As an actual Jew, I'd like to sound off.
kidwithshirt wrote:But back on the topic, how do the Jews like to think why the holocaust happened? I know that a large portion of the Jews who were sent into the camps were very strong in their faith. But I would like to know how they would explain why would God do such terrible thing to their people?
Many of them were religious, but I'd actually say that the majority weren't. At the time, there was a strong Jewish movement (especially in Germany) called the "Reform Movement", which essentially said, "We're Germans that happen to be Jewish, not Jews that happen to live in Germany." That's actually one of the things that made Franz Everygerman so scared of them when someone pointed it out. Incidentally, a lot of very observant Jews say that the Holocaust was God punishing the Jewish people for losing the faith because of the Reform movement. Way to go on that, God, 'cause a whole bunch of people totally became more religious afterwards![/sarcasm]
I know that in fact a lot of them lost their faith in God after the holocaust, many of the survivors today don't even believe in their religion anymore. So I think for these individuals, they would just explain that: okay, there is no God, I am just an unlucky person who were born into the wrong race at the wrong time.
Atheistic Judaism is a relatively common phenomenon, and has been since about the Industrial Revolution, when all sorts of other folks were becoming atheistic.
But let's go back to the people who still were faithful after their survival, or even the Jewish community today. Do they just believe that Hitler was just one of God's anomalies?
Nope! God has a long and rich history of tormenting the Jewish people. See: all of Western History
From reading Elie Weisel's Night, I have have found some interesting themes. He explained it as the absence of God caused all this. His entire story alluded the biblical story of Abraham and his son Issac (sorry I m just sticking with the Christian version here, I know some people call it Ishmael),
Sorry to interrupt, this is my pedant: everyone thinks Abraham (Ibrihim) had two sons: an older named Ishmael by his handmaiden Helga, and a younger Isaac by his wife Sarah. The difference of opinion is that Arabs (and I mean Arabs, not Muslims; this belief predates Islam, but didn't get big until afterwards) believe that Ishmael was the one God asked Abraham to sacrifice, whereas Jews (and Christians) hold it was Isaac.
where God intervened and sent an angel to stop the killing at the last moment when Abraham's weapon almost penetrated his son's body. But in Night Elie felt that he was actually the one doing the killing -- to his father -- and that he technically caused his father's death because of the things he didn't do. Thus it's a big reverse on God's promise, to Elie the world was upside down.
So in order for me to understand this further, I want to know more about how the Jewish community interpret or just general deal with Holocaust related issues today.
Okay, in general, in the American Jewish community, the views of the Holocaust fall into a bunch of difference viewpoints. A lot of people think that God had nothing at all to do with it; this springs from either straight atheism, or a belief in a passive god (see: Deism).
Of those who did believe that God caused it or let it happen or whatever, there are a few views. As I said earlier, a lot of very, very conservative (as in the word, not as in the Conservative Movement) feel that God was punishing us for straying.
A lot of hardcore Zionists feel that the Holocaust was necessary for the founding of the State of Israel, pointing out that the British waffled around granting independence until it was essentially a fait accompli
; this was possible only because of the massive immigration to Palestine that the Holocaust (and the creation of several million Jewish refugees their home countries largely wouldn't take back) caused.
One other common but often unspoken view is rather more cynical. A lot of Jews believe, half-jokingly, that the Jews are, yes, God's chosen people. Chose to suffer
, that is. Jews are probably the second most persecuted group in Western history after the Roma, and even then, Jews have been at it for longer. I mean, the First and Second Diasporas, the Purim business, the Crusades (which killed a lot of Jews), the Inquisition...even without the Holocaust, Jews have gotten the pointy end of the stick. A lot of Jews joke around talking about a god that is inherent malevolent, counter to common wisdom. Also, much more commonly, there's a whole "Contract Violation" thing; I mean, we circumcise our sons for three millennia, and in return we get: nothing? What happened to
You shall be the father of a horde of nations. No longer shall you be called Abram. Your name shall become Abraham, for I have set you up as the father of a horde of nations. I will increase your numbers very, very much, and I will make you into nations — kings will be your descendants. I will sustain My covenant between Me and between you and your descendants after you throughout their generations, an eternal covenant; I will be a God to you and to your offspring after you. To you and your offspring I will give the land where you are now living as a foreigner. The whole land of Canaan shall be [your] eternal heritage, and I will be a God to [your descendants].
I mean, "horde of nations"? "Kings will be your descendants"? The Onion did an article a few years back about a group of rabbis trying to sue god for contract violation, but most Jews I know reacted with a "Haha...I was only serious," sort of reaction.
Mostly? The moral a lot of Jews took away from it is that God can't be counted on. That's actually a lot of where the Zionist movement comes from; God never really got around to giving us Canaan, so we'll take it for ourselves, thank you.