Rabbi Yehoshua Alt
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R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.
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Predicting the Holocaust
In the plague of חשך, darkness, we see connections to the Holocaust. The Jews who didn’t want to leave Mitzrayim to go to Eretz Yisrael died in the plague of darkness. Similarly, we know that in the 1930s, Jews were offered to go to Eretz Yisrael, based on the Haavara Agreement. Many, however, declined.
In connection with the plague of darkness, it is written ויהי חשך על ארץ מצרים וימש חשך, there will be darkness upon Mitzrayim, and the darkness will become darker. Let us look at the letters above (על) the letters ofוימש : above ו is ה, above י is ט, above מ is ל, and above ש is ר. Astoundingly, these letters spell הטלר, Hitler ימ”ש! Another correlation is that 12 of 15 million people died in חשך. But that was וימש—double darkness. Half of 12 million is six million, the number of those who perished in the Holocaust.
The Meshech Chochma (1843-1923) writes what seems like a prophecy: “Those people [Jews] who think Berlin is Jerusalem…will see those very people [Germans] rise up like a storm wind [to destroy them].” We all know what happened.
In the memoirs of R’ Mazah we find a record of a talk given by the Maggid of Kelm that took place more than 60 years before the Holocaust:
The German will not prosecute the Jew with ordinary persecutions. When he rises to power, he won’t just oppress the Jews, but rather he will make the hatred of the Jews like a Shulchan Aruch, code of law. Because of the sin of Geiger [founder of the reform movement in Germany], a new, German version of the Shulchan Aruch is going to arise against the Jewish people and there it will be written—the only thing to do with even the best Jew is kill him!
R’ Shlomo Wolbe cites in the name of R’ Yisrael Salanter (1810-1883) that in return for the “Reform Shulchan Aruch,” which permits intermarriage with the Gentiles, the day will come when the Gentiles will write a Shulchan Aruch of their own, which will forbid them to marry Jews.
The enslavement in Mitzrayim didn’t begin until all the שבטים died. Upon hearing of the death of R’ Baruch Ber Liebowitz in 1939, the Chazon Ish closed himself up in a room and was heard sobbing passionately, “Until now the pure and holy Torah study of R’ Boruch Ber and R’ Shimon Shkop protected our people from the Nazis. Now, who knows what will be.” It wasn’t too long after (in 1939) that the Nazis came.
In the winter of 1930 before preparing to leave the yeshiva and return to America, a student came to receive a farewell blessing from the Chofetz Chaim. In the course of the conversation, the Chofetz Chaim murmured, “Twelve million was child’s play. Only in another ten years will the thing really begin.” He repeated this until the young man realized what was actually being said. The reference was to the twelve million people who had been killed or wounded in World War One. Almost 10 years later (1939) World War Two unleashed its fury.
R’ Michoel Ber Weissmandl (1903-1957) tells of a discussion he had with his rebbe, R’ Shmuel Dovid Ungar, in 1931. R’ Ungar was offered the post of Rav in Tirnau, which he refused, and instead remained with his yeshiva at Nitra. When R’ Weissmandl pressed him to reconsider, he answered, “My heart tells me that the time is near when there won’t be a yeshiva anywhere except Nitra, and I want to be there.” Ten years later, when all the yeshivos of Slovakia were destroyed and only Nitra remained, R’ Weissmandl remembered this prophetic moment with his teacher.
When Hitler rose to power in 1933, the Ponovitcher Rav, R’ Yosef Shlomo Kahanemen, asked the Chofetz Chaim what the fate of their brothers in Germany and Poland would be, since Hitler had publicly declared that he aimed to wipe out the name of Israel. The Chofetz Chaim replied that Hitler wouldn’t succeed, as no one had ever succeeded in uprooting and destroying our entire people. As in אם יבוא עשו אל המחנה האחת והכהו והיה המחנה הנשאר לפליטה, if Esav comes to the one camp and strikes it down, then the remaining camp shall survive. The Ponovitcher Rav then asked that if the enemy were to succeed in annihilating European Jewry—the quantitative and qualitative majority of the Jewish people—which camp would escape and survive. The reply: This is explicitly written in ובהר ציון תהיה פליטה והיה קדש וירשו בית יעקב את מורשיהם, on Mount Tzion there will be refuge, and it will be holy, and the house of Yaakov will inherit those who dispossessed them.
The Ponovitcher Rav left the Chofetz Chaim, trembling over the imminent destruction of European Jewry, but his heart was sure that our Holy Land would be spared. And so it was. Over the entrance to the Ponovitch Yeshiva, which he subsequently founded in Bnei Brak, the pasuk (Ovadia 1:17) quoted by the Chofetz Chaim was inscribed.
Tracing the ancestry of Haman, we find that he is a descendant of Amalek, who descends from Esav. What are we told about Esav? The Midrash compares him to a pig. When a pig lies down, it stretches forth its hooves—which are split and therefore have a kosher sign—as if to say, “I am pure.” Esav and his descendants act the same way. The Germans are known to have been very nice on the outside. We now know how they were on the inside.
Reading through the Megila, we notice that Hashem’s name isn’t found. Why? Because He was hidden. This is just as many felt Hashem was hidden during the Holocaust. The Gemara says about גרממיא, a province of Edom (Esav), that if they were to go forth unrestrained, they would destroy the entire world. R’ Yaakov Emden writes that this refers to Germany. It is no wonder that this Gemara is found in Mesachta Megila, the Gemara about Purim in which Haman, a descendant of Amalek, also wanted to wipe us out.
