A RESPONSE TO SOME THOUGHTS ON THE HOLOCAUSTBy Pamela Sherman
February 21, 2008
[The following response was written by my ex-wife who is a believing Orthodox Jew and writes from the perspective of Orthodox Judaism]
Once again you have touched on points within the Jewish psyche which are often obscured.
I have other thoughts about antisemitism (and you are right. the only difference between ancient antisemitism and the Holocaust is the technology). What is it that causes others to either hate or revere the Jews? I have one answer.
Thou shalt have no other Gods before thee.
Thou shalt not take the name of the L-rd in vain.
Thou shalt not make unto thee graven images of anything which is in the heavens above nor on the earth below nor bow down and serve them.
Remember the Sabbath day to make it holy.
Honor thy father and thy mother.
Thou shalt not murder.
Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, nor his wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's.
And, according to our tradition, the rest of the world is only responsible for the last seven. Even those are a bone of contention because people just find these rules too burdensome. And they blame the Jews, subconsciously, for bringing them to humanity.
But these rules, as incompletely named above, are the glue which keeps humans being humans and not animals. And we are the messengers. So I see antisemitism as a rebellion of a childish world that wants to do whatever it wants and does not want the "parents" (the Jews) constantly reminding them of what they must do to curb their animalistic behaviour.
However, we know that without those rules, all is chaos. History speaks of "The Age of Enlightenment" or "The Age of Science", but these modern accomplishments which have brought mankind out of a physical bondage, have also put us into spiritual bondage. WE cannot see the forest for the trees.
The Decalogue, the Revelation at Mount Sinai,.. "was as momentous as the Creation itself. For without the coming into existence of the Moral Law, the creation of the material universe would have been incomplete, nay, meaningless." (Pentateuch & Haftorahs edited by Dr. J. H. Hertz, page 400).
And to extend the words of Dr. Hertz, without the Jews as constant reminders of this miraculous law, life on earth is meaningless. Hence, the importance of making sure Israel remains intact and that the Jews maintain their existence (another miracle given the struggle our people have gone through just to remain alive as a people).
Antisemitism is also there for us to learn something about ourselves. What are we doing to keep these commandments? What are we doing to be sure the rest of the world sees a "nation of priests"?
Return To The Essay Index Return To The Literary Index Return To The Site Index Page Email Shlomoh