true Jewry, which embraces, among many other values, the formula of large, blessed families. And in this way, they spare themselves from the danger of annihilation.

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