Christianity and Earthly Problems of Israel (1942)

On the 14th of May, 1941, Jewish men between the ages of 18 and 40 were called to present themselves to the Paris police.  – The First Wave of Arrests in France: May 1941


The following book was published in 1942 but written in France in 1941.






Judaism is inadequately treated if one considers it only from an intellectual or spiritual aspect, as a doctrine or a religious life. Israel is a concrete and present (and shall we say con­spicuous ?) reality. As Montefiore said : in Judaism ” a universal creed is wedded to a nationalist embodiment.” This mixture constitutes the originality of Judaism. When the racial tie is broken and Judaism conceived of as simply a “ religion,” then the essentially Jewish element in the Jewish belief disappears. As an earthly community, Israel has its acute earthly problems.1 What should be**the Christian attitude towards these earthly problems of Israel ?

To-day, as in biblical times, Israel may be seen in two conditions : dispersed among the Gentiles, and settling in the land of Promise. All Israel’s earthly problems refer to one or the other of these two situations, to the Exile or to the re-building of Zion. We shall now consider the first group of problems, i.e., those centred on the Jewish notion of Galuth (exile, dispersion, diaspora).

Most of the “ enlightened ” minds of the 18th and 19th centuries, either Jewish or Gentile, thought that the general ideas which triumphed with the French Revolution could afford a simple and reasonable solution of the problems of Israel in exile. This solution, secular and liberal, was expressed in three magical words : emancipation, equality of rights, assimilation. Let the Jews keep in touch with the times ; let them acquire the manners and aspirations of the nations among whom they dwell; let all avenues of political life and social intercourse with their Gentile neighbours be open to them ; then the distinctions will, little by little, be abolished and the problems of the exile will vanish. Such were the ideals of the German Haskalah movement of which Mendelssohn, Hartwig Wesely, Daniel Itzig and the Friendlanders became the proto­types and sponsors. The “ Edict of Tolerance ” of the Emperor Joseph II (Toleranzpatent, 1782) constituted the first step in that direction.

  • See A. Ruppin, The Jews in the Modern World, London, 1934 J J- Parkes, The Jewish Problem in the Modem World, London, 1939.


The decisions of the French National Assembly (1790) and later of Napoleon (decree of 1806, establishment of the Sanhedrin in 1807, Madrid decree of 1812) effected more for the Jewish emancipation in Europe than had been accomplished during the three preceding centuries. In England the disabilities which affected the Jews were removed by the bills of 1845, 1846, 1870 and 1890. Liberal circles everywhere cherished the hope that Jewry as a distinct social entity having disappeared, there would remain only Englishmen, Frenchmen and Germans ” of the Jewish (or still better : Mosaic) persuasion.”

Now, while making full allowance for the core of human justice contained in the ideals of emancipation and equal rights, we do not think that this “ secular and liberal ” view was an adequate approach to the problems of the Jewish diaspora. First, this solution did not work in practice as was hoped : in the last decade it has even proved to be a lamentable failure. Moreover, from a Christian standpoint, a purely secular solution of the Jewish problem will always remain deficient. The Jewish problem is a theological problem and ought to be handled by us as such. We can solve it only in the light of the Scripture and under the guidance of the Spirit. We think it a grave defect that so many Christian writers on this question, including bishops and other clergy, take a secular and superficial view of it. The Christian has something to say as a Christian on the practical problems of Jewry. And the Jews. have no reason to fear that they will lose by the Christians’ repudiation of the humanitarian background. The truly Christian solution of the Jewish diaspora problems will be deeper and give much more to the Jews than the humanitarian one.

The first task of a Christian approach to the problems of the Galuth* will be an exact conception of this term, so rich in temporal and spiritual meaning : The Jewish community.

*Galut [Hebrew: “exile”, “diaspora”, “captivity”], in the history of Jews, a period of deprivation of statehood and of life under foreign rule, particularly the life of Jews outside Palestine, and today — outside Israel.

Hebraism insists on the Hebrew nation as the mediating term between God and the individual. For the Greek, it is enough to find the One in the many, and the nation is not associated with any values higher than language, culture, political institutions. The Jewish tradition, following the Bible, takes an opposite view. According to this tradition, the words “ community of Israel ” mean not merely the concrete- empirical people of Israel, but the people of Israel in connexion with the Shekinah.1 The phrase ” The community of Israel came down to earth,”[1] for instance, must be understood of God, as synonymous and associated with His people.

