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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 5, 2006 / 9 Sivan, 5766

The Divine’s ‘silence’ — and the Pope's

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Where was G-d in those days?" asked Pope Benedict XVI as he stood in Auschwitz last week. "Why was he silent? How could he permit this endless slaughter, this triumph of evil?"

It is the inevitable question in Auschwitz, that vast factory of death where the Nazis tortured, starved, shot, and gassed to death as many as a million and a half innocent human beings, most of them Jews. "In a place like this, words fail," Benedict said. "In the end, there can be only a dread silence, a silence which itself is a heartfelt cry to G-d: Why, Lord, did you remain silent?"

News reports emphasized the pope's question. Every story noted that the man who voiced it was, as he put it, "a son of the German people." No one missed the intense historical significance of a German pope, on a pilgrimage to Poland, beseeching G-d for answers at the slaughterhouse where just 60 years ago Germans broke every record for shedding Jewish blood.

And yet some commentators accused Benedict of skirting the issue of anti-Semitism. The national director of the Anti-Defamation League said that the pope had "uttered not one word about anti-Semitism; not one explicit acknowledgment of Jewish lives vanquished simply because they were Jews." The National Catholic Register likewise reported that he "did not make any reference to modern anti-Semitism."

In truth, the pope not only acknowledged the reality of Jew-hatred, he explained the pathology that underlies it. Anti-Semites are driven by hostility not just toward Jews, he said, but toward the message of G-d-based ethics they first brought to the world.

"Deep down, those vicious criminals" — he was speaking of Hitler and his followers — "by wiping out this people, wanted to kill the G-d who called Abraham, who spoke on Sinai and laid down principles to serve as a guide for mankind, principles that are eternally valid. If this people, by its very existence, was a witness to the G-d who spoke to humanity and took us to himself, then that G-d finally had to die and power had to belong to man alone — to those men, who thought that by force they had made themselves masters of the world."

The Nazis' ultimate goal, Benedict argued, was to rip out Christian morality by its Jewish roots, replacing it with "a faith of their own invention: faith in the rule of man, the rule of the powerful." Hitler knew that his will to power could triumph only if he first destroyed Judeo-Christian values. In the Thousand-Year Reich, G-d and his moral code would be wiped out. Man, unencumbered by conscience, would reign in his place. It is the oldest of temptations, and Auschwitz is what it leads to.

"Where was G-d in those days?" asked the pope. How could a just and loving Creator have allowed trainload after trainload of human beings to be murdered at Auschwitz? But why ask such a question only in Auschwitz? Where, after all, was G-d in the Gulag? Where was G-d when the Khmer Rouge slaughtered 1.7 million Cambodians? Where was G-d during the Armenian holocaust? Where was G-d in Rwanda? Where is G-d in Darfur?

For that matter, where is G-d when even one innocent victim is being murdered or raped or abused?

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The answer, though the pope didn't say so clearly, is that a world in which G-d always intervened to prevent cruelty and violence would be a world without freedom — and life without freedom would be meaningless. G-d endows human beings with the power to choose between good and evil. Some choose to help their neighbor; others choose to hurt him. There were those in Nazi Europe who herded Jews into gas chambers. And there were those who risked their lives to hide Jews from the Gestapo.

The G-d "who spoke on Sinai" was not addressing himself to angels or robots who could do no wrong even if they wanted to. He was speaking to real people with real choices to make, and real consequences that flow from those choices. Auschwitz wasn't G-d's fault. He didn't build the place. And only by changing those who did build it from free moral agents into puppets could he have stopped them from committing their horrific crimes.

It was not G-d who failed during the Holocaust or in the Gulag, or on 9/11, or in Bosnia. It is not G-d who fails when human beings do barbaric things to other human beings. Auschwitz is not what happens when the G-d who says "Thou shalt not murder" and "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" is silent. It is what happens when men and women refuse to listen.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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