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September 20, 1968 - Image 59

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1968-09-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Recalling Exodus i n Daily Prayers

BY RABBI SAMUEL J. FOX

(Copyright 1968, JTA Inc - )

It is required to refer to the
Exodus from Egypt every morn-
ing and every evening in the
prayers.
The Talmud (Berakoth) bases
this on the Biblical command
which states "that thou mayest re-
member the day when thou earn-
est forth out of the land of Egypt
all the days of thy life" (Deuter-
onomy 16.3), claiming that this in-
fers that one should bring to mind
the Exodus from Egypt day and
night. As was the case with many
other things the Rabbis cast this
performance into the framework
of the daily prayers. Thus the
Jew automatically fulfills this re-
quirement in the course, remem-
bering the Exodus from Egypt is
a very important cornerstone of
the Jewish faith. The Ten Com-
mandments which spell out the
basic tenets of the faith begin
with establishing the relationship
between God and Israel, casting
God in the role of ever reminding
His people "I am the Lord thy

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God who brought thee out of the
I land of Egypt, out of the House of
Bondage" (Exodus 20:2). Some
moralists claim that the whole
Jewish religion both in belief and
practice centers around a feeling
of gratefulness on our part for
the deliverance from Egypt which
is the motivating factor behind
our obedience and desire to please
God.
The rabbis are insistent that
the passages through which the
Jew expresses his mindfulness of
the ancient Exodus from Egypt
be connected with the main body
of prayer (the Eighteen Bene•
dictions) without interruption.
In the first place, this reminder
of the Exodus gives us our faith
that the Almighty listens to prayer
as he ' did to the cries of our
ancestors in Egypt when he re-
deemed them. Secondly, some
claim that this gives us the key
to the redemption which all the
world looks for in the future.
There is no redemption nor is
there any salvation, without pray-
er. Prayer is thus an indispendable
tool for the achievement of re-
demption. The praying Jew is thus
reminded that the redemption he
so eagerly looks forward to in
the future is inextricably bound
up with prayer which will even-
tually lead to it, provided the pray-
ers are properly offered and given
with concentration and faith. In
the sequence of prayer, the Jew
thus proclaims his faith in God
by pronouncing the Shema ("Hear
0 Israel, the Lord our God, the
Lord is One") reminds himself of
what the Almighty did for him by
redeeming his ancestors from
Egypt and then immediately be-
seeches God to continue to bestow
His favor upon him by granting
him his requests for himself and
for all the people of Israel.

Richard M. Elman, eminent nov-
elist, whose "The 28th Day of
Elul" already created a stir with
its deeply moving account of epi-
sodes of the Holocaust and the
human reactions to the tragedy,
invaluably to the theme with
his
his newest work, "Lilo's Diary,"
published by Charles Scribner's
Sons (509 5th, NY17).
Immense in its scope, this per-
sonal account recorded by a girl
who lived under the tragic condi-
tions of the Hungarian period when
the Nazis were in control and
were threatening the existence of
the Jewish population, arouses con-
cern over the issue of self-preser-
vation, of a girl giving herself for
the sake of survival, of the reac-
tions of a family that sought to
retain its possessions in the hope
of overcoming the dangers, of a
menace that arrived nevertheless,
of the non-Jewish attitudes.
* * *
The world scene is in retrospect.
The hope for a cure is inherent in
the expose of a girl's life, her love
affair with a cousin, Alex, in order
that his father, Uncle Newman,
should not take from the diarist
what has already been taken from
her family's earthly means after
the parents had perished.
There is resort to deception, but
it does not help. Lilo writes in tra-
gic tones. Her diary is intended for
secrecy but she soon learns that it
has been looked into—by the uncle
or the cousin. And the gypsy on
the lot who took advantage of her,
who later used her for his personal
services, adds to the gloom of a
personal account that is far from
joyous.
There are concepts here that are
depressing. Lilo, in her tribula-
tions, states in her diary:
"I am writing this diary in the
language of our 'enemies,' Eng-
lish, to insure privacy . . . and
oblivion. Uncle Newman chose to
make his marginal notes in Eng-
lish. Perfidious Albion! To speak
here in private in the language of
Keats and Shakespeare is to insure
that one's insularity is English.
Surely German or Russian would
be more appropriate. Uncle New-
man and Alex are true Magyars.
They speak German, French and
Yiddish. . . . They can speak Hun-
garian. It there a concept for will
in Yiddish?"
• • *
The beautiful Lilo turns ugly, is
full of sores, is hungry, filled with
fears, animated by a desire to sur-
vive but oppressed by a condition
that emanates from what was

Holocaust—the term is not used in
"Lilo's Diary" — but the tragedy
fills the pages of her personal rec-
ord.
"I walk about the house . . I
cry with provocation . . . Hunger.
Hunger . . . 'Hunger . . . Death.
Nothing is simpler. But this is
murder. Hear 0 Israel! 0 God,
why has thou forsaken me? . . . I
wish I could remember the words
of Yisgadal. . ."
Impressively, interestingly, Rich-
ard M. Elman has an Afterword in
which he asserts:
"To write a novel . . . is an act
of complicity and exculpation.
But one novel ends and an-
other beings; there is then sup-
posed to intervene the rule of
the clean slate. One constructs,
after all, only fictions .. .
"Thus the dead are shoveled
under, and one is enjoined to
invent new sufferers . .
"Men are often hauntcl by spir-
its about whom they must invent
memories. My contemporaries are
the dead children of Europe past
and Asia present."
"Lilo's Diary" continues the pat-
tern. It is about the generation of
sufferers. Elman depicts them with
great compassion, and he chal-
lenges the conscience of mankind
with his expose of another facet in
the Holocaust crime.

NEW YEAR GREETINGS

SEASON'S GREETINGS

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• Happy Holiday To All

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5100 E. Nevada
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Best Wishes For The
New Year

Red Pelican
Food Products

Best Wishes For A Happy
New Year

Charlie Robinson's
Shell Service

In `Lilo's !Diary' Richard Liman
Exposes Another Holocaust

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REMEMBER TO

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UN 4-9821

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New Year Greetings

Holiday Best Wishes

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TO

THE BLOOD BANK

Season's Greetings

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS
Friday, September 20, 1968-59

NEW YEAR GREETINGS

MADORA
Sportswear, Inc.

1025 Brush
WO 5-0724

Hyman Blunienstein

Happy Holiday

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Since 1897

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TE 1-9450

-

Happy New Year

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I Prompt Service on All Repairs

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HAPPY NEW YEAR

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Northland Glass &
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NEW YEAR GREETINGS

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Rosh Hashana Greetings

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