Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/04/19

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Subject: [Leica] OT - Jeff Jacoby Article
From: bdcolen at (B. D. Colen)
Date: Mon Apr 19 07:40:48 2004

No, Sam, what I would love an explanation of is what this piece of
typical Jacoby crap is doing posted to the LUG. It's bad enough that I
have to put up with his right-wing Zionist drivel several times a week
on the op-ed page of the Boston Globe, but to find it in my mailbox on
the LUG is really pushing it.

And by the way, "if I must it explain it to you, you do not have the
ability to understand" is perhaps the most pathetic retort I've read on
the LUG - or anywhere else - in some time. It reminds me of George W.
Bush's attempts to explain his foreign policy and world view. ;-)

B. D.

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of
Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 10:07 AM
To: Leica Users Group
Subject: Re: [Leica] OT - Jeff Jacoby Article

If I must explain it to you, you do not have the ability to understand. 
So I won't.

Sam S

B. D. Colen wrote:

>-----Original Message-----
>[] On Behalf Of

>Sent: Monday, April 19, 2004 1:11 AM
>To: Leica Users Group
>Subject: Re: [Leica] OT - Jeff Jacoby Article
>The following is off topic, but is worth reading--
>Sam S
>*Faith in the depths of Hell*
>Jeff Jacoby
>   The order to kill every pregnant Jewish woman had been issued that
>morning.  So when a Nazi guard patrolling the Jewish ghetto in Kovno 
>noticed a pregnant Jew walking past the local hospital, he shot her at 
>point-blank range. She died on the spot.
>    Hoping to save the baby, some passersby rushed the dead woman into
>the hospital. An obstetrician determined that she had been in her last 
>weeks of pregnancy, and said that if surgery were performed
>her baby might be rescued.
>    But could such surgery be squared with Jewish law, which is
>stringent in its concern for the dignity of the dead?  If the baby 
>didn't make it, the mother's body would have been mutilated for
>    The question was put to Rabbi Ephraim Oshry, a young rabbinical
>scholar.  He didn't hesitate.  "When saving a life is involved, we are 
>not concerned with the desecration of the dead," he ruled.  Besides, if

>the murdered mother could speak, wouldn't she welcome the "desecration"

>of her body if it would assure her baby's survival?  He ordered the 
>operation to proceed at once, and the baby was born alive.
>    Then came a horrifying postscript.  "The cruel murderers . . . came
>into the hospital to write down the name of the murdered woman. . . . 
>When they found the baby alive, their savage fury was unleashed.  One
>the Germans grabbed the infant and cracked its skull against the wall 
>the hospital room.  Woe unto the eyes that saw this!"
>    This case from May 1942 was one of many that Rabbi Oshry was called
>upon to decide during the Nazi occupation of Kovno, Lithuania's 
>second-largest city.  He recorded the heart-rending questions that were

>brought to him in brief notes on scraps of paper, then buried the
>in tin cans.  Someday, he hoped, those scraps might be found -- 
>that even in the midst of the Nazi inferno there were Jews who clung to
>their God and His law, refusing to abandon Him even as they must have 
>wondered whether He had abandoned them.
>    More than 90 percent of Kovno's 40,000 Jews were killed in the
>Holocaust -- either by the Germans or by their Lithuanian 
>collaborators.  Rabbi Oshry was one of those who survived. After the
>he retrieved his notes and began writing them out as full-length
>rabbinical rulings, or responsa.  These were ultimately published in 
>five Hebrew volumes; in 1983 a book of excerpts in English -- /Responsa

>from the Holocaust 
><>/ --
>published by Judaica Press.
>    I read /Responsa from the Holocaust/ soon after it came out, and
>found it deeply moving.  With the approach of Holocaust Remembrance
>which occurs this year on April 19, I took it down from the bookshelf
>last week -- and again found it powerful and affecting.  The questions 
>laid before Rabbi Oshry can reduce you to tears, but what is really 
>extraordinary, I saw now, was that anyone would care enough to ask such

>questions in the first place.
>    In October 1941, "one of the respected members of the community"
>asked Rabbi Oshry if he could commit suicide.  His wife and children
>been seized by the Nazis, and he knew that their murder was imminent.
>He feared that the Nazis would force him to watch as his family was 
>killed, and the prospect of witnessing their deaths was a horror he 
>couldn't bear to face.  He begged for permission to take his own life 
>and avoid seeing his loved ones die.
>    Later that month, the head of another household came to Rabbi Oshry
>"with tears of anguish on his face."  His children were starving to 
>death and he was desperate to find food for them.  His query was about
>bit of property that had been left behind by the family in the next
>apartment.  The entire family had been butchered a few days earlier,
>there were no surviving relatives.  Under Jewish law, could he take 
>remained of their belongings and sell them to raise cash for food?
>    Next to such questions, answers seem almost superfluous.  (The 
> rabbi
>did not permit the suicide; he allowed the neighbors' property to be
>taken.)  What is stunning is that men and women in the throes of such 
>hideous suffering and brutality were still concerned about adhering to 
>Jewish law.  In the lowest depths of the Nazi hell, in a place of
>and savagery that most of us cannot fathom, here were human beings who
>refused to relinquish their faith -- who refused even to violate a 
>religious precept without first asking if it was allowed.
>    Violence, humiliation, and hunger will reduce some people to 
> animals
>willing to do anything to survive.  The Jews who sought out Rabbi Oshry
>-- like Jews in so many other corners of Nazi Europe -- were not
>but elevated, reinforced in their belief, determined against crushing
>odds to walk in the ways of their fathers.
>    Some Jews fought the Nazis with guns and sabotage, Rabbi Oshry 
> would
>later say; others fought by persisting in Jewish life.  In the end,
>/Responsa from the Holocaust 
><>/ is a 
>chronicle of courage and resistance -- and a profound inspiration to 
>believers of every faith.
>Leica Users Group.
>See for more information
>Leica Users Group.
>See for more information
Leica Users Group.
See for more information

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