The fifteen essays in I Will Be Sanctified: Religious Responses to the Holocaust serve as an introduction to the manner in which religious Jews attempt to contend with the Holocaust, and how Jewish thought grapples with the issues raised. Translated from Hebrew, all of the selections in this collection with the exception of an introductory essay by Rabbi Sha'ar Yashuv Cohen, the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, were written by students who combine traditional talmudic studies with service in the Israel Defense Forces. The essays are intended for those who seek to gain a basic understanding of the Holocaust as it is addressed by traditional Judaism, as well as for those who alredy have a firm knowledge of the sources and halakhic issues under discussion. Much attention is focused on the concept of Kiddush Hashem (martydom on account of faith). Among the topics explored are the "Manifestations of Divine Providence in the Gloom of the Holocaust," "Risking One's Life in Theory and Practice," " Kiddush Hashem on Sabbaths and Holidays in the Holocaust," "Religious Life in the Lodz Ghetto," "The Killing of an Individual to Save the Community," "The Heroism of Masada and the Martyrs of the Holocaust," and "Permission to Descrate the Sabbath to Save a Person in Danger of Spiritual Destruction." In a 1994 speech, Rabbi Israel Lau, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, stated that the writing of books about the Holocaust is of increased importance and urgency in the present generation, which has seen the rise of revisionist historians, even while there are still people walking around with numbers tattooed in their arms. He said, "the very remembrance of the Holocaust is an actual commandment." It is hoped that this volume will serve as a path of remembrance and a way of honoring the memory of the victims in addition to offering insight into traditional halakhic principles as they are applied to unprecedented situations, all of which were matters of life and death.
by Rabbi Yehezkel Fogel