Moshe Flinker was a sixteen year-old Jewish boy whose family had fled from Holland to Belgium in an attempt to avoid deportation to the east. During this period of hiding and flight, Moshe was no longer able to go to school or to engage in the activities of normal life. In an attempt to stave off idleness, he decided to begin keeping a diary.
Moshe used his diary to record the experiences that his family faced in their struggle to endure Nazi persecution. He also wrestled continuously with the question of why this suffering had befallen the Jewish people. On November 30, 1942 he wrote,
“Now I return to the question mentioned above and its solution: what can God mean by all that is befalling us and by not preventing it from happening? This raises a further question, which must be settled before we can proceed further with the main problem. This second question is whether our distress is part of the anguish that has afflicted the Jewish people since the exile, or whether this is different than all that has occurred in the past. I incline to the second answer, for I find it very hard to believe that what we are going through today is only a mere link in a long chain of suffering.”
Moshe was a deeply religious young man and he sought to understand his present circumstances in the light of biblical history. He looked for insight from the persecutions of the past and longed for God’s promised redemption of the Jewish people. He believed that this deliverance would come when the conditions were right, both in the severity of persecution and in the responses of the victims. Much of his diary was dedicated to this type of analysis. He concluded his November 30th entry with these words, “…I should like to pray to the Lord of Israel that He may fulfill in the near future the prayer: ‘Return us unto thee, O Lord, and we shall return; renew our days as of old.’
You may read an entry from Moshe’s diary here.
November 6, 2014 at 6:00 PM
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