Finding Strength Inside The Furnace
I never understood how Jews retained faith after the Holocaust.
My thinking was: Why would you believe in a G-d that abandons you?
I have made my peace with religion: I know that I don't know what I don't know.
I accept that bad things come from G-d, who makes us aware when we are off the path. That the Holocaust had to do with that, - and I will never really understand or "know" more than that.
And now the world is exploding in anti-Semitism, again. What do we do? Run and hide? Apologize to the world for existing?
No way. No way, not today, no how. We've had enough of bowing and scraping.
My Facebook feed alone is alive with emotion: anger and fear over anti-Semitism. Sadness at the loss of life. Rage at the injustice of it all, not just events but how Israel and Jews are portrayed. A dogged hope for the life and the State of Israel.
The kids absorb all this. My daughter said today, I won't be hateful. Because if I hate them like they hate us, then they've won.
I don't want to be hateful, either. So far so good on that - I actually feel sorrow for all the victims of this tragedy and only a cold eyes fury at its perpetrators, the terrorists.
But I think about how the Holocaust seems to be starting all over again - just look at France - and there are so many people just egging it on, and I get furious.
Something else is happening as well. It's like a slow-moving tectonic plate. I am becoming unwilling to live my life in fear - it is just too great a burden.
This isn't the same as being an arrogant asshole, mind you. Been there, done that way too much and I regret being such a fool.
It has to do with losing the self-hatred, the shame, the fear that comes from being born into a post-Holocaust family. With a mentality of worrying all the time about whether people will look at you and see someone who was part of that group - you know, that group - starved, tortured, raped and beaten, and very efficiently too.
It is also about absorbing the fact that all of us are subject to the Divine. And only the Creator - that's it. (My personal belief - I totally respect that many others see things differently.)
From that perspective I am aware of the importance of simply doing what is right, without excessive analysis and deliberation.
I see increasingly that life is about living with moral clarity. The knowledge that there is a right and a wrong. The belief that you were given a conscience solely to be guided by G-d.
* All opinions my own.