 Shemos 10:22, 13:18, Rashi. This was the only plague in which Jews died. Four-fifths of the Jewish people died in the plague of darkness. This is hinted to in והוצאתי אתכם, I will take you out from Mitzrayim (Shemos 6:6), as it has a trop called מונח רביעי. That is to say, only one-fifth will be spared and taken out of Mitzrayim.
 This agreement, between Nazi Germany and Zionist German Jews, was signed on August 25, 1933.
 Shemos 10:21.
 It is also fascinating to note what was found encoded in the Torah. In the words ויצא נח (Breishis 8:18) we find the word נאצי—Nazi. Next, if we write down every 31st letter in Breishis 8:19-21, we find that they spell the name Hitler: הארץ…לה’…הטהור…הניחח…ה
 See 10:21, Rashi.
 Bechukosai 26:44. The following is a letter that is said to have come from the Abarbenel (1437-1508) that some contend was a prediction of the Holocaust: (מצמיח ישועה פ”ז הובא בהקדמה לשו”ת תולדות עם ישראל) וְזֹאת קַבָּלָה הִיא מִפִּי הַנְּבִיאִים שֶׁהַזְּמַן הָאֲמִתִּי וְהָאַחֲרוֹן שֶׁאֵין עָלָיו אַחֲרוֹן, בְּעִתּוֹ, יִהְיֶה בַּמִּלְחָמָה הַיּוֹתֵר נוֹרָאָה שֶׁתִּהְיֶה בָּעוֹלָם לְמִן הַיּוֹם אֲשֶׁר נִבְרָא, בְּעִיר אַחַת מִמְּדִינוֹת הַמַּעֲרָב יַעֲמֹד רָשָׁע אֶחָד מוֹשֵׁל בְּאַף וְחֵמָה, וְצִוֻיוֹ יִהְיוּ לְהַשְׁמִיד וּלְאַבֵּד אֶת שׂוֹנְאֵיהֶם שֶׁל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַד גְּמִירָא בְּלִי גְּמוּל, וְעַם יִשְׂרָאֵל יִהְיֶה אָז בְּצָרָה גְדוֹלָה שֶׁבַע שָׁנִים, וְיֵצֵא בְּמִלְחָמָה לִכְבֹּש אֶת כָּל הָעוֹלָם, וְהָרָשָׁע יַכְנִיעַ כָּל הָעוֹלָם לְכַף רַגְלוֹ מְדִינָה אַחַר מְדִינָה, וְעַל זֶה נֶאֱמַר “וְהָיָה הַנִּשְׁאָר בְּצִיּוֹן וְהַנּוֹתָר בִּירוּשָׁלִַם קָדוֹשׁ יֵאָמֶר לוֹ”, וְעַל מִלְחָמָה זוֹ נִבָּא בִּלְעָם “אוֹי מִי יִחְיֶה מִשֻּׁמוֹ אֵל”, בְּעֵת שֶׁיַּעֲמֹד רָשָׁע בָּעוֹלָם וּשְׁמוֹ וְשֵׁם אִמּוֹ מְרֻמָּז בָּאוֹתִיּוֹת אֵ”ל, [אַ דּוֹלף לַ אטִי שר”י ] סִטְרָא דִּקְדֻשָּׁה בְּצֵרוּף סִטְרָא אַחֲרָא, וְהִיא מִלְחֶמֶת גּוֹג וּמָגוֹג, וִינַצֵּחַ נִצָּחוֹן עַד אֲשֶׁר יָבֹא לְאַרְעָא קַדִּישָׁא, לְאַרְעָא דְּיִשְׂרָאֵל.”
 4, p. 154.
 Bein Sheishes Leasor, p. 78.
 Biography of R’ Baruch Ber, first edition, 1987, p. 88.
 This is just as it says מפני הרעה נאסף הצדיק, because of the impending evil the righteous one dies (Yeshaya 57:1). An example of this is Avraham dying so as not to see Esav set out on bad ways (Breishis 25:30).
 Chofetz Chaim Al Hatorah, Kedoshim, p. 165, מעשי למלך.
 In his work מן המצר, p. 42. R’ Yosef Chaim Zonnenfeld avoided taking part in the official reception for the German Kaiser when he visited Yerushalayim in 1899.
 Breishis 32:9.
 Ovadia 1:17.
 Chofetz Chaim Al Hatorah, Vayishlach, 32:9.
 Breishis 26:34, Rashi.
 See the Malbim to Breishis 20:11.
 Megila 6a-b. The Gemara continues there that they had 300 crowned princes. This matches up with Germany, since by the end of the Middle Ages—which had seen Britain and France emerge as unified nations—Germany remained a crazy patchwork of 300 individual states (The rise and fall of the Third Reich, p121, W.L. Shirer).
 See also the Gra in Yoma 10a, Tiferes Yisrael to Negaim 2:1, and Eliyahu Rabba there. The following has been said about the Nazis who just followed commands in the Holocaust: Rashi (Shemos 11:5) tells us that the sons of slavewomen were smitten by makkas bechoros because they would also work the Jews as slaves and שמחים בצרתם, rejoice at their distress. The Gur Aryeh is bothered why they too were punished, since they had been forced to do this as it was the command of their masters. Doesn’t the Gemara says that אונס רחמנא פטריה, one who is coerced, is exempt (Baba Kamma 25b)? Since they were שמחים בצרתם, rejoicing at their distress, as Rashi says, it was as if they weren’t forced, because one who is forced to do something isn’t happy when he does it. This is similar to what the Ramban (Breishis 15:14) explains why the Egyptians were punished for subjugating the Jews, although Hashem had decreed this from the outset. It was because they increased on the evil done to the Jews from their own wickedness.