Rabbi Yissachar S. Teichtal (H”YD) A Victim of the Holocaust, Explains Why Hashem Let It Happen
Q: The Holocaust was anticipated! See for example, Chapter 77 of the biography of the Chafetz Chaim by Moses M. Yoshor published in English by Mesora Publications. But I have not yet seen a convincing source to explain, why it happened. What sin did the Jewish people do, to have this befall them?
A: Some rabbis have indeed, pointed to increasing Jewish laxity, before the war, in a whole series of commandments, but I prefer Rabbi Yissachar Teichtal’s approach. Rabbi Teichtal provides a direct connection between the type of suffering suffered by Jews in the Holocaust and the correction it was intended to effect. A correction needed by even observant Jews. Rabbi Teichtal’s explanation also happens to be backed by Biblical code.
Q: Give me the explanation and then you can throw in the code “as spice to the meal”.
A: First an introduction.
In Genesis chapter 8, the Bible describes a flood that destroyed most of the people, animals and plants in the world.
Verses 6 to 9 on this same chapter state:
And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of
the ark which he had made: and he set forth the raven, which went forth to and
fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. Also he sent forth the
dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from the face of the ground; but
the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned to him into
the ark, for the waters were on the face of the whole earth: then he put out his
hand, and took her, and pulled her in to him into the ark.
Rashi, whose commentary, unlike other commentaries is obligatory for Jews who fear heaven (see Mishna Brura on 285:2) tells us that seven days after the raven was sent forth, Noah sent out the dove that found no rest upon the waters, which forced it to return. Since the raven was sent out on the 10th day of the Hebrew month, Elul, it follows that the dove was sent out on the 17th of Elul based on Rashi’s commentary to Genesis 8:5 and 8:6 and so Ramban (on Genesis 8:4) said, explicitly on behalf of Rashi. (See also the calculation of Rashi’s date by Artscroll commentary on Genesis 8:6.)
It is interesting to note that the anti-Semitic Nuremberg laws were issued on the 17th day of Elul in 5695 (secular year 1935). In addition, World War II, which started on September 1, 1939, began
when looking at the Hebrew date, on the 17th of Elul (Jewish Year 5699).
Q: Many events happened on the 17th of Elul. How is the start of World War II connected to Noah’s sending out the dove that found no rest, any more than a billion other events that occurred on the 17th of Elul?
A: Because Rabbi Teichtal happened to find many important, ancient midrashic commentaries precisely on the verse, “but the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot,” which connects up directly to World War II.
For example, it says in Bereshit Rabba, chapter 33: “And the dove found no rest.” Yehuda bar Nachman in the name of Rabbi Shimon said, if it had found rest, it would not have returned and similarly: “she dwelled amidst the nations, she found no rest” (the Biblical book, Eicha/ Lamentations 1:3). If she had found rest they would not have returned. And similarly, “And amidst these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot find rest. (Deuteronomy 28:65) Behold it is so, if she had found rest, they would not have not returned.
And thus was it said in the Midrash of Aggadat Noah, section 8: “And he sent
forth the dove.” The dove- this is a symbol of the children of Israel. For just
as the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, so too, the children of
Israel… there would be no rest for them in the exile, for it is said,
(Deuteronomy 28:65) “Neither shall the sole of thy foot find rest”. And just as
the dove returned unto the ark, so too the children of Israel, in the future,
will return to their land from the exile, because of the burdenous yoke of the
gentiles who are compared to water; for it is said, “Woe to the multitude of
many people, who make a noise like the noise of the seas” and the verse
continues “and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing
of mighty waters!” (Isaiah 17:12).
Q: The flood fell on the land of Israel, too, so it seems out of place for the rabbis to compare Noah’s ark, the place where the dove found refuge, to the land of Israel.
A: The Talmud in tractate Zevachim 113A records a dispute between Rabbi Yochanan and Reish Lakish. Rabbi Yochanan contended that the flood did not fall on the land of Israel. Reish Lakish said it did. And Rabbi Nachman bar Yitzchak said the dispute centered on how to understand the verse in Ezekiel chapter 22, sentence 24: “Son of man, say to her, thou art a land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.”
(It should be pointed out, that even Reish Lakish who contends that the rain of the flood did fall on the land of Israel, nevertheless holds in midrash Eicha [Parsha 1: 29] the same idea, that I brought above, concerning, what the Bible implies by informing us about ‘the dove that found no rest’.)
Q: You said, you had a code to back your viewpoint?
A: The names Hitler, Rommel, and Doenitz happened to be coded into Genesis chapter 8. Namely, the name Hitler is spelled out in Hebrew, in the proper order, by the 1035th, 1004th, 973rd, 942nd and 911th letters of the chapter.
