Friday, September 23, 2011

THE FIRST DESCENT INTO THE GATES OF HELL- Part 1 A Century of Civil Rights is Undone in a Moment

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There is an interesting problem in the Biblical plague of the frogs. Moses is told to bring up “the frogs” yet when he stretches out his staff only one frog comes out:  VaTa’al Hatzefardea —The frog came up.(Exodus 8:b). While the simple meaning of the text is to use a singular to designate a group the wording leaves itself to further imagination. Thus  in the Talmud  Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah commented, “There was one frog who croaked and the rest came after him.”
My father, a student of the Talmud, expanded upon it.  Hitler was the one frog of history who opened his mouth and thousands of frogs answered his call. Where hatred had been sown for centuries by Christian preachers it remained planted in the hearts of men. It took only one frog to bring it out.
What a plague to befall on Jews, on Europe, and finally back on to the Germans themselves! Keep in mind that when my father wrote his doctoral thesis in 1926, on the threat to democracy, he referred to Mussolini and Lenin and ignored Hitler completely. Yet within six years, Hitler had taken over the reins of power. How else to understand him other  than as a plague of one frog that unleashed all the ugly frogs.
Einstein left Berlin for the United States, and my father  continued his studies in Berlin  at the Hochschule(or Lehranstalt) f├╝r die Wissenschaft des Judentums under Rabbi Leo Baeck .
By January, 1933, Hitler had manipulated the conservative parties into joining forces with him and he had become the Chancellor of Germany. The leaders of the conservative parties—the Junkers, the military, the major industrialists-- thought that they would be able to control him as a bulwark against the socialists and communists. Little did they realize that they had brought up the plague of frogs and soon the plague of death on all.