Sixty years on, people still ask the same questions ' Where was G-'d during the Holocaust? How can you believe in G-d after the Holocaust? If G-d is just and righteous how could He allow the Holocaust to happen? Why didn't G-d perform miracles during the Holocaust?
Comments on that site:
Why did the Holocaust Happen?
Why did G-d let the Holocaust happen and let all of those innocent people die? Where was he for the 5 or 6 million people who died, and why does he let people like hitler torment and oppress us?
While it would be presumptuous to try to answer this question, it is important to note that man-made evil is not, in and of itself, an overwhelming challenge to the idea of G-d's goodness. It is a basic tenet of Judaism that G-d gave man free will, and that as a result human beings can choose to do evil. If G-d stopped people every time they tried to do evil, there would be no more free will, which is the essence of what makes human beings human. Of course, this does not entirely resolve the problem of evil in the world. Why, for example, did G-d create in human beings--or at least in some human beings-- the desire to torture other people? There could have been free will without endowing some people with a propensity for sadism.
The problem of G-d's apparent passivity in the face of many evil acts is exacerbated by Judaism's belief that G-d sometimes does intervene to stop evil. "According to the Torah," one frequently hears post-Holocaust Jews say, "G-d intervened in Egypt and took the Jews out of slavery. Why did He not destroy the death camps?"
The question is poignant, but naive. The account in Exodus makes it clear that G-d did not intervene when Pharaoh enslaved the Jews. Generations suffered under Egyptian cruelty, and untold numbers of male Jewish babies were drowned in the Nile, before G-d sent *Moses to confront Pharaoh. From that perspective, it has been noted, one could say that G-d intervened in the Holocaust as well: Indeed, He stopped it, but only after six million Jews had been murdered. I do not claim that this answer is satisfactory; in all likelihood, there probably is no satisfactory answer.
One of the dangers of theodicy, in fact, is that in its attempts to justify G-d's ways to man, it frequently blames man for his sufferings. For example, one sometimes hears ultra-Orthodox Jews speak of the Holocaust as G-d's punishment for Jewish irreligiosity. Aside from the fact that suffocating a small child in a gas chamber seems an excessive response to the Sabbath violations of that child's parents, such a view makes no sense on other grounds. However irreligious European Jewry was in the 1930s and 1940s, the percentage of Jews in the United States who were religiously nonobservant was much higher. Yet American Jewry was spared the Holocaust and has had a very prosperous history.
Some anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox thinkers explain the Holocaust as G-d's punishment for Jews turning to the secular, Zionist movement. This explanation seems even more far-fetched, since among the few European Jews who escaped the Holocaust were the Zionists who left Europe before 1939 and emigrated to Palestine. Indeed, some religious Zionist thinkers understand the Holocaust as G-d's punishment of those Jews who did not become Zionists and chose instead to stay in Europe. This argument is morally offensive, too. Putting children into gas chambers as punishment for their parents' refusal to respond to Theodor Herzl's challenge seems equally grotesque.
What is offensive about most attempts to explain the Holocaust is that, in one form or another, they convert Hitler into G-d's ally, or at least into His lieutenant. Somehow, Hitler is seen as carrying out G-d's will. Invariably, the people who offer such explanations accuse Jews other than themselves of having provoked G-d's wrath. Such theologians undoubtedly hope that if they can isolate what it is precisely that so angers G-d, then they will be in a better position to pacify Him. Rather than trying to decipher why G-d would have "wanted" six million Jews to be murdered by order of the most wicked human being who ever lived, the proposition that the Holocaust, murders, an many other daily cruelties are the result of human free will seems to make more sense.
There is no comparably easy answer to explain natural suffering. Why are there earthquakes, floods, cancer? Clearly, there is no discernible relationship between human goodness and human suffering. When a truly evil person becomes ill, many people feel a certain satisfaction that someone who has caused so much suffering is now experiencing it. Indeed, if illness or tragedy befell only bad people, we would undoubtedly witness massive movements of repentance. However, suffering seems to be quite evenly distributed among the good and the bad, and remains the single greatest challenge to religious belief.
Without suffering, there would probably be few nonbelievers in the universe. But, if the believer has his troubles with evil, the atheist has more and graver difficulties to contend with. Reality stumps him altogether, leaving him baffled not by one consideration but by many, from the existence of natural law through the instinctual cunning of the insect to the brain of the genius and the heart of the prophet. This then is the intellectual reason for believing in G-d: That, though this belief is not free from difficulties, it stands out, head and shoulders, as the best answer to the riddle of the universe.
Moreover, G-d, by definition, is a higher reality that our mind cannot grasp. If G-d is a given, there are no questions. Just as a computer program is cannot understand the motives of its programmer, it is illogical that creatures should be able to completely understand every decision of their creator and designer.
From Rabbi Joseph Telushkin's book, Jewish Literacy. The last paragraph was added by Mendy Elishevitz based on a letter by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
Vijay Simha said: Pure and Simple answer:
The Holocaust was Hitler's revenge on World Jewry which according to him prevented him from winning WWII.
It is very very clear from all his speeches a) One on Jan 30th 1939 where he makes the threat to annhilate European Jewry should the war he is planning degenerate into another world war where the whole world is pitted against Germany and her Meagre allies
b) Where during the course of the war he makes the "Aug um Aug, Zahn um Zahn speech citing the ongoing destruction of European Jewry in Couched terms
c) In his Final Political testament where he blames World Jewry for prolonging the war.
According to Hitler the War should have taken the following logical course:
a) After his invasion of Poland, England and France should not have declared war on Germany
b) Now this did not happen so he was forced to attack Western Europe to secure his rear before launching the real battle he had all along planned in Mein Kampf.
c) After the fall of France, England should have sued for peace.
This did not happen and England adamently wanted to pursue the war.
In Hitler's warped mind, the reason behind this decision of the Churchill Government is international Jewry.
Second he expected a swift victory in Eastern Europe. When this did not happen and America also joined the war against Germany in 1941 it became crystal clear to him that all these events transpired because of the pressures exerted by international Jewry.
Third the allied bombing of the Reich cost the Germans many cities in ruins and civilian deaths. Again the blame of
all this fell on International Jewish Financiers who were according to Hitler
prolonging the war to destroy the Reich.
So this was how he was going to get back at them.
It is possible to speculate that had an interim peace been reached with Hitler and his gang, the following would have happened.
a) Eastern Europe would have been a vast German colony
b) The Germans would have vacated Western Europe and France after stationing heavily armed forces on their Western frontiers.
c) The Jews of Europe would have faced deportation instead of outright extermination.
Comment number two:
Milton Fried said:
The Rabbi's article did not explain in any way the existence of evil. We Jews have been promised, in the Torah, that if we follow the mitzvahs we will be protected by G-d. That has not happened.
If G-d is omniscient, He knows what everyone, including Hitler, will do before each person is conceived. G-d wills the conception of Hitler, if it is true that "not a leaf falls in the forest without it being the will of G-d", (to quote the Lubavitcher Rebbe). If the Rebbe was correct we must believe that God's will was to have the holocaust.
I do not believe that to be true. What is true is that God's nature is not what we have been taught.
It is obvious that the Rabbis know little or nothing about the essence of G-d. Why, then, do so many of them spend so much effort on trying to explain to us precisely what G-d wants.
The argument that men do not have the ability to understand G-d is no reason to expect man to believe what people tell them G-d wants them to do. If we do not have the ability to understand, we do not have the ability to really believe. I will be pleasantly surprised if you print this comment.
Please post your own opinions/comments. All theories/facts welcome.