Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Holocaust

The Jewish Holocaust in which 6 million Jews were exterminated by the Nazis during WWII was a tremendous blow to the Jews as a people and religion. One of the fundamental tenets of Judaism is that Jews are god's chosen people. Jews traditionally believe that they are special and different from all the other nations. They are smarter, more righteous and -if they follow god's will- more prosperous as well. This them is mentioned many times in the Bible "for god has chosen you to be a prized nation to him..." and it has been maintained throughout the days of temple and later in Diaspora. How do we reconcile the "favorite nation" status will all the humiliation and suffering experienced in the last 2,000 years? Simple! We have sinned and god is punishing us just like a dad slaps his little son a little, just enough to stir him in the right direction and teach him not to do wrong again. We believe that our 2,000-year-long suffering is only temporary and eventually we will be redeemed by the Messiah and our dignity and prosperity restored.

Okay, so that explains why the middle-age-era Jewish peasant or surf was tortured by the christian lord and the Jewish merchant peddled towns laboriously just to eke out enough money to barely survive and was then forced to give half of it away in taxes. And that might also explain some of the other more severe persecutions such as the Crusades. But what about the Holocaust? A father might slap his child on the back as punishment but will he choke him to death? If we are god's chosen people, how and why would god ever allow such a massive and tremendous blow to happen to us, the destruction of one-third of our nation in less than five years in the most brutal and sadistic ways imaginable. Many holocaust survivors have simply lost their faith in god as a result of the holocaust. It just doesn't make any sense; god cannot be looking after us and love us if atrocities like this can materialize.

They have an extremely valid argument and I agree that this is solid ground for dismissal of the "chosen nation" idea. But in reality the Holocaust is far more complicated than this. We must strive to understand what really lies behind the Holocaust. What motivated the Germans to commit these atrocious crimes? why did they hate the Jews so much and why were the Jews do defenseless?

Let's rewind back all the way to the days of when Christianity was created as a distinct religion. Christianity is NOT an independent religion when compared to Judaism. Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism; in fact it's a "reformation" of Judaism. Jesus and his small group of Jewish followers sought to "reform" the Jewish movement in the closing days of the second temple. His teachings were revolutionary. He said that people are not judged by how many animal sacrifices they bring to the temple or by ritual baths ("Mikveh") or by a host of other technical acts that were strongly emphasized by the Rabbi's in that generation. Jesus said that it's all in the heart and it's the intent that is much more important than the act. There's no need to go up to the corrupt Jerusalem in order to get god's attention. You can get god's attention right at home by helping each other and following the righteous path.

His disdain of the traditional Rabbinical emphasis on the temple and a host of other Jewish laws is what made him an outcast. His teachings were denounced as heretical and his followers ostracized. Although his original intent was NOT to start a new religion or even a religious movement within Judaism, the eventual spin-off of his movement into Christianity was pretty much inevitable. His teachings were just too revolutionary for the time and the Jews simply were not willing to go along with it. Since the movement, by its very essence sought to de-emphasize technical acts and emphasize good will and intent instead, it therefore naturally attracted gentiles who were not allowed entry into rabbinical Judaism and were unwilling to commit to all the details of rabbinical Judaism.

The new movement spread like wildfire! What was the movement? It was a Jewish reform movement called Christianity. The traditional, rabbinical Jews soon became the minority and they were outnumbered by a movement that was being laughed at just several years ago. The Jews had failed!!! They did not realize that it was a reform a movement; they thought that it was just another crazy movement that will evaporate and disappear in time. But Christianity had a gigantic future in store. It was destined to conquer the world and inspire western cultural life for thousands of years to come. Rabbinical Jews thought that they were failing him, but instead failed themselves! We now know that by holding on to traditional Judaism we held on to bigotry, fundamentalism and unwillingness to adapt. I'm not saying that early Christians were any better. In fact, early Christians were less educated than Jews. Jews are the "Am Hasefer" (Nation of the book); we as a nation have always been literate, while other nations were largely illiterate in these days. Yet, Christianity as a religion is a leap forward over its Jewish counterpart and we know this now in year 2005.

The Holocaust is a manifestation of the pent-up urge in every reform movement to destroy the conservative movement. Now I must note, that a conservative movement is typically more violent against a reform movement that a reform is against the conservative. That's because the reformists understand the vantage point of those who were left behind but those who were left behind do not understand what it's like to live in the modern world and they are therefore naturally more adamantly opposed to it. However in the case of Judaism vs Christianity, the Jews had their hands tied throughout the middle ages. They were largely outnumbered and were just happy to be able to maintain their conservative religious outlook and outdated religious practices. Trying to prevent or fight Christianity was something they could not even afford to dream of.

Christians throughout the middle ages very much resented the Jewish tenacity and attempted in various ways to convert them to Christianity. They did NOT do this because they hated them; on the contrary. Jews hate Christians because Christians are revolutionaries and seem to be trying to turn their world upside down. Christians, however, do not hate Jews. They just want to "enlighten" them so that they too could enjoy the benefits of a more modern religion. When the Christians fought in the crusades, they did did so with the intent of spreading the gospel and converting Jews and others to Christianity. Their primary intent was NOT to kill, whereas the professed intent of all major victors in battles of previous ages -including the battles of the Israelites against the Canaanites- was to kill and destroy the enemy.

