Lifnei Iver… Do I put a stumbling block before the blind?
I often wonder whether my participating in blogs, debates, and discussions, can lead to my putting a stumbling block before the blind- violating the prohibition we read here last week from Parashat Kedoshim warning “lifnei iver lo titein mikhshol” (Lev.19:14). Perhaps blogging is at the expense of study.
There were many insightful (and inciteful) comments on my posting about the Holocaust and Martyrs’ Rememebrance Day, and I learned much from them. I would like to restate my position. There are two avenues that lead most directly to the preservation of the Jewish people and constitute the true memorial for the Churban Europa. In my posting, and in my J Post article, I emphasized the first avenue:building large families. I did not emphasize the second avenue – Zil Gmor. Study. Rather than write, talk, and read ABOUT the Churban, it is more productive to engage in serious study. By study I mean traditional texts –Tanakh, Talmud, Jewish thought, and texts written during the Churban. Here are a few:
(a)Naomi Israel (in comment #14 to my post) mentioned Rabbi Kalonymus Shapira, the Admor of Piaseczno who wrote Esh Kodesh during the war. If you can’t read the Hebrew, then there is Nehemia Polen’s The Holy Fire:The Teachings of Rabbi Kalonymus Shapira, the Rebbe of the Warsaw Ghetto (Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson, 1994).
(b)Several works by Esther Farbstein are superb. Her tour-de-force is Be-Seter Ra’am (Jerusalem: Mosad Harav Kook) a Hebrew compedium. It will iy”h be published in English next year. She has a chapter on Rabbi Shapira. Rabbanit Farbstein’s chapter citing “Halakhic Historical Observations on Marriage During the Holocaust” appears in English in The Impact of the Holocaust on Jewish Theology edited by Steven Katz (NYU Press) $30 via amazon. I have a copy in WORD of her essay in English which I can email anyone interested. Esther Farbstein published a book containing sermons in Hebrew given during the Churban by Rav Moshe Kahlenberg, titled Yedei Moshe. See the website of the Michlalah Jerusalem which hosts the website for Zachor – a valuable source for Churban material.
(c)Rabbi Yissachar Shlomo Teichtal, (died 1945/5705). His book has been translated twice into English: Rabbi Moshe Lichtman’s translation is called Eim Habanim Semeichah: On Eretz Yisrael, Redemption, and Unity (Kol Mevaser, 2000)
I came across the entire 500- page book translated by R.Lichtman in English on the internet .
Another translation is by Pesach Schindler, Em Habanim Semeha:Restoration of Zion as a Response During the Holocaust (Hoboken, NJ: Ktav, 1999).
(d) Rabbi Ephraim Oshry’s books on Responsa from the Holocaust are invaluable. There is an English summary, but the original Hebrew is preferable.
These are a few primary and secondary sources. I would be happy to see other suggestions for study.
Blogging has its place, but I worry that it may detract from study. I wonder whether others have the problem that I have with the temptations of internet discussions.