Coping with the Meron Tragedy: An Open Discussion and Q&A with Rabbi Simon Jacobson

by Jacobson, Rabbi Simon

“I’ve asked this question to many Holocaust survivors… including… Eli Weisel. The question I asked was ‘Is it true that when the Jews marched to the gas chambers they would often be heard singing a song called Ani Ma’amin? I believe with complete faith in the coming of Moshiach and even though he may tarry, may be delayed, I still believe’… [He answered] ‘Very often in the barracks you would hear… a prayer, a Shema Yisrael,… a kaddish… sometimes this song – I believe with complete faith…’


I said, ‘…I wonder… in the darkest time in Jewish history where G-d was completely concealed and allowed His people to be massacred in such a way… shouldn’t the Jews have been justified to be really upset and angry at G-d? And instead, they are singing His praises… and hollowing His holy name? It doesn’t seem normal!’


The response I heard from him and others….’It wasn’t denial…it wasn’t escapism, it wasn’t fantasy, it was actually the most powerful declaration that a Jew can make… You may take our bodies but you can’t take our souls, you make take our lives, but you can’t take our beliefs and our faith. And if it won’t be us, it will be our children, and if it won’t be our children it will be our grandchildren, but we will prevail. Our belief in goodness…G-d, and our values will not be destroyed…!'”