Why did the Holocaust Really Take Place?
My letter in the Jewish Tribune (August 19, 2020) this week:
Regarding "What can we learn from the Holocaust?" (Good Shabbos, JT 12 August),
"I am convinced that no irreligious Holocaust survivor learnt anything from the Holocaust!" (R.Meir Kahane).
Rav Eliezer Shach stated in 1990:
"Hashem kept count of each and every sin in a running count over hundreds of years, until the count amounted to six million Jews, and that is how the Holocaust occurred. If we do not accept this as a punishment, then it is as if we don't believe in Hashem. After He exterminated the six million, He began counting again. Now things are quiet and good for us because the new count has not reached its conclusion. However when it does then there will be a new period of judgement...."
On the other hand the Lubavitcher Rebbe held in 1991:
"These are matters that do not come as punishments for sins, but rather because this was simply Hashem's decree without reason or any explanation in any intellectual or reasonable way - 'Be silent, this is what I thought to do', 'It is a decree that I have made.' The destruction of six million Jews in the cruelest and most horrible way, cannot possibly be a punishment for sins. Even Satan himself could not calculate sins so great in that generation to justify such a punishment. We have no explanation in light of the wisdom of the Torah at all for the Holocaust."
Eilu v'eilu divrei Elokim chayim ["THese and these [i.e. both opinions] are the words of God.]?
R.Avigdor Miller, "Rejoice O Youth", Fifth Day, 1962:
'From Berlin the assimilation and Torah defection started, so from Berlin the destruction came; as the Jews tried to get lost among the gentiles, so were they tracked down by the researchers of the Zentralstelle [Nazi Research Center] back to the third and fourth generation; because married Jewesses exposed their hair for the first time in history, so was their hair shorn off; because they so revered the German doctors, so did the German doctors experiment on them to death; because they were so enamoured with German gemutlichkeit geniality, friedliness], so were the Germans permitted to show their other side, the dreaded Furor Teutonicus' [Teutonic Fury], Because they trusted in the secular Jewish leaders, so those very leaders betrayed them in their hour of need....etc etc" (R.Avigdor Miller, "Rejoice O Youth", Fifth Day, 1962).
Indeed R.Miller's theoditic later book "A Divine Madness - a defense of Hashem in the matter of the Holocaust" (2013), was not universally well received in the Orthodox world.
"The Germans started Word War I. The Germans started World War II. Mark my words: the Germans are going to start World War III!" (British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore)