THE JEWISH NEWS
Incorporating The Detroit Jewish Chronicle commencing with issue of July 20, 1951
Member American Association of English—Jewish Newspapers. Michigan Press Association, National Editorial
Published. every. Friday by The Jewish News Publishing Co., 17100 West Seven Mlle Road, Detroit, Mich. 48235.
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Editor and Publisher
CARMI M. SLOMOVITZ
Sabbath Scriptural Selections
This Sabbath, the 20th day of Shevat, 5729, the following scriptural selections
will be read in our synagogues:
Pentateuchal portion, Ex. 18:1-20:23. Prophetical portion, Isaiah 6:17-7:6; 9:5-6.
Candle lighting, Friday, Feb. 7, 5:35 p.m.
VOL. LIV. No. 21
February 7, 1969
An End to Silence!
It takes a calamity to get action. It took a Holocaust to arouse people from dreams
and lethargy. It took the horrors of the 1930s and 1940s to brand the generation of World
War II as having been silent in time of trouble, of having ignored the agonies which began
to be known even long before the Kristalnacht of 1938 and the destruction of synagogues
and Jewish business places in Germany.
If we are still smarting from accusations that we were silent 30 years ago, let it be a
lesson to us that if there is not to be another Auschwitz people must assert themselves in
protest against indignities, threats to the lives of our kinsmen wherever they may be or
whatever the color of their skins.
The time of silence has ended!
Just as we asserted in June of 1967 that "Shenit Matzada lo Tipol"—that "Masada shall
not fall again!"—so do we now reiterate that there shall not be another Dachau or Buchen-
wald or Treblinka or Auschwitz!
Jonah Daniel Koheleth, Esther
Analyzed by Prof. Bickerman
There is danger on many fronts, and the danger to Israel is especially threatening.
The ancient Land of Israel whose name—Eretz Israel—was never altered even when it was
called Palestine—is a small claim to the right of the Jewish people -to a place of security
for the millions who have escaped persecutions in many lands and who have ended their
homelessness by re-establishing the land whence came our ancestral foundations and on
the soil of which there developed our faith, inspiring two other major religious denomina-
The little Land of Israel does not speak for the Jews of the world. But when Jews
are hounded, oppressed, murdered as Jews as they were in Baghdad and Basra, Israel
shares with Jews of the free world the responsibility to make itself heard in defense of the
Those of us who enjoy citizenship in the free world share that duty with Israel—just
as we have a sacred responsibility never to be silent when Israel's status is endangered.
It is the world at large that owes a debt to ascertain that horrors such as were en-
acted in Iraq should neither be repeated nor ever tolerated. But the world was silent! Ap-
peals for aid to the helpless Jews of Iraq and those accused of espionage were made by
world Jewish organizations weeks before the mob was unleashed after brutal hangings.
There must be an end to such silence!
There is silence on too vast a sphere in the world. When Jewish civilians and travel-
ers from Israel were attacked, with resulting loss of life, there was silence. When several
planes were destroyed as warnings that murderous acts against Jews will not be tolerated.
there was a worldwide cry of despair. Spiritual leaders share blame for condoning what
had happened and for assaults on the sovereignty and security of Israel. The time has
come for an end to double standards and two sets of morality in the world—one for
Israel, marked by heartless condemnations, and another for Israel's enemies, imbedded
in crocodile tears and refusal to face realities.
It is true that we must take into consideration the warning of General Moshe Dayan:
"We must keep in mind the dancing mob in the market places of Baghdad and Basra
when we think about the fate of 2,500,000 Jews surrounded by 100,000,000 Arabs."
It is such a danger, from mobs that have not learned right from wrong, who clamor
for blood, that emphasizes the responsibility of world Jewry to protect the lives of a
small community that is in constant peril.
The spontaneous demonstration of solidarity by Jewish communities in many lands
have indicated during the past few days that there is no intention on the part of the kins-
men of the martyred Jews in Moslem countries to stay aloof from their responsibilities of
coming to the aid of the persecuted.
Perhaps the inhumanities of the Arab leaders who have led their peoples to a state
of utter barbarism, of beastly acts that marked the howling for blood by an infuriated
mob of 500,000 who acted like cannibals in Baghdad's square, will serve to awaken the
misled antagonists of Israel who have become allies in an effort to destroy Israel and in
the process to exterminate an entire people. There is an awakening to realities that will
not condone mass murders, a return to genocide, bestialites that can lead only to the
degradation of mankind.
There are good, kindly, conscientious Christians who are deeply concerned that there
should be an end to prejudice, a cessation of persecutions, and that a halt should be called
to barbarities like those that were perpetrated last week.
But there is cause for resentment over the failure of the United Nations to act when
Jewish spokesmen asked for an investigation of the conditions under which Jews in Mos-
lem countries live in a state of terror.
Is it too late?
It was not too late when a Kremlin-Cairo-Baghdad-Beirut-Amman cabal acted in de-
fiance of human decencies to order a reproof of Israel's treatment of Arabs but refused to
include an investigation of conditions of Jews in Moslem countries!
It was affirmed then and we reaffirm now that the situation in Israel is an open
book, that Israel cooperated with the Red Cross in providing succor for Arabs, that the
standard of living of the Arabs is highest in Israel, that Arabs in Israel can travel freely
—that Israel does not impose a death penalty even on the most criminal of the Arab
In view of established facts, the United Nations stands condemned for inactivity!
Nearly a million: Jews have been expelled from Moslem countries, they were robbed
of their possessions, they were driven out of countries in which they claimed pride of citi-
zenship much longer than the Arabs themselves. The several thousand who survived there,
whose lot is one of terror and insecurity, must be rescued! Israel offers them a home!
Let there be a concerted effort to reunite them with their spiritual kinsmen! Let that, at
Prof. Elias Bickerman of Columbia University applies his knowl-
edge of Jewish history of ancient times and his authority as a student
of the Bible with skill in delineating Jonah, Daniel, Koheleth and
Esther, in his enlightening work, "Four Strange Books of the Bible,"
published by Schocken Books.
It is an enlightening work, enlivened by numerous illustrations, and
it creates a keener interest in the four books under discussion among
Bible lovers. •
Jonah as a popularly known figure, whose story is told in a short
book of 48 verses, is described as the hero of a most absorbing short
story, as part of a sermonizing theme, of a plot with a solution that
keeps the reader in suspense.
Jonah is the unwilling prophet, the friend of Israel, the interpreter
of the will of God the omnipotent and merciful.
By drawing upon the attitudes of the Church Fathers and of
higher biblical criticism, Prof. Bickerman provides students of the
Bible with means of viewing the Jonah story, as he does the others,
from the viewpoint of both Jewish and Christian scholarship.
In his approach to Daniel we have "The Fulfilled Prophecy," of the
Four Kings and the Fort Empires and, of course, of the handwriting on
the wall. And there is, of course, the story of Daniel in the lions' den
; that has become part of the best known fables.
With regard to the handwriting on the wall, the nikkor 'states:
"Daniel, as Byron says, 'saw that writing's truth.' Josephus and then
the church father Hippolytus believed that the pagan soothsayers could
not find out the meaning of 'God's characters.' This agrees with the
generally popular idea that spirits have their own kind of writing. But
the inspired Daniel could read and understand it. 'And this is the writ-
ing that was inscribed: Mn mn tkl uprsin! . . . Daniel reads the words
as passive verbs and gives the interpretation: 'God has numbered thy
kingdom, weighed art thou and found wanting, thy kingdom is divided
and given to the Medes and the Persians.'. . . The divine weighing
decides the balance of history. . . . In fact, Daniel's speech is a sermon
on the danger of pride . . ."
Daniel's emergence alive from the lions' den is an ordeal described
as "a test of innocence."
Daniel was the prophet of salvation, of the reign of peace and the
overthrow of tyranny of his time. Thus Daniel's visions are assigned to
the time of Antiochus Epiphanes.
Koheleth (Ecclesiastes) is dealt with as "The Philosophy of an
Acquisitive Society." It is described as a religious book: "Of its 222
verses, 122 are quoted in rabbinic sources. Koheleth is a God-fear-
ing man who is certain that we cannot enjoy the pleasures of the
life he celebrated except by God's grace, or either, upon Elohim's
"Koheleth," Prof. Bickerman further explains, "is a sage who in
an age of investment reaches not dissipation, but the enjoyment of
wealth. Addressing affluent hearers, his theme is the meaning of toil for
the rich man."
"The Scroll of Esther" or "Esther and Mordecai" deals with the
plots, the harem intrigue, Vashti, Haman, Ahasuerus, Esther and Mor-
decai and the staff in the king's palace. Haman is the New Amalek, and
therefore the Tora reading on the Sabbath before Purim in synagogues
t is about the destruction of Amalek, Deut. 25:17.
The Purim tale is enlivened in this analysis, and the resort to the
theme in various countries and eras is explained.
Prof. Bickerman points out that the Book of Esther was condemned
by Luther who in his "Table Talk" said his opposition to II Maccabees
and Esther was because "they judaize too much and have too much of
Other occasions of attacks upon the Book of Esther are mentioned.
!It was part of fault-finding with the Bible by theologians of the Auf-
klaerung. But Prof. Bickerman states: "As a matter of fact, there is no
revenge in Esther. As all earlier commentators saw, the Jews did not
use royal power `to inaugurate a pbgrom against their enemies; nor did
they carry out' against their enemies the massacre which had been
least, be a way of international atonement for inexcusable crimes!
planned against the Jews."
And while this is done, let there be an end to the abuse heaped upon Israel! Let
The Greek version of Esther is analyzed to present additional inter-
pretation of the theme of the rescue of Jews from oppressors.
To that end we, in the Diaspora, say now: "Shenit Matzada lo Tipol!" Masada shall
Use of German enlightenment commentaries, Christian attitudes,
not fall again! Never again is an Auschwitz to be tolerated in a world that must emerge Jewish
interpretations, lend significance to the scholarly work that
-;free of tyranny and barbarism!- • - -
marks the explanatory text of "F
Sitange Books &Alin Bible."