Rabbi Wein: The Newest Holocaust Deniers

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berel weinBy Rabbi Berel Wein

I rarely if ever comment or disagree with pronouncements or public statements of other rabbis. These are people who are driven to publicity and even sensationalism and I never feel inclined to spoil their fun. However, every so often there comes along a rabbinic pronouncement so outrageous and damaging that even my reticent nature forces me to respond.

A rabbi is reported in public print and electronic media to have claimed that only one million Jews died in the Holocaust and that because of assimilation and intermarriage, the other approximately five million victims were not “real” Jews.

This claim is outrageous on numerous grounds – certainly in outlook but moreover in the sheer stupidity of not realizing the harm that such a statement by a rabbi can have in today’s anti-Jewish and anti- Israeli world. The rate of Jewish intermarriage in pre-World War II in Eastern Europe was relatively small – probably less than five percent. Even amongst the Communist Jews in Russia, the intermarriage rate before the war was low and only grew substantially later as a result of the war itself.

Thus, the three million Polish Jews, the million Jews of Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine were all Jewish even by any stretch of halachic exclusionary stringencies. The Jews of Slovakia, Hungary, Bohemia, and Romania were more assimilated but not in the main intermarried. One has to remember that intermarriage requires two to tango and in anti-Semitic pre-World War II Europe, the non-Jews were loath to marry Jews even if the Jews were unfortunately willing to do so.

So the overwhelming majority of people whom the Nazis considered Jewish were in fact, halachically and in every other way Jewish. And that number is far closer to six million than one million.

It has been well established in Jewish tradition that Jews who are killed simply because they are Jews are considered holy martyrs no matter what the level of their religious observance in their lifetime. All Jews killed in the Holocaust were killed simply because they were Jews. Their designation as holy martyrs cannot be taken away from them by current political correctness in certain sections of Orthodoxy.

The rule of: “A Jew who sins is nevertheless still considered a Jew,” remains inviolate and in force even in today’s fractured Jewish society. Assimilated Jews are still Jews as are Jews who somehow no longer affiliate themselves with Orthodoxy and traditional Jewish ideas and lifestyle.

Kamenev, Lenin’s colleague and a leading Communist leader who was Jewish and an atheist, was purged by Stalin and subjected to a show trial. When being led away to be shot, he muttered to himself Shema Yisrael. All Jews, and especially rabbis, should be very reticent about terming other Jews, no matter what their level of observance may be, as being out of the fold. This is especially true when the people being excluded were martyred simply because they were Jewish. Our motto should always be “A Jew is a Jew. A Jew is a Jew.” For, so it is in Heaven and on earth.

And finally, how does one in the current climate of hatred against our people and state ally one’s self with Abbas, David Irving, the mullahs of Iran and other assorted haters and liars in minimizing, if not even thereby denying the reality of the Holocaust?

Even if what the rabbi said had some truth to it, which it does not, why the publicity and the notoriety? Are there no opinions that somehow can remain bottled up within rabbinic minds and stomachs? Where is common sense and Jewish loyalty? The statement of one instead of six million is the classical man bites dog story that the media constantly hungers for.

Maybe the rabbi was naïve enough not to realize this, but we were long ago warned in Avot that “Wise men should be very careful with their words.” Silence is truly golden and sensationalist opinions and statements can only cause harm to all concerned. I have received emails from different types of Jews in different parts of the world asking my opinion about this rabbi’s comments about the Holocaust.

Apparently they think me to be some sort of expert on the matter, which I am not. However, their writing to me made me think that a response is truly necessary to this new and strange form of what can be termed rabbinic Holocaust denial. This article and my thoughts on this matter are the result. It is too damaging a matter to be left unanswered and unrefuted.

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  1. Thank you Matzav for continuing your character assassination
    You all have a special place in Gehenom waiting for you.
    YOUR website is apublic forum where you can keep spreading your Lashon Hara. Keep it up

  2. Well said! Everyone should be careful what they say- ALL THE MORE SO a public speaker ans a Rabbi. There is no excuse to say whatever comes to mind, and not think it thru

  3. Yasher Koach Rabbi Wein. to Josh #1-the only one spreading Lashon Hora and “character assassination” is your speaker who has slandered Holocaust victims, disabled people, women and a host of others. Shame on him and on you for giving him cover.

  4. Here is the problem.. You are continuing to incite the average moron reader. YOU have Jewish blood on your hands. Is that what you are hoping for?

  5. This stuff is great.

    Question. Why did you not ask the Rabbi to remove the video and apologize before they brought it to the public? Even thereafter, why did you meddled in a Rabbinic affair?
    What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander!

  6. why is everyone ganging up on the rabbi? when i first heard the story, i was sure this was something that he recently said in one of his lectures. then it turns out that this was said in a lecture going back over 2 years ago! so that clearly shows that someone was digging up “dirt” on him for obviously ulterior motives. if you try hard enough you can find “dirt” on everyone—even rabbi wein. why not concentrate on the good that he has done in the kiruv dept? how much kiruv has rabbi wein done lately? why don’t we just leave the guy alone? he might have made a mistake in the calculations…..but he’s already apologized for it. what more do we want from him……his firstborn??? come on…on to other (more important) issues.