(To simplify verification the first letter of the fifteenth word of Genesis 8:21 is letter 1035.) Doenitz (the leader who surrendered Germany after Hitler committed suicide) is spelled out, in the proper order, by letters 1032,1063,1094, and 1125 of Genesis chapter 8. (To simplify verification the third letter of the thirteenth word of Genesis 8:21 is letter 1032.) If you start from letter 976 of the chapter you’ll find that the name Rommel (the German general that threatened to invade Palestine) is spelled out twice. Once by letters 976, 1007, 1038, and 1069 of the chapter and the second time by letters 976, 945, 914 and 883 of the chapter. (To simplify verification, letter 976 is the fifth letter of the eleventh word of Genesis 8:20.)
To slightly strengthen my claim, I wish to also point out, that the words “The Holocaust” and “Zion” are also spelled out in code in Genesis chapter 8, but in intervals of 62 (and not 31). “The Holocaust”
by letters 972, 910, 848, 786, and 724; Zion by letters by 1113, 1051, 989 and 927. (Letter 972 is the first letter of the eleventh word of Genesis 8:20 and 1113 is the third letter of the sixth word of Genesis 8:22.)
Q: Does Jewish law obligate Jews to live in Israel, even before the arrival of the Messiah?
A: Rabbi Yissachar Teichtal in his book Eim Habanim Smeicha [Hebrew edition] pages 200,201 explains: that the Rebbe of Gur, (Rabbi Avraham Mordechay Alter z”l) held that the mitzvah of building
and settling the land of Israel is not dependent on a particular time period, but rather only on our pragmatic ability to perform the mitzvah and he meant thus to negate the minority opinion, that this mitzvah is dependent on the arrival of the Messiah.
“And similarly the opinion of the Chareidim chapter 1 of the positive Mitzvot
that are dependent on the land of Israel, that he wrote with this wording ‘It is
a positive commandment to dwell in the land of Israel’, for it was said, ‘And
you shall expel from within it and you shall dwell in it’. And our Sages of
Blessed Memory said, ‘that this mitzvah is equivalent in weight to all the
other Mitzvot of the Torah combined‘. And it is one of the 613 Mitzvot
according to the Ramban and Rashbatz.”…….”And earlier on I have already
written that also according to the Rambam (Maimonides) it is a mitzvah from the
Torah- the dwelling/settling in the land and the reason he did not consider it
as part of the 613 commandments is for the reason that it encompasses the entire
Torah and therefore it was not counted in the counting of the Mitzvot ( for a
technical reason, mentioned in shoresh 4 of the 14 shorashim at the beginning of
Sefer Hamitzvot).And at this time, I have found in the commentary of our Rabbi,
the Holy Ohr Hachayim at the end of Parshat Netzavim that he wrote the
following: ‘For the dwelling/settling of the land – is a mitzvah that
encompasses the entire Torah’. (End of Quote)
“And it is an obligation upon every son of Israel (i.e. every
Jew) to use all opportunities that come to him (for this mitzvah) at every time
and every hour with all force and strength.”
Q: If moving to Israel immediately demands a loss of a substantial amount of money, do I still have to move there?
A: Without stating my exact opinion on the question, I wish to point out that according to Rabbi Teichtal, many rabbis are not really fit to voice an opinion on this issue.
My suggestion is that you contact a knowledgeable Rabbi that has a proven track record of being friendly to the mitzvah of dwelling in Israel and ask him your question!
Q: Do I have the right to avoid moving to Israel in order to improve my performance of other commandments or to enable others to improve?
A: My suggestion is that you contact a knowledgeable Rabbi that has a proven track record of being friendly to the mitzvah of dwelling in Israel and ask him your question!
Q: Do I have the right to avoid moving to Israel because even to this day the army demands that all soldiers make an oath or at least a declaration that their loyalty to the laws of the state is above their loyalty to the Torah when the two are in conflict.
It is also a fact that an alarming percentage of religious Jews who serve in the army, end up throwing away their kippa!
A: My suggestion is that you contact a knowledgeable Rabbi that has a proven track record of being friendly to the mitzvah of dwelling in Israel and ask him your question!
Q: Is it a praiseworthy act to simply visit Israel for a short amount of time, until the problem that keeps me from living there permanently is solved?
A: According to the Mishna Brura comment 28 to chapter 248 ( of Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim) even someone who takes a short walk in the land of Israel fulfills a mitzvah.
Q: In the book of Joshua chapter 10, we learn that G-d tossed down giant stones on the enemies of Israel and so too in the future during the war of Gog and Magog, we learn from the prophet Ezekiel (chapter 38) that G-d will toss stones down upon the enemy army. If G-d really wants the Jews back in Israel, why hasn’t he tossed down any stones against the bad guys.
A: During the time of Moses, Hashem also did not throw stones down upon the Gentile nations that were located in the land of Israel. Only after the people risked their lives in battle at the time that Joshua was the leader, did the miracle of the stones take place (and even in that generation, miracles did not take place in every battle).
From the words of Maimonides, we can also deduce that it is fitting to take physical action on behalf of the land of Israel, even before we see miracles destroying our enemies.
