BS”D Parashat Mishpatim 5777

Rabbi Nachman Kahana

Why millions of Jews were murdered in the Holocaust


The Holocaust was the greatest calamity to befall the Jewish nation.

Its devastation outranks even the destruction of the two Batei Hamikdash, as explained in Midrash Eicha 4 in its analysis of chap. 79 in Tehillim: “Mizmor Le’Asaf” – a song of praise (to Hashem) composed by Asaf (the Levi).

The Midrash points out that this introductory sentence is totally incompatible with the text, which deals with the projected destruction of the Bet Hamikdash. It should read “Kina Le’Asaf” – a lamentation composed by Asaf not “Mizmor le’Asaf” – a song of praise composed by Asaf.

The Midrash explains that the destruction of the two Batei Mikdash was certainly a calamity of the first order. However, even within the context of this punishment, Hashem showed His mercy by venting His anger on the wood and stones of the structure rather than permit mass murder of His people.

So, the unescapable question: How did it come about in Hashem’s world that six million Jews (the belief today is that the number is closer to seven and a half million Jews), including one-and-a-half million children and millions of God-fearing Torah Jews, were sent to Olam Haba (the next world) through the chimneys of Aisav’s (Esau) death camps?

It would be flippant and irreverent to answer that the Shoah was punishment for our sins, because all Jews are mutual guarantors (kol Yisrael arayvim ze la’ze), when in fact only the Jews of Europe and parts of North Africa suffered that fate, whereas the Jews of the U.S. and Eretz Yisrael were not only spared, but also prospered.

My personal understanding of these events consoles me in some small way when facing the unspeakable horrors of the Shoah.

The Gemara (Bava Kama 60a) explains the underlying meaning of the verse in our parasha (Shemot 22:5)

כי תצא אש ומצאה קצים ונאכל גדיש או הקמה או השדה שלם ישלם המבער את-הבערה


If a fire spreads to weeds (in another’s field) and devours bales of wheat or uncut wheat of the field, the negligent perpetrator must make payment.

In addition to the explicit judicial responsibility of a man for his actions, the Gemara explains that “weeds” are the evil doers of the world and “the bales of wheat and uncut wheat” are the righteous of Am Yisrael. When HaShem decrees that the “weeds” be destroyed, the free hand of the Angel of Death begins with the coveted “bales of wheat” – the first and most to suffer are the righteous who happen to be present among the evil doers.

I reject any allegation that my fellow Jewish brothers and sisters sinned to a degree which justified the horrors of the Shoah. Some “experts” at counting other peoples’ sins place the blame on assimilation. But Jewish history has never encountered the numbers and rate of assimilation and intermarriage found today among the Jews of the United States. Yet they continue to thrive. Other sin counters put the blame on Zionism, while others, on the lack of Zionism.

The Shoah was Hashem’s decree which began with the First World War, that the evil descendants of Aisav should put an end to one another; that Aisav should devoir Aisav. Russians should kill Germans, and Germans should slaughter Englishmen, the Ukrainians should kill the Americans, and Americans should kill the Turks, etc. And it is common knowledge that the Second World War was a continuation of the First World War, albeit after an extended cease fire.

The Jews were turned into smoke and soap, because the leash on insanity was released, and the Jews were caught up in it BECAUSE WE WERE THERE! And we were there because we did not understand that when Aisav kills Aisav, it is no place for Ya’akov (Jacob/Israel) to be.

When the inhibitions of hatred are released, then the ever-present hatred of Jews rises to the fore and Aisav seeks to put an end to Ya’akov.

If you reject the proposition that the two world wars were death sentences decreed on the goyim, and we were swept up into it just because we were there, you are left with two very bad options: That the Jews of Europe sinned to the extent that 1,500,000 little children had to die; or the whole matter is beyond our comprehension, so let’s just continue building bigger and more expensive holocaust museums and go back to living.


Conclusion: If one lives in a depraved or a potentially depraved gentile society, then no matter how frum or how erudite in Torah, one could suddenly find himself swept up in the tsunamis and 9/11’s of that nation.

To be more specific: President Trump is not an anti-Semite. However, there are many millions of white Americans who perceive his messages as suggestions to mean things he never intended.

“Let’s make America great again”, is perceived to mean “Let us white, Protestants retake our homeland from the third world peoples who have defiled the purity of our culture.” This infers the blacks, the Hispanics, the Moslems and certainly the Jews who control the “false news” media and the sensitive centers of economic power.

Remember: The Jews of Europe were cast to the unbridled hatred of the Aisavic Christians because we were there.

Despite the many requests, for the present I will defer expressing my thoughts regarding the disconcerting upsurge in anti-Semitic acts and comments in Europe and in the United States.

Shabbat Shalom,

Nachman Kahana

Copyright © 5777/2017 Nachman Kahana