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God and the Shoah – Chosen People vs Master Race

a variant was printed as a Letter in the Jerusalem Post on Yom HaShoah, April 12, 2010

There are a number of approaches to “God’s Place in the Shoah” – some say there is no God or that He is dead; others blame the victims; still others stand mute before the Omnipotent; or seek some correlation. This last approach usually involves a faulty causality. The true question is not, “Where was God?”, but rather, “Where was Man and Where was God’s Chosen People?”.

This requires a sharper understanding of Chosen People versus Master Race – that one is the exact antithesis of the other. This understanding should reinforce our Responsibility for a moral mission to the world -- an ennobling and empowering acceptance of the relevance of God and the Shoah for today.

A Midrash says that anti-Semitism was born at Sinai. The essence of the Ten Commandments, Love Thy Fellowman, as thesis, also set the basis for its absolute rejection, reaching its most extreme form in the antithesis of Nazi racist ideology. With one finger, God created man in His image, imbued with a universal moral law that intones: Thou shalt not murder; Thou shalt not steal; etc. And with another finger, God repeatedly tests His People and all those who invoke His name, individually and collectively, by allowing evil incarnate on earth. This evil asserts a moral relativism – an idolatry that any cause can justify its means. This evil has taken different forms. Before and during the Shoah, it took the form of Nazism – subservience to an “Aryan” race as master and “purifier” of humanity. In essence, Judaism was the preeminent opponent of Nazism – the one dedicated to service, the other to domination -- they could not co-exist.

God’s challenge to His Chosen People could not have been clearer and starker in the first half of the 20th century – to confront evil incarnate on earth. Should we have mobilized as one people, united in God’s image, to confront Nazism? Were we too internally divided to be able to focus on the essential of our faith, to reaffirm universal morality? The diabolical Nazis knew the truth, that their real enemy, first and foremost, was the Jews, not the Allies. To say that we couldn’t have done more does not negate what we should have done in God’s vision, the Giver of Free Will. Such Responsibility implies neither guilt nor superiority. Likewise, our own level of morality or religiosity does not negate the essential mission given to Israel for the NationsBearer of the Torch from Sinai, but not the Source of its Flame! This is our primary “light to the nations”, not moral example. The quest for the latter should not paralyze and thus deflect us from realizing our primary Mission.

Today, now that immoral Communism and Nazism are out of power, the world is confronted with a new cancer -- no longer a Master Proletariat, or a Master Race, but a would-be Master Jihadist Religion that is devilishly subverting Islam itself. We have inherited the responsibility for the Torch and for the watchword, Never Again. The heavenly court is again waiting to see if His Chosen People and friends of Israel will know that they are today called to unite & mobilize against evil for humanity’s sake.