Believing in God Post-Holocaust


I have worked with holocaust survivors for over 15 years. How can anyone who is Jewish have faith and trust in G-d Do the Holocaust?

I’ve read that the Rebbe has said evil, and even Hitler was from G-d and that it is ultimately good. Like A surgeon cutting off a bad limb from the body. Is this true?



  1. I am not sure how anyone can possibly imagine that the Holocaust came into being because of any other reason that the Jewish Nation not collectively fulfilling the Will of God. That concept is entrenched in the Torah itself and throughout the writings of the Sages. What is true is that it is impossible for anyone to try and pinpoint any particular problem or sect within the Jewish People as being responsible for what happened. It was a collective punishment for the entirety of the Jewish People as is clearly spelled out in the Torah where God explicitly delineates what will happen to us if we do not follow His Torah and keep His commandments.

    Although it is a subject that we are incapable of understanding in-depth, there are a couple of extremely thought-provoking books that help to try and give over in a limited way the Rabbis’ approach to the Holocaust.
    Such as: With God in Hell by Eliezer Berkowitz and Path Through the Ashes published by ArtScroll

    There is also an extremely poignant story that was told over by Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman in the Kovno Ghetto. Rabbi Wasserman told his students that he never went to sleep if someone had asked him, a question and he had not answered him. Often he would stay up all night until he found the answer. But there was one question that he had never been able to find the answer to and that is “Why?” “Why me?” “Why my parents?” Why my grandparents?” “Why my wife and children?”

    “I still don’t know the answer to that question,” he told his students. “But I have come to an understanding of why that question can not be answered.”

    And he told those gathered around him a parable. There was once a man who knew absolutely nothing about agriculture. One day he came to a farm to watch and see how things were done there. The farmer asked the man to look around and then describe what it was that he saw. The man said, “I see a beautiful, enormous, lush, green field.” The farmer then got into his tractor and started to plow up all the green grass and growth and leave nothing but brown, earthen furrows in its place.

    “Why did you ruin the field” asked the visitor. “Have patience” answered the farmer, “and everything will become clear.”

    The farmer then took a sack full of fat, healthy kernels of wheat and again asked the man to describe what he saw. After he described it the farmer then took the kernels and started dropping them into the ground and then covering them up with dirty earth!

    “Why did you ruin the kernels” asked the visitor. “Have patience” answered the farmer, “and everything will become clear.”

    After quite a while the kernels started to sprout and the farmer took his guest to see the field replete with straight lines of green stalks poking out of the ground. The visitor smiled and said “I am really do apologize. Now I understand why it was that you did what you did! Now the field is even more beautiful than it was originally!” “Have patience” answered the farmer, “because nothing is clear yet.” They waited more time until the what looked magnificent, chest high and golden in color. At that point the farmer came along and started to chop everything down! The field looked disgusting, there was a huge mess everywhere and seemingly very little to show for it. At that point the farmer started collecting up all the stalks and he moved them to another part of the farm where he started to bash them around! After the bashing he was left with an enormous pile of kernels and the chaff was swept away by the wind.

    Of course, at each stage of the proceedings the visitor asked “Why did you ruin it” and the farmer answered “Have patience and everything will become clear.”

    Finally the farmer’s wagon was completely full of kernels and they set off to the mill. When the kernels were all ground down into flour the visitor couldn’t control himself and he shouted at the farmer “But all you’ve done is turn it into a huge pile of dirt! Of what possible use is that to anyone?!”

    “Have patience” answered the farmer, “and very soon everything will become clear.”

    They made their way back to the farmhouse and the visitor watched as the farmer took some of the flour and ruined it by mixing it together with water! But imagine his delight when he saw the farmer turn the mixture into a perfectly formed loaf of bread. Of course, his happiness was transitory because, before he knew it, the farmer picked up the loaf and stuck it in the oven!

    “After all that work! Months and months of toil and you burn it?!” He screamed in frustration. “Have patience” answered the farmer, “because soon all will be clear.”

    After a short while the farmer opened the door of the oven and took out a delicious loaf of freshly baked bread. He sat his guest down and cut him off a steaming piece of the most delicious bread that the guest had ever tasted. “Now” said the farmer, “now, you understand!”

    Rabbi Elchonon Wasserman explained to the listeners that Hashem is the farmer and we are the “guest” who cannot begin to understand the Ways of Hashem or to predict how things will unfold. When the Mashiach finally comes and we all celebrate his arrival will it become clear why things had to happen in the way that they did. It will transpire that things that seemed to be completely destructive, that seemed to be so painful, are, in reality part of the process that will produce goodness and beauty!

    Everything that happens in this world is preparation for that moment.

    Best wishes from the Team