The Holocaust Rainbow
By Heshy Shayovitz
During World War II there was much death and destruction in the world.
One night Hashem came to the Jewish leaders of the generation in a dream and brought them all together. As the leaders looked around they saw the greats of generation. They were awed by each other, but even more impressed that Hashem had brought them to the place where the great Sanhedrin had served him.
Soon they felt the shechina approach. It was an awesome feeling that they never felt before.
Then a voice said “I am Hashem your God. The God of Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. I have gathered the 72 leaders of the Jewish community together, today’s sanhedrin if you will, to let you know that I have seen the pain and suffering that you, my children, have endured. I have suffered with you, but this was a lesson I needed to give you.”
Suddenly, the form of a little 10 year old boy appeared. As he came closer it was obvious he suffered from malnutrition and his clothes were tattered. Yet like a worker after a hard days work, he had a look of contentment and a shine exuding from him.
Hashem continued. “This is Avraham Dov. He will be the last innocent victim of the Holocaust. I will end the Holocaust tomorrow.”
The leaders cheered. Hugs and tears filled the audience. After a moment the leaders became silent, remembering they were in the presence of Hashem and seeing that He had more to say.
Hashem continued “Like a father who has punished his children, I don’t want to have to do this again. In the times of Noach, when I brought the mabul (great flood), I asked him ‘What can I do to ensure that I don’t have to punish my precious children like this again?’. As you know, he asked that I send a rainbow as a warning. Today, I have gathered you together to ask you: ‘What I can I do so that I won’t have to do this again?’ Let me know and I will grant it to you.”
The leaders were very thankful for this awesome generosity. They discussed what would be their request. After much debate they could not agree on an answer.
They trembled and approached Hashem. The leaders each made a case for his own idea.
First, the head of the secularists spoke: “Give us wisdom and knowledge like Solomon and we’ll be able to solve these problems.”
The head of the left-wing movements interjected: “This is about people. We request the ability to get along with the goyim (gentiles) so we can work with them and there won’t be a need for war.”
The leader of the Zionists banged on the table and said: “We don’t need to appease them. If it be your will, give us our own land, our own state like you promised to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov and a strong army and this will not happen again. People will know the Jews are powerful.”
The leader of the modern orthodox group spoke “To avoid the fight, if you would give us affluence we could work with the goyim to respect us and buy them off when needed. Further, as it says in Pirkei Avos: ‘Im Ain Kemach, Ain Torah.’ With affluence we can build beautiful shuls and schools for torah study.”
Right wing leaders announced rather smugly after hearing their peers: “All we need is your Torah. Give us Torah study, that’s all we ask.”
All of the leaders had spoken and they were now anxious for hashem’s response. There was a pause that seemed like an eternity.
Finally Hashem’s voice spoke: “I will grant all of your wishes.” Then with a flash the most beautiful rainbow appeared and the shechina was gone.
The leaders rejoiced. “Hashem is truly great, we got all our wishes,” they said.
But soon they noticed that Avraham Dov was crying. Was it tears of joy? No, it was sadness.
They asked him why he was crying, but he could not speak. They tried to comfort him.
“You are united with the relatives you lost in shamayim” said one.
“You’ve died young and pure as a martyr. Surely you will have a huge share in the world to come,” offered another.
“All our wishes were granted. We are sure this will never happen again and Jews will live in a much better world. Moshiach is sure to come soon,” offered a third.
None of this calmed the boy.
Finally the boy calmed down and spoke softly. “I didn’t get a chance to learn a lot of Torah in my 10 years of life, especially since I was in the concentration camps the last few years, but my father tried to tell us as much as he could. I know the story of Yosef and his brothers. How they didn’t get along and Yosef was sold. So hashem punished the descendants of Yaakov with galus mitzrayim. I know the story from Navi about how the Jews split into two warring kingdoms, Yehuda and Yisrael. So Hashem punished them and sent an aggressor. They were too weak individually to stand up against the enemy and both were eventually exiled.”
He sobbed a little more before continuing. “Before the war there was much divisiveness between the Jews, so Hashem sent Hitler to remind us that we are all Jews.
“When the Nazis captured my father, he was severely outnumbered and his capture was certain, but he struggled to break free one last time and ran towards us just so he could say one more word to his children. He knew the cost was that he would be severely beaten.
“My siblings and I wondered what he would say. Would he say ‘be strong and fight?’ Would he tell us to work with his captors? No, he said ‘Work together’.”
The boy went back to sobbing.
One of the leaders spoke up to try to calm the boy. “You need to understand we are the greatest leaders of our time. Hashem just said so. We’ve deliberated and debated and have thought of way that will prevent this in the future. Hashem in his generosity gave us all our answers. Time will show one or more of our ideas are right.”
With that, the leaders woke up and were greeted by news that the war was indeed over. They went on with their work to repair their Jewish communities. Hashem, true to his word, granted all the leaders’ requests.
Hashem granted the secularist’s wish of the wisdom of Solomon. Jews have won Nobel prizes out of proportion to their size (Jews make up 0.02% of the world population, but have won an astounding 23% of all Nobel prizes). Jews have started some of the greatest companies including Facebook and Google. But the Jews weren’t united in their efforts so the greatest inventions elude them.
The left-wing Jews were granted their wish of understanding from gentiles. Vatican II removed much of the tension with Roman Catholics. The Jewish quotas at the best universities and golf clubs were rescinded and Jews experienced unprecedented comraderie with non-Jews.
But the Jews weren’t united with their Jewish brethren and didn’t have a Jewish core. This resulted in many going the way of the gentiles and assimilating at a rate of over 50 percent.
Hashem granted the Zionists’ wish and in three short years Israel, a Jewish state, was formed. Soon Israel developed into the strongest army. Enemies continue to battle them and they continue to survive.
But the Jews weren’t united. The Israeli political system is in constant conflict. Some Jews even go abroad to encourage hostility against Israel.
Hashem granted the Modern Orthodox affluence. Hashem gave the Jews more than enough money to support all Jews around the world. Jews have built more shuls (each more beautiful than the other) and yeshivot than ever existed in history.
But the Jews weren’t united. Some of the affluence went toward materialistic pursuits like having a fancier bar mitzvah and didn’t make it to the poor. The generous amounts that flowed to schools and shuls were squandered as duplicate institutions were built to compete with each other.
Hashem granted the right wing their wish and there is now more Torah study then ever existed. There are more people who make the study of Torah their vocation than ever before.
But the Jews weren’t united. Many live off the generosity of their communities. They are viewed as not contributing to society and just taking from others.
As the boy looks down from Shamayim, he is continuously amazed at how the generous and benevolent God granted all the wishes despite the fact that they didn’t solve the problem of the Holocaust. The boy continues to cry.
“Why can’t you just work together?”