  7. There is no excuse to ruin a persons life for things he said even if it’s in a public forum!!

    He can be spoken to and guided not attacked. He says rash things to captivate his audiences and is only a Baal Teshuva for a number of years.
    He’s a very receptive person and is someone who isn’t diseased where he can’t be rectified.
    We all have faults and do things we shouldn’t yet we ask Hashem to forgive us time and time again.

    Can’t we forgive him as well?
    Or do WE need to be the ones to beg for forgiveness for doing the unjust of ruining a persons whole life and career??

    He’s a person that gave up a job that was paying him a lot more money than most of us make yet he gave it up to promote Yiddishkeit and give others the opportunity to become Frum like he himself did. Did we do as much for Ribbono Shell Olam as he did?

  8. Who promoted this whole concept of the holocaust?

    What does it mean for us if 6 million Jews died?

    Why do we care if people deny it?

    Wasn’t it a message from Hashem to do something? Maybe Teshuva maybe more Torah?
    I’m not a novi and I don’t know what Hashem wanted from us specifically but why does it bother us if the number is misquoted?
    Does anyone know the answer???

    I DO!!!
    The people who promoted the holocaust concept as if its something we stand for and represents us is non other than the state of Israel!!!
    Yup they used the holocuast as their “Logo” their marketing strategy! They created this concept of rebuilding the Jewish nation and overcoming this issue that caused the holocaust. They constantly use the line of another holocaust will never happen! Or we will prevent another holocaust from ever happening!
    It’s worse than Chris Christie’s line of “NJ stronger then the storm” what kfira??
    Let’s wake up and realize that the holocaust was a personal message for us yidden and not a message for the rest of the world.

  9. I can’t imagine people defending that type of “mistake”! Either the commenters are really young or extremely callous individuals. Hitler wasnt going to stop if he conquered the middle east. The loshen hara card is stale. Didn’t you realise the Rabbi defamed a huge swath of jews in his comments. Therefore anyone arguing against him are to defend against the besmirching of millions of Jews!

  10. No one is complete. But the “Rabbi” who made that statement about the 1 million Jews is wrong even more than Josh. Rabbi Wein is right on the mark.

  11. I am a nobody, just another yid, but I think that the comments need to be disabled on this and all related articles. The rabbi clearly made a grave mistake and the people defending him need to wake up to this reality (and sorry but his apology didn’t feel real ot complete),

  12. Who are YOU to be judge jury executioner to a Rabbi you never heard or saw. You’re the type of idiot who never goes to any mussar shiur because you find it offensive. Why don’t you crawl back under the rock from which you came? I why did YOU slander a Rav of which you know NOTHING about? Call the Rabbi and ask him Mechila before you kick the bucket.

  13. #4 even if u were right…and youre not…two wrong dont make one right..
    If u repeat what the person you claim is a baal loshon hara and do the same thing…are u any better? Youre just making a fool out of yourself!,in the public, no less!

  14. From where do you take it that you may continue besmirching others u feel didnt do enough teshuva by publicly apologizing?
    Any source the Torah to back that up?

  15. #8.
    So now that gave u permission to do what youre doing?
    What fools u all are…spitting in your own soup.
    Unbelievable scholars here bringing one wrongdoing to justify another.
    Do u know who usually does that? Someone who cant justify their answer ,cuz he has none and is only acting out of hatred…pure and simple! What
    Talmedei chachumim here…not stam!

  16. No Zev.
    It does NOT GIVE YOU THE RIGHT to do anything of this kind.
    Go study hilchos,Loshon hara.
    Dont mix your sour grapes with some elses oranges,…!

  17. I as a boro park frum Jew know a number of very frum looking fellows who are nebech apikorsim big time. They started listening to these types of recordings and had there emunah restored. There are unfortunately not too many gutsy rabbis like him and we need his voice. It’s the anti frum bloggers and footstep organizations trying to tear down the rabbi’s work.

  18. Rabbi Wein seems to ignore or is unaware of the fact that this lecture was given several years ago and only came out now when the Jewish media decided to have a field day with it.
    Anyone even minimally familiar with Sefer Chofetz Chaim knows who the real guilty party is in this case…

  19. So matzav…u nicely left out my text addressing Rabbi Wein…why? Because you have an agenda to besmirch the Holocaust Rabbi ?
    You are like the N.Y Times…whatever doesnt suit you, u omit and dont allow the public to see it as it is..to let ALL the feelings pass through. Its ok to besmirch the Holocaust Rabbi on your website, but its not O.k. to ask Rabbi Wein why he is doing the same?
    Shame on you.

  20. Dear Rabbi Wein…
    The laws of moitza shem ra apply to all…the laws of Loshon Hara apply to all.
    If someone has an issue with someone, call them personally….
    I know which Rabbi I would take my guidance from, thats for sure…
    And now Matzav…let me see you omit my message so u can justify what the Holocaust Rabbi said, that you are all a vehicle for gossip…but gossip that suits your own agenda…and you pick and choose whatever gosdsp u decide is ok.. like the Holocaust Rabbi is ok…but Rabbi Wein hurting someone online doesnt apply.
    BTW…I’m not a baal teshuva,but Rabbi M has changed my life around…I am just a simple chassidish female looking to grow spiritually……noticing pure hypocrisy, if ever I saw one!


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