Ysoscher Katz

When Elie Weisel Met His Maker (A brief Yom Ha’Shoah reflection)

God: Baruch ha’bah, le’olam ha’bah, Reb Elie; welcome.

Elie: who are You, God? You survived the holocaust? Intact!?

At some point I thought that You perished in the holocaust. You did not! I nevertheless thought that You’d at least be broken and diminished, like the rest of the survivors. You are not. You are, seemingly, as Omnipotent and as Omniscient as ever. I am perplexed.

God: I did notice that you left out one of My attributes: benevolence.

Elie: I did.

God sheds a tear, as does Elie.

* * *

God (after a long pause): You said pretty outrageous things about me after the holocaust.

Elie: You DID pretty outrageous things DURING the holocaust.

God: not fair, Elie, that was not Me, that was the Nazis.

Elie: Well, the person who said those outrageous things about You wasn’t me either. I was eliminated in the camps, only a faux replica of me survived the horrors of the holocaust.

God: touché!

* * *

God: Can we now let bygones be bygones?

Elie: Well, that You will have to ask the six million victims, not me. My guess is that most of them aren’t ready to fully forgive You, yet. Many abandoned You, and those who did not, are filled with fury and rage.

Do You appreciate the religious esthetic of their holy rage?

* * *

God: Reb Elie, I added your name to the faculty roster here at the Yeshiva Shel Ma’alah; the celestial Yeshivah. Our human rights record is less than stellar. Hopefully you can start teaching next week, as soon as the shiva is over.

I look forward to attending your classes. Perhaps you can co-teach with Avraham Avinu. He, like you, was a voice of moral conscience, courageously challenging the ethics of my retributive fury.

Zecher tzadik li’vracha!

About the Author
Rabbi Ysoscher Katz is Chair of the Talmud department at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah. He received ordination in 1986 from Rabbi Yechezkel Roth, dayan of UTA Satmer. Rabbi Katz studied in Brisk and in Yeshivat Beit Yosef, Navaradok for more ten years, and is a graduate of the HaSha'ar Program for Jewish Educators, Rabbi Katz taught at the Ma'ayanot Yeshiva High School for Girls and SAR High School, and gave a popular daf yomi class in Brooklyn for more than eight years.
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