web analytics
April 19, 2015 / 30 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


My Father’s Photograph Of ‘Divine Providence’

By:
Lessons-Emunah-logo

Judaism holds that there is no “luck” or “coincidence,” but that instead Hashem absolutely controls everything. In keeping with that, I have a wartime photograph of my late father next to the wreckage of his crashed bomber. This is for me nothing less than a pictorial representation of divine providence.

The photograph was taken in early 1945, a month after my father’s B-17 was attacked by Nazi fighter planes that raked it with machine gunfire during a bombing mission over Germany. The bomber’s engines burst into flames over enemy territory but the pilot kept the plane aloft for 15 minutes, enough time for them to return to French airspace. It crash-landed there, killing five of its crew and injuring the other four, including my father.

In the photo my father looks fit and happy, but under his jauntily positioned airman’s cap, his fractured head was swathed in bandages. Despite his broad smile, he, like all of Europe’s Jews at that time, was in an abyss of despair, doing whatever he could to escape Nazi annihilation.

Five years earlier, in 1940, when my father was 14 he had been deported to a series of squalid internment camps for Jews in southern France. There he had lost his parents and some 30 other family members to disease, hunger, brutality and transfers to death camps. After 18 months he managed to escape, became a farm laborer under a Gentile identity, and joined the French Resistance.

After D-Day, in the summer of 1944, the French Resistance was reorganized into a regular military and my father, always interested in airplanes, became an aerial machine gunner on a “Free French” B-17 Flying Fortress.

He flew about a dozen bombing missions serving as a gunner in the tail end of the plane. Right before the doomed mission in late December 1944, he was moved to the canopy gunnery position atop the plane. As his bomber lost altitude with the ground rushing up, my father remembered his last thought: “How am I going to get out of this?

He woke up in a hospital four days later with a fractured skull. When his plane had crashed, the impact shattered the top canopy and he was flung free, landing in a pasture some distance away from the wreckage. The five crewmen who had not been flung from the plane, including the new tail gunner, had not survived.

I had seen the photograph of my father’s crashed plane when I was a teenager and I asked my father how he had coped with nearly getting killed. He shrugged and explained that, “In war, if a bullet has your name on it, you can’t do anything about it” – a soldier’s take on divine providence. In a nutshell, that was the way my father, Kurt Lion, of blessed memory, lived his 84 years. He always advised me to come to a decision, take action, and then not worry about it. “Whatever is supposed to happen will happen,” he counseled.

Since his death three years ago, I have kept that photograph on a shelf beside my bed. I cherish the photo because I can see him as a young man. It also strengthens me when I have decisions to make or am afflicted by doubt or fear, either on personal matters or larger political situations – including the fate of our people in Israel and elsewhere. The photograph gives me courage. It is a reminder of hashgachah pratis, that Hashem is in control.

About the Author: Ed Lion is a former reporter for United Press International now living in the Poconos.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

One Response to “My Father’s Photograph Of ‘Divine Providence’”

  1. A lovely report and a great way to act: "to come to a decision, take action, and then not worry about it". But I do have problem with "hashgachah pratis": "Hashem absolutely controls everything".That idea does NOT appear in Maimonides' 13 principles. It appears in the Torah with respect to Shiluah HaKen, and with Honoring One's Parents, as reward for keeping those commandments. The fact that we don't see the rewards in this world is, according to Rabbi Saadia Gaon, one of the proofs of Olam Haba!! THE general statement of Hashgacha" is, of course, in the second part of the "Shema" – but there it is NOT regarding the individual, but regarding the whole people of Israel. Furthermore, IF it is by "hashgachah pratis", direct control of events on a individual basis, that the Kurt Lion was saved, then it must be that the same direct control caused six million to be killed. I cannot accept THAT!!

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
The flag of Iraqi Kurdistan.
US Consulate Targeted by ISIS in Iraqi Kurdistan
Latest Judaism Stories
Hertzberg-041715

Lincoln was not a perfect man. But he rose above his imperfections to do what he thought was right not matter the obstacles.

Arch of Titus

Adon Olam: An Erev Shabbat Musical Interlude Courtesy of David Herman

Daf-Yomi-logo

Oh My, It’s Copper!
‘…And One Who Is A Coppersmith’
(Kethubboth 77a)

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

The omer sacrifice of loose barley flour was more fitting for animal consumption than human consumption and symbolizes the depths to which the Jewish slaves had sunk.

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

When Chazal call not eating treif food a chok, that refers to how it functions.

His mother called “Yoni, Yoni!” Her eyes, a moment earlier dark with pain, shone with joy and hope

Kashrut reminds us that in the end, God is the arbiter of right and wrong.

In a cab with Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach & Rav Elayshiv discussing if/when to say tefillas haderech

The successful student listens more than speaks out; wants his ideas critiqued, not just appreciated

Why would it not be sufficient to simply state lehoros from which we derive that in such a state one may not issue any psak?

What do we learn about overcoming loss from the argument between Moses and Aaron’s remaining 2 sons?

Each of the unique roles attributed to Moshe share the common theme that they require of and grant higher sanctity to the individual filling the role.

Because of the way the piece of my finger had been severed, the doctors at the hospital were not able to reattach it. They told me I’d have to see a specialist.

“The problem is that the sum total is listed is $17,000. However, when you add the sums mentioned, it is clear that the total of $17,000 is an error. Thus, Mr. Broyer owes me $18,000, not $17,000.”

More Articles from Ed Lion
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Anti-Semitism today focuses on Israel and the quest to delegitimize it.

Rose Lion

“These are good matzah balls,” my aunt Robertine would say, but her sister Irma would counter “No, not compared to Mama’s. They were always so light yet they never fell apart.”

Warsaw Ghetto: At its height, the Nazis walled in some 500,000 Jews within the1.3 square mile area.

The world wars caused unimaginable anguish for the Jews but God also scripted a great glory for our people.

The risks were great, but certain death awaited them if they remained. The gamble paid off, though the family was separated for the next four years of the war.

Beyond the severe discomfort there was also the danger of getting sunk by enemy submarines prowling the seas.

As his bomber lost altitude with the ground rushing up, my father remembered his last thought: “How am I going to get out of this?

Seventy-five years ago on November 10 the Nazis unleashed a wave of terror, destruction and death known as Kristallnacht upon Germany’s Jews, a fearsome presage of the Holocaust. On that day, the childhood of my then-12-year-old father, Kurt Lion, of blessed memory, was abruptly and savagely ended.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/my-fathers-photograph-of-divine-providence/2014/04/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: