On Holocaust Hypersensitivity

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7 Responses

  1. Ori Pomerantz says:

    Is it not reasonable to surmise that among the millions of Jews who perished in the Holocaust … the adherence to a Divinely-ordained Torah for which these Jews were being put to death?

    When the Inquisition murdered Jews, it was for their adherence to a Divinely-ordained Torah. Jews could survive by converting to Catholicism.

    When the Nazis murdered Jews, adherence or lack thereof was irrelevant. You could tell the Nazis that you were an Atheist who enjoyed his pork cheeseburgers on Yom Kippur. It wouldn’t matter. The Nazis did not murder Jews for being observant. They did not even murder Jews for being Jews – if your parents were intermarried, they didn’t care if the mother or the father was Jewish.

  2. David Kelsey says:

    I have arguing for a long time that to a large degree, Holocaustism is Zionism.

    Thank you for helping me prove my point.

  3. Micha says:

    Eytan: Kindly remember that not everyone reading C-C speak “Yeshivish”.

    For those who need a dictionary, I have two bits of help.

    ahavas Yisrael = love of [the people of the nation of] Israel
    ona’as devarim = hurt through words
    lashon hara = 1- telling derogatory truths; 2- improper talk about others in general

    Learn a little! Then, when you’re done, learn a little more!

    As for the point of R’ Eytan’s words, I find that Holocaustism is far too common. You will not convince Susie not to marry her non-Jewish boyfriend because she “owes it to those who died in the Holocaust to keep the Jewish people alive.” Jews are known for our feelings of guilt, but we can not reduce Judaism to being about guilt. Or about death and victimhood. Too many of us have taken the means of keeping Judaism alive, and made it the centerpiece of the ends, of Judaism itself.

  4. Larry says:

    Two points that you have made inspire me to respond:

    (1) You ask the following:

    “Is it not reasonable to surmise that among the millions of Jews who perished in the Holocaust—a majority of whom were Orthodox, according to prominent Holocaust historian Michael Berenbaum—were many who would be deeply hurt and outraged at the thought that some Jews place the Marx Brothers and kasha varnishkes on a par of Jewish importance with the adherence to a Divinely-ordained Torah for which these Jews were being put to death?”

    It appears to me to be highly questionable to state that the Kedoshim (holy Jewish martyrs) were put to death for their “adherence to a Divinely-ordained Torah.” How would you explain the genocide committed against non-traditionally-observant Jews? While I have heard explanations that view the Holocaust as a punishment for the lack of traditional Jewish observance — an explanation seemingly at odds with the premise that you presented, and one that I find to be presumptous at best — I believe that any attempt at a single-factor explanation of the Holocaust must be resisted.

    (2) Your characterization of the actions of the Israeli government and army as “evocative … of the Nazi period” is interesting. Would you view the actions of the Neturei Karta — who made common cause with Arafat and his cronies, sent a delegation to his bedside, and seek in every way possible (however feebly) to undermine the legitimacy of Israel in the eyes of the world — as being similarly evocative of the enemies of the Jewish people during that hateful period? Indeed, are you even willing to condemn that group, and thus distinguish yourself from so much of today’s observant community … or does your ire extend only to those outside of the Orthodox camp?

  5. Netanel Livni says:


    To quote Hitler Yimach Shemo,

    “The Jews inflicted 2 sins against man. Circumcision on his body, and conscience on his soul.”

    The fact that this evil spread and hurt those that were only marginally associated with Jewish practice is does not preclude the assertion that the nature of the hate was hate of the Jewish Idea.


  6. Andrew Silow-Carroll says:

    I’m apologizing to Holocaust survivors for what exactly? For suggesting that the majority of Jews do not consider the Torah the truth and nothing but? That they find deep meaning in Jewish expressions outside of the synagogue and beit midrash? This will be news to survivors? You don’t think they huddled in barracks next to communists,and bundists, and secular Zionists, and atheists, and violinists, and soccer players, and Yiddish poets? And they will be shocked that I feel that we owe respect and appreciation and in some cases our very survival to many of those same folks, who survived the war and went on to create vibrant Jewish lives, establishing a Jewish state, building synagogues, donating millions to the rescue of and resettlement of Jews, giving birth to Jewish kids, endowing chairs in Judaic studies, building a vast network of Jewish social services agencies (and did I mention establishing a Jewish state)?

    Is all that on a “par” with Sinai? I didn’t say that – which would have been clear if you quoted my essay rather than someone else’s redaction of it (a pretty slimy rhetorical gambit by the way, but so is leaving off a writer’s last name, as if he is literally an unmentionable). But Sinai was the start of an open-ended journey with many paths. You and David Klinghoffer would probably agree that only one of those paths is true. We’ll have to disagree there. But to deny that those other paths exist, and were taken by Jews who went onto live rich and full Jewish lives, and created and continue to create the infrastructures that allow so many Jews to live and study Torah today, is the worse kind of revisionism. No – check that. The worst kind of revisionism is to reduce Nazism to a case of police brutality, about which you are unapologetic.

  7. mycroft says:

    As someone once said “there is no business like Shoah business”

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