Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yom Hashoah 5769: In the Presence of Burning Children

I just spent the last hour with my Reut Institute colleagues listening to and sharing stories about our families during the Holocaust; how they survived (or didn’t), how they mustered the strength to rebuilt their lives anew; how these memories (or lack of them) continue to affect us and our identity today.

Part of me feels that in the face of unfathomable evil, the only appropriate response is silence; that written words are unable to capture the enormity of what happened…that as Irving Greenberg says, “no statement, theological or otherwise, should be made that is not credible in the presence of burning children."

Yet despite this, I wanted to share an article I wrote in the spring of 2002 regarding different theological responses to the Shoah. It is based on the format of a book called Yosl Rakover Talks to God in which author Zvi Kolitz imagines a moving letter written by Yosl Rakover hours before the Warsaw Ghetto is liquidated by the Nazis. Yet rather than ultimately affirming his faith in his Creator as Yosl does, the article suggests that our understanding of God can not remain the same after such an event.

The article can be accessed here.

Wishing everyone a meaningful Yom Hashoah.

1 comment:

Zak said...

Calev, responding with silence reminds me of Aharon's response when his children die in parshat Shemini. "Vayidom Aharon".

It can be read in so many ways, maybe that is its power.