What Theological Questions Relevant To The Study

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What Theological Questions Relevant To The Study Of Judaism Are Raised By The Holocaust Essay, Research Paper WHAT THEOLOGICAL QUESTIONS RELEVANT TO THE STUDY OF JUDAISM ARE RAISED BY THE HOLOCAUST? The Jewish people have always considered themselves as God?s chosen people and have undergone a lot of traumatic oppression throughout their life. Evolving out of a common religion, they have developed customs, culture and an ethical system which identified them as Jews regardless of their individual religious attitudes. There is a pattern evident in which the Jews have been cast as victims. The first sign of oppression noted in Jewish history according to the Hebrew scriptures, was the time in ancient years when the Jews were held in captivity by the Egyptians as slaves. Moses?s

escape with the children of Israel marked the crucial transition in the history of Judaism. This event is known as the Exodus. The Exodus experience can be called the ?key event? both in Jewish history and theology. To understand the relevant details raised by the Holocaust one needs to understand how Jewish people have a strong devotion to God and have an ongoing respect for people in other religions. This is established by understanding the intention of the holy laws given to Moses for the people from God. These laws are known as the ten commandments which illustrates a list of obligations that there theology is firmly established. Their theology is based on a closeness between tradition and their moral precepts, which became conflicting for them during the time of World War

II. Such is evident when they were persecuted, traumatized and de-humanized in the concentration camps. Similarly the Holocaust would be regarded as a very important event. It is this crucial experience that the Jewish people have had to query their very existence through their theological questioning. 1/3 As an effect of the economic and political upheavals of the time, the Jews were seen as endangering the purity of the Aryan race which was Hitler?s impression of the superior people consisting of only the Germans. During the horrid times of the war the Jews were deported to concentration camps in Europe, where many were tortured, gassed and Jewish women as young as 13 and onwards were kept and raped by the German soldiers. It was noted that over six million Jews were

slaughtered by the Germans and their collaborators. This outrage was called the Holocaust. The Holocaust was not just an event. It was a process that continued for over a decade and involved the deaths of many innocent Jews. The Holocaust (1942-45) was the effort of Hitler to eradicate the Jews and other people that were considered as inferior. It has been called the most terrible catastrophe in modern history and in Hebrew terms it is known as Shoah meaning ?a whirlwind of destruction?. This outrage in history left the Jewish people in complete awe as they wondered about the many theological questions that were never answered, one of which would be ?Why did God abandoned his people throughout great times of their sufferings?? Below, an extraction from a summary by Margaret

Schwartz at the time of the war. ?Why don?t you pray to your God?? a man dressed in a fur coat told the girls. ?He helped you in the past, he split the Red Sea for you and gave you manna from heaven for forty years. Ask him, he can surely spare a few crumbs of bread and a few drops of water. There are only a few of you Jews left by now. Where is your God? Why doesn?t he help you? (St. Michael?s text handout p.163) Such questions from this extract would move the understanding of people to ask ?Why did God allow his chosen people to suffer? and ?If God and humanity are so spiritually connected, how could one group of people inflict so much pain on another race??. 2/3 The Holocaust therefore was not just about the experience of the Jews in a detention camp. It was about the hardship