Maimonides (Rambam) wrote a letter to the sages of Marsilla (probably the city of Marseilles) against the use of Astrology and within his letter he states:
“And this is what caused the loss of our kingdom and destroyed our
Temple and lengthened our exile, and brought us to this point that our fathers
have sinned and are no more, because they found many books on these matters
concerning astrology and went astray after them and imagined that these things
were exalted fields of wisdom and they have within them great value, and they did not involve themselves in learning warfare or the
conquest of lands, rather they imagined that those matters would help
them. Therefore the prophets called them fools and idiots. Definitely fools
and idiots were they and after the vain matters that do not benefit and do not
save, being that they are vain, they pursued.” (end of the quote of the Holy
Behold that our master, Maimonides (Rambam) blamed
our ancestors for the destruction of our land and our Temple because they did
not engage in learning warfare or the conquest of lands, rather they wasted
their days with null and vanity and relied upon this.
why did he not blame them for not engaging in Torah and Divine Service as we
would expect him to say?
We are thus forced to answer, that
this by itself, is not sufficient. And this is accordance with the words of
Ramban (Nachmanides) in a number of places (in his commentary on the Torah)
that one does not rely upon miracles, rather one has to all that he can do by
natural means and then the assistance will come from heaven.
We learn from the above sources that the fact that some time in the future, G-d will toss huge stones down upon our enemies does not mean we have to make use of this knowledge when deciding to take
actions on behalf of the land of Israel or the Temple. Rather if we truly want an end to the exile and the rebuilding of the Temple, we must engage in suitable activities that will advance these objectives by natural means. And if G-d forbid, we don’t do these activities, we decrease the likelihood of obtaining the miracles that we desire in the near future. [ See also the introduction of Rabbeinu Bachaya to parshat Sh’lach for a similar idea .]
Q: A prominent secular politician in Israel said that if you wish to assert that some Jews deserved to receive suffering at the time of the Holocaust as a result of their spiritual failings, the end result will be, that you absolve the Nazis of responsibility for all their acts of murder, torture, theft, blasphemy, etc.?
A: A similar question was asked concerning the ancient Egyptians who killed babies and enslaved the nation of Israel before the exodus from Egypt. Namely, if Hashem had already decreed at
the time of Abraham that Abraham’s descendents would be subjugated and oppressed in a land that is not theirs (Genesis 15:13) why did the Egyptians deserve a punishment for their evil deeds?
Different answers are provided for this question and I’ll mention some but not all of them.
The Egyptians tortured the nation of Israel above the amount of suffering that was decreed upon Israel, to rectify a spiritual problem that had already started in the days of Abraham.
The motivations of the Egyptians to harm Israel were evil motivations and not because they received a prophetic command from Hashem. Therefore, the Egyptians were punished for their evil motivations and intentions.
Hashem could have used other messengers to inflict suffering on the nation of Israel. The fact that the Egyptians chose to be the messengers of evil, is the reason they are to blame.
One can read Eim Habanim Smeicha translated into English online,at
I downloaded a backup copy from that site which I am storing here, in case that link stops working.
The book’s ISBN code is 965-7108-17-9
An additional note to the reader:
Based on information not presented here, the author of this article has come to the conclusion that codes in general, do exist in the Bible. If one however believes that the particular code that I mentioned in this article is not statistically significant, this in no way detracts from the truth of Rabbi Teichtal’s viewpoint, which is not at all based on codes.
If you are Jewish, I urge you to attend a special seminar sponsored by Yeshiva Aish Hatora where solid statistical evidence is offered (that has convinced even military officials involved in deciphering codes) that some meaningful codes do exist in the Bible.
To find out information about the seminar (Discovery program) you can call the Yeshiva by phone (Israel’s country code is
972) area code (02)- 6272355 or go to http://www.aish.com/seminars/discovery
I have a Hebrew article which quotes a precedent from Rabbeinu Bachayei for Bible Codes. I then embedded a Hebrew video by professor Eliyahu Rips with new research to refute the anti-codes claims of Prof. Maya Bar Hillel. Among his innovation is that he chooses words found in Rashi’s commentary on the Torah as the source for which words are tested and how they are spelled, to avoid the charge that he manipulated the results based on subjective spelling and search terms.
One final note: Rabbi Teichtal’s views on the Holocaust fit within the general outlook of the Vilna Gaon. Here is a Hebrew quote from Kol Hator, Chapter 1 footnote 58
“דבר הנבואה הזה, בציון ובירושלים תהיה פליטה הדאיג מאד את רבינו הגר”א, שלפי זה יבוא זמן בעקבות משיחא שקבוץ גלויות יהיה בדרך של פליטה היינו מתוך הכרח של צרות וגזירות ורק שרידי הפליטה יגיעו לציון וירושלים, דבר זה היה אחד הגורמים הגדולים שהגר”א האיץ בתלמידיו למהר ולנסוע לאר”י ולעסוק בקבוץ גלויות בעוד מועד כדי לקיים שיבת ציון מרצון ולא מתוך הכרח של פליטה”, המגיד דורש ציון, עמ’ 71.
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