I know, Jews were not given a chance to accept Christianity and escape the Holocaust. But that's because there is an extremely important principle that one must understand and that is: An opportunity for progress will become available once, twice, trice and maybe four times or more but there will come a point where the opportunity is lost and when it is lost, it is lost forever and ever and ever and ever. Unlike in the movies, where skirmishes amongst love objects rarely are permanent, in real life these skirmishes are sometimes permanent. It depends on whether the right party seizes the opportunity at the right time and place and seeks reconciliation and forgiveness. After thousands of years of ingrained hatred of gentiles and refusal to reform, it was too late!! Even those Jews who did manage to reform in earlier years were included in the collective punishment, although to a somewhat lesser extent.

Following are the lines of the movie "Chasing Amy". Bob is explaining how he found out that his girlfriend once had a threesome before they got together and he therefore broke up with her. "I wasn't disgusted with her, I was afraid. That moment I felt small, like I'd lacked experience, like I'd never be on her level... never be enough for her or something like that. But, what I did not get is, she did not care, she wasn't looking for that guy anymore, she was looking for me, for the Bob. But by the time I figured this all out it was too late, she moved on and all I had to show for was some foolish pride which then gave way to regret. She was the girl, I KNOW that now. but... I pushed her away. And so I've spent every day since then Chasing Amy."
It is Jan 25 2005 already. I have been here in Lakewood nearly two moths and I suddenly find myself undergoing a philosophical metamorphosis in the last week or so. It all started with the "world almanac" videos on the big bang, the sun and the planets. Following are some of the resultant ideas:

Just like we humans as a species are not an independent, autonomous element of nature, so are women not an independent genre within the human species. Women are weaker than men in physical as well as mental capabilities. They are created to "serve" men just as lower elements in the biological evolutionary chain exist in order to serve elements higher up in the chain. It is very obvious that -although plants create starch via photosynthesis for their own survival and not for us- we are "entitled" to help ourselves to this precious food source. Why? Doesn't the plant have "rights" just like there are "women's rights"? The answer is is an emphatic no! Plants do not have any rights of their own when it comes to serving organisms higher up in the evolutionary chain. In fact, they do not have any right to even "exist" if not for these higher elements in nature. Since we see that the ultimately all organisms strive to achieve the elusive life qualities and sophistication of higher organisms, we can therefore say that their entire life as a plant is a mere "preparation" for what's to come, a means to an end. Just like there's no sense in spending money, time and effort in preparing a meal that will never be eaten, it is likewise futile for a lower organism to live out its life without contributing in some way to the survival and progress of higher organisms, notwithstanding how puny this contribution may be.

Therefore, since it is obvious that women are less developed as a genre than men, we therefore can logically conclude that they are created to "serve" men. How do they serve men? No, I'm not talking about serving as housewives, secretaries or providing sexual pleasure to men. These are all legitimate roles for women but they're not the primary role. Women's primary role is simply to produce babies. They are not built to be strong or smart. They are built to be fertile and release fertile eggs every month so that the man can fertilize one at his wish, whenever he feels the time is right. Breastfeeding is already a function that is NOT exclusive to women. This is evident by the fact that men are created with breasts as well; they are just dormant and not active as long as the woman assumes her traditional role of nursing the baby.

In the Bible (Torah) the story of man's creation goes "God cast a deep sleep upon man and he took one of (the bones of) his sides and he filled in flesh in its place. He fashioned her into a woman and brought her to the man. Man said 'this time it is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, this shall be called woman'". This is an extremely simplistic account; it does not state exactly how a bone from a man turns into a woman overnight. We now know that such kind of development is possible through evolution but that would take millions of generations. Still, the biblical account of woman's creation reflects man's instinctual knowledge that the woman is an integral part of the man and acts as a complement to the man, NOT as an independent genre. And this is why until recently women have had no rights; their rights and properties were tied to their husband and/or father.

According to my PS (primary/secondary) theory of matter evolution, developed 2-3 days ago here's how it works: Primary matter "advances" to create secondary matter and then Primary matter and Secondary matter unite to perpetuate this advance by producing offspring of the new kind. This process holds true in all levels of nature, not only in Biology. For example, the first element ever was probably Hydrogen. The very first hydrogen atom then goes on and makes a tiny "advance" and then perpetuates that advance by generating some more hydrogen atoms. It's a three-step process: 1- creation, 2- advancement, 3- perpetuation. Eventually, all these tiny advancements achieved over many "hydrogen generations" will add up and convert the successful members of the element into a more advanced element, such as Helium. Why then do we still see hydrogen atoms around us? To answer that we should ask ourselves why do we still see insects and chimpanzees around us? Haven't these organisms heard of the remarkable feat of genius called "humanity"? The answer is, they have tried but failed! We all know that out of the thousands of students entering college, very few manage to graduate and become successful in their field of study. What happens to all the rest of them? They fail and drop out! that's what survival of the fittest is all about.

Just like any human social contest, those who don't win, don't necessarily lose. They usually are given a "second chance" to demonstrate their achievement and they will sometimes have many opportunities throughout their lifetime to do this. Still, as soon as they have failed the first contest they are failures relative to the winner/s of the contest and they will remain failures forever as long as they cannot demonstrate the desired capability. These human failures remain "alive" and live amongst us -in fact, all of us are guaranteed to be failures in some regards- yet they are not as alive and happy as the winners. Yes! you heard me right. The loser is comparable to the chimpanzee who didn't make it. The chimp is dead when compared to a human and so is the human individual who failed compared to the individual who has successfully made the leap forward.