web analytics
October 26, 2014 / 2 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Dusty Windows (Part Six)

Can there be anything more tragic than to be killed because you’re a Jew and yet not know what it means to be a Jew?
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

I continue to hear from readers who bemoan the escalation of anti-Semitism throughout the world. Once again Jews are being demonized, though in many cases “Jew” has been replaced by “Israel.”

How do we understand this hateful obsession with Jews? As I’ve been emphasizing these past several weeks in my series of “Dusty Windows” columns, everything in Jewish history is replay, going all the way back to our first bondage in Egypt.

Our sages teach that our forefathers in Egypt merited redemption because they did not alter their Jewish names, mode of dress, or language. These basic values were sadly missing among our assimilated brethren in Europe in the years prior to the Holocaust. It was so common for Jews to have only secular names that one of the Nuremberg Laws mandated that every Jew assume a Jewish name in addition to his secular one – Israel for males and Sarah for females. For example, Eva became Eva Sarah; Oscar became Oscar Israel. Even if a Jew wished to escape his identity, Hitler reminded him that he could not.

As the prophet Ezekiel proclaims, “That which enters your mind shall not be…. Let us be like the nations, like the families of the land. As I live, this is the word of the Lord. Surely I will rule over you with an outstretched arm, with an outpouring of fury.” G-d will not allow us to assimilate even if we so desire. If we refuse to acknowledge we are Jews, there will be those who come forward to remind us.

In a documentary on the Holocaust, a survivor related that when one of the Czech transports arrived at Auschwitz, it was apparent that many of the Jews aboard had deluded themselves into believing their group would be treated differently from the “Ostjuden” (“Eastern Jews,” as the Germans referred derogatorily to Polish Jewry).

Not long after their arrival, the Czech transport was taken to the gas chambers. The survivor reported that when the people realized their fate, they panicked and then broke into spontaneous song. No, not a Jewish song or a Jewish prayer but the Czech national anthem. They sang that song because in the last moments of their lives they felt a need to give voice to their spirit and they knew no other song.

Can there be anything more tragic than to be killed because you’re a Jew and yet not know what it means to be a Jew?

It is not my intention to cast aspersions or judge; I tell this story only so that we may learn from the past and not repeat the tragedy of yesterday.

Think for a moment. If, G-d forbid, our generation today would be called upon to sing a song of faith, what song would the majority sing? How many of our brethren today even know their Jewish names? And what of the other two attributes that rendered our ancestors worthy of redemption – the retention of their Jewish dress and their unique Jewish language? Jewish dress is not reflected only by a tallis and yarmulke but also by modest, dignified clothing for women as well as men. And language means not only prayer and knowledge of the holy tongue but also refraining from speaking lashon hara and other hurtful, vile words.

How different is our generation from those that preceded us? Have we become wiser? Have we learned from our past?

I know there are many committed Jews among us, but there were many in pre-Holocaust Europe as well, and unfortunately that did not change the reality of the multitudes that assimilated, nor does it change it today. We are a nation with one destiny, responsible for one another. This is not my personal belief but the Word of G-d given to us at Sinai.

About the Author:


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.

2 Responses to “Dusty Windows (Part Six)”

  1. Some how all those Torahs, prayers, and loving kindness isn’t going over too well with the Palestinians.

  2. Alema Gebreb says:

    PLEASE WRITE God

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Terrorists attack Israeli soldiers with a Molotov cocktail in Arab village near Ramallah.
Palestinian Authority-American Shot Dead while Trying to Kill Jews
Latest Judaism Stories
Greenbaum-102414

Noach was the lonely man of faith living in a depraved world, full of wickedness.

Parsha-Perspectives-logo

Avraham became a great man during the 175 years of his life, while his predecessors became increasingly wicked, despite staggering knowledge, during their lifetimes of hundreds of years.

Rapps-Rabbi-Joshua-logo

Shem realized that he owed his existence to his father who brought him into the world.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Law-Abiding Citizen
‘That Which Is Crooked Cannot Be Made Straight…’
(Yevamos 22a-b)

The flood was not sent to destroy, but to restore the positive potential of the world.

Question: I recently loaned money to a friend who has been able to repay only part of it. This was an interest-free loan. We exchanged a signed IOU, not a proper shtar with witnesses, since I have always trusted her integrity and only wanted a document that confirms what was loaned and what was repaid. Now that shemittah is approaching, what should I do? Should I forgive the loan? And if my friend is not able to repay it, may I deduct the unpaid money from my ma’aser requirement?

Name Withheld

Why is there is no mention of dinosaurs, and other prehistoric animals, in the Torah?

Strict din demands perfection. There is no room for shortcomings and no place for excuses; you are responsible.

Surprisingly, my husband and one son arrived home over half-an-hour earlier than usual. I excitedly shared my perfect-timing story, but my better half one upped me easily.

Noach felt a tug, and then heard a rip. His jacket had been caught on the nail, and the beautiful suit had a tear.

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

Noah and his wife could not fathom living together as husband and wife and continuing the human race

The Babel story is the 2nd in a 4-act drama that’s unmistakably a connecting thread of Bereishit

Our intentions are critical in raising children because they mimic everything we parents do & think

A humble person who achieves a position of prominence will utilize the standing to benefit others.

More Articles from Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis
Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Boundaries must be set in every home. Parents and children are not pals. They are not equals.

Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

The call of the shofar is eternal. It is not musical. Its magnetic allurement cannot be explained.

We recently marked the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 – that terrible day when the symbols of man’s power and achievement crumbled before our eyes and disappeared in fire and smoke. For a very brief moment we lost our smugness. Our confidence was shaken. Many of us actually searched our ways. Some of us even learned […]

One of the cornerstones of our Jewish life is chesed, kindness. Chesed can only be taught by example

“There is nothing new under the sun” is as valid today as it was yesterday.

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

What does Hashem want of us? That we should protect each other and the awesome heritage He gave us.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/dusty-windows-part-six/2014/05/15/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: