The Jewish Heart

Posted: September 8, 2011 in holocaust, Israel

TO AND FROM THE JEWISH HEART

What is a Jew ? This question is not at all so odd as it seems. Let us see what kind of peculiar creature the Jew is, which all the rulers and all the nations have together and separately abused and molested, oppressed and persecuted,trampled and butchered, burned and hanged – and in spite of all this is yet alive!
What is a Jew, who has never allowed himself to be led astray by all the earthly possessions which his oppressors and persecutors constantly offered him in order that he should change his faith and forsake his own Jewish religion ?
The Jew is that sacred being who has brought down from heaven the everlasting fire, and has illuminated with it the entire world. He is the religious source, spring, and fountain out of which all the rest of peoples have drawn their beliefs and their religions. The Jew is the pioneer of liberty.

. . . The Jew is the emblem of eternity. He whom neither slaughter nor torture of thousands of years could destroy, he whom neither fire nor sword nor inquisition was able to wipe off the face of the earth, he who was the first to produce the oracles of God, he who has been for so long the guardian of prophecy, and who transmitted it to the rest of the world – such a nation cannot be destroyed. The Jew is everlasting as is eternity itself.

Leo Tolstoy in Shalom: the Heritage of Judaism In Selected Writings.
Hallmark, Kansas City, Missouri
1972. pp 5,5,7.

The Six Days of Yad Mordechai
[1948 Israel War of Liberation]

“This book is about a struggle. A handful of people who tilled the soil stood against great odds and by their resistance pinned down a brigade-size force and thus took the brunt of battle from other villages.”

“. . . Knowingly and with the force of their conviction, the people of Yad Mordechai prepared for an unequal struggle and with all the odds against them. For six days the resistance of the few continued, day in and day out, until at the end they felt that they could not continue in their village. Therefore, carrying their wounded, they withdrew to another settlement in order to seek reinforcements to retake the ground they had lost. . .” (p.5)

“They felt a responsibility toward the fields which they had reclaimed from the desert and which they had fought so hard to defend. They could not say, “We have done enough, now let us live in peace.” (p.255)

“. . . Together with the seventeen men and one woman who had died in the battle and the retreat, this represented a loss to the kibbutz of nearly a third of it’s manpower.
. . . Today, Yad Mordechai is a tree-shaded community of nearly 500 people. At the foot of the hill where the fallen water tower lies tipped over on its side, the Bohinia tree puts out its pale blossoms, and across a wide expanse of lawn stands the grove of cypress trees. A rose garden, a little pool and benches set under flowing Oleanders, contribute to the sense of restfulness and peace. Except for the marks of bullets in some cement buildings, all signs of the battle’s destruction have been erased. “ (p. 256)

M. Larkin. The Six Days of Yad Mordechai. Yad Mordechai Museum. Keterpress Enterprises, Jerusalem 1998

A survivor described to me ghetto life in Warsaw:
You have no idea what it was like, the filth, hunger, dead bodies all over the streets, thousands of children, many covered head to foot with lice, begging and wandering aimlessly. I remember one woman, walking down a street, stumbling over bodies, murmuring something like “Mendel, Mendel,” her arms stretched out in front of her, her eyes crazed; she had no shoes, her clothes hung off her body in tatters.’

James M. Glass. Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust: Moral Uses of Violence and Will. Palgrave Macmillan New York 2004. p. 141

“There are no longer Zionists and non-Zionists” said Ruzka. “There are now only Jews and they have nowhere to go”

Rich Cohen. The Avengers: A Jewish War Story Vintage Books, Random House, New York. 2000. p. 182

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