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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Yated Neeman dishonors the Holocaust dead

We honor the dead. We pay respect to them. We remember those who died, and all those who died, died Al Kiddush Hashem. Those who fought and those who prayed. Those who were shot at the doorstep of their homes and those who were thrown in pits. Those who hurled grenades from attic windows and those who died in the gas chambers. They are all our brothers and sisters. They are all our people.

We honor them and the Yated Neeman dishonors them. What could be better in time to remember the Shoah than an article calling the Warsaw Ghetto fighters men and women who committed "suicide for motives that were nothing but meaningless arrogance or momentary insanity." Does Yated in its self-righteousness, in its stiffness of neck and hardness of heart find goodness in spitting on the graves of the dead? Is the self-righteous tone that leaks from the pages of their screeds a reflection of their holy work? Is this what Hashem wants from his faithful servants, to ridicule the martyred dead as lunatics who died for "three lines of history."

If Yated felt the need, like a dog returning to lick its vomit, to mount yet more attacks on Israel and the IDF; is there a shortage of living Israeli leaders to attack for them? Does Yated need to dig up graves to befoul the dead when it can befoul the living?

Yated in its miserable ignorance of history, calls the Warsaw Ghetto uprising an act of arrogance and suicide.

"I am positive that the people who championed the rebellion with all of their chimerical heroism did nothing but bring about their own premature death and that of hundreds and thousands of their brothers in the ghetto. It is certain that the rebellion had no logical basis; it was merely an outburst of despair and a lack of spiritual courage to bear life's suffering."

The Warsaw Ghetto uprising began after the Germans had announced the liquidation of the Ghetto to Auschiwtz. Auschwitz was death. The uprising was not undertaken lightly. It was begun when it was clear that the fate facing the Jews of Warsaw was death in the Nazi gas chambers; a fate that was now upon them.

It was not irrational. It was not illogical. It was a desperate gamble between extermination and the hope that the uprising linked to a polish revolt would slow down the Germans and buy enough time for Soviet troops to liberate Warsaw. Was there greater spiritual courage in marching to the gas chambers or resisting every step of the way? That is not a debate that I will hold here but it is enough to say that is obscene to damn one or the other as a lack of courage. Those who resisted hoped to save lives and to stand firm and wake the conscience of the world. They accomplished great and miraculous things.

Some died but not all. Many made it to Eretz Yisrael where they continued to fight for the Jewish people, even as Yated bravely fights cell towers and issues new instructions about 'Kosher cell phones.' We cannot answer who had more courage in facing the Holocaust but we can certainly answer who had more courage; those boys and girls often in their twenties with smuggled and makeshift weapons holding off the German army well past the point that any military expert could have conceived of, or the scribblers of Yated penning hateful slanders over their graves.

The Yated article formulates not only courage but the only acceptable Torah approach in this manner: "Therefore it is clear that people believing in G-d, who live and die by His will, do not do deeds that are liable to hasten their death even by one moment."

This substitutes in place of the Torah a concept that each individual must simply live as long as possible by not taking the least of risks. Anyone therefore who resisted the Nazis, whether it was in armed revolt or by smuggling out people of the ghetto or smuggling food did not believe in G-D. Only those who were fully compliant believed in G-D. For Yom Ha'Shoah this is the foul obscenity Yated thrusts upon us.

In their revisionist version of history, Jews who resisted the Nazis were atheists lunatics out to commit suicide in childish fantasies of heroism. Jews who believed in G-D merely suffered because clearly their suffering was intended from heaven. "Such Jews were our brothers in the ghettos," the article says to exclude those Jews who fought, those who died fighting for other Jews; they are not Yated's brothers.

Indeed they are not. They are our brothers and sisters. They are our brethren. But not Yated's. They are of the Jewish people and Yated is of a foreign people that defaces the graves of the dead as a religious duty and preens before the mirror of their own self-righteous arrogance at the holiness of the act. The article's theme is the claim that the 'Zionists' mocked the dead, its achievement is to mock the dead themselves. It distorts a history it barely knows, lies compulsively and emerges triumphant in its own filthy mind against boys and girls the Nazis themselves could not triumph over.

We honor the dead. We pay respect to them. We remember those who died, and all those who died, died Al Kiddush Hashem. Those who fell under the tanks and those who marched out to meet the murderers of their people guns in hand. Those who danced into the gas chambers singing "Ashreinu," 'How Fortunate Is Out Lot" and those who took cyanide pills in the boxcars. Those who touched heaven with their hearts and those who hammered on burning steel with scarred hands. They are all our brothers and sisters. They are all our people.

Shema Yisrael Hashem Eloheinu Hashem Echad

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous12/5/05

    When Eliyahu comes before Moshiach he will : "include those wrongfully excluded, and exclude those wrongfully included" among Israel. Which boys and girls, includes the Erev Rav(mixed multitude) and Amalek and other assorted wingdings who insist on harming Judaism from the inside.
    Not everyone who says they are a Jew is a Jew.
    And people who persecute their *own* people are probably not the real deal either.
    Whoever wrote the Yated Neeman piece (piece of what you can fill in the blank with the expletive of your choice) is probably not a Jew.
    It is about time people wake up to the fact that the erev rav has always been the ones who bring reproach and sin into Israel.
    I therefore propose that the name of the newsrag be changed from Yated Neeman, to The Erev Rav Bugle and Sinat Chinom Daily.

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  2. I cannot even begin to imagine the mindset of people who write pieces like this, they are the equivalent of the norman finkelsteins and more erev rav than jew for sure

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  3. While I don't agree with the stated viewpoint, I think that something can be said from a philosophical/theological point of view. If every mitzvah is of infinite spiritual value, then it could be said that better to live another three days when one can surely recite the sh'mah, than risk it for the (slight) chance of MAYBE living another 30 yrs; one perhaps may not be justified in sacrificing a small, sure thing for an unlikely, larger thing.

    But it's not just the defenders of Masada or the Alamo who would provide a counter-argument. My understanding of Rambam's Laws of War is that if a nation threatens a border town for STRAW, then total war is waged. Here, Jewish soldiers are very likely being sent to their deaths prematurely, not to defend straw, but to neutralize a developing, existential threat to the Jewish State.

    These are complex halachic concepts that would require a lot of wisdom and cerebral exertion to apply it to real-world scenarios. What I would have to say, is that no one has a right to judge how others react to their circumstances, as stated in Pirkei Avos (Ethics of Our Fathers).

    I did not read the article in question here, but I would hope that all such articles address specific philosophies and some of their appropriate applications, rather than criticize those who did not reach a "correct" choice.

    ReplyDelete

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