  • See the glossary of the vol. Ill of the edition of the Zohar by Simon and Sperling and the appendix to vol. V.


One may speak of God qua ” the Holy King ” or qua “ the community of Israel.” Some rabbinic sayings on the subject are very illuminating : “ He who helps Israel helps God ” ; “ He who opposes Israel opposes God ” ; “He who blesses Israel blesses God ” ; “ He who hates Israel hates God.”[2] Or : “ As long as Israel does His will, God travels far and wide among the nations, and, wherever He alights upon a saintly man among them, He brings him forthwith into Israel’s fold.”[3] God feigns deep sleep while Israel is sinning. God is with Israel even in his sin, because he has implanted repentance within him? The Christian will be the last to deny that Israel has been chosen by God as a people. Karl Barth goes so far as to say that the existence of the Jewish “ chosen people ” among all other peoples is the only possible “ natural-theological ” proof of God’s existence.[4]

The community consciousness has been fortified or re­awakened among modern Jews by their trials. It had never disappeared. The Jew has always been the “ island within,” to use the title of a book by Ludwig Lewisohn ; the Jew, as Zangwill once said, is “ everywhere and anywhere, but at home nowhere.” The ghetto certainly was a hideous achievement of oppression and hatred ; but through it the Jews did succeed in keeping up their life as a community ; within this gloomy shelter they found room for study, for charity and for social life. The abolition of the ghetto (nowadays being revived) has never and nowhere resulted in a perfect assimilation of Israel to the Goyim (Gentiles). The community of Israel is still strongly conscious of its separatedness, of its special mentality and of its God-given mission. The German Jewish novelist, Lion Feuchtwanger, said : “ I am convinced that Judaism is not a race, is not a common soil, is not a common way of life, is not a common language. What, then, ‘is Judaism ? I think Judaism is a common mentality. . . ,”[5] In his book ‘ . My Life an German and Jew, Jacob Wasserman describes his search for the answer to the question : What is Judaism ? It is neither a blood nor a confession, then what is it ? And Wasserman answers that it is the consciousness of an election and a mission.

[1] Zohar, Vayikra, 4b.

[1] Abelson, The Immanence of God in Rabbinical Literature, p. 133.

[1] Yalkut on Song of Songs, vi. 2.

6 Kirchliche Dogmatik, I, 2, pp. 566-7.

[1] Quoted by B. Matthews, The Jew and the World Ferment, London, 1934, p. 104.


The Jews, he continues, have called themselves the chosen’People. A conviction so obstinately proclaimed for thousands of years entails quite extraordinary obligations which, the group can never wholly fulfil: hence a state of moral and mental tension whose inevitable discharge results in a catastrophic existence, when appeasement is not obtained in arrogant self-righteousness. We quote these Jewish writers (who, by the way, are not religiously “ orthodox ”) in order to convince the Christian reader that the naive liberal dream of perfect “ assimilation ” will always break itself against the divine fate and destiny of the community of Israel. It is as useless as it is undesirable to try and explain away this community. We must rather help Israel to fulfil its call. As Berdyaev said : “ An ultimate solution of the Jewish problem is possible only on the eschatological plane. Such a solution will coincide with that of universal history. And it will represent the last act in the struggle between Christ and Antichrist. Therefore the problem of universal history cannot be solved without the religious self-determination of Judaism.”1 But this eschatological aspect of the Jewish question must not blind us to its immediate requirements.

We should notice, by the way, that the re-awakening of the Jewish community feeling is so strong that, when the Nazi anti-semites began to deny the Jewish origin of Jesus, many of the Liberal Jews of Germany felt all the more drawn to • Him.

Thus the first task of the Christian, when he considers the problems of Galuth, is to free himself from the “ atomistic ” conception and to see clearly that he has to face, not individual Jews whose assimilation is devoutly to be wished, but the divine hard fact of the total and irreducible Israel. The second task is to understand the nature and causes of Israel’s present sufferings (which are only the latest and acutest forms of a constant pain).

“ I know well this people. They have not on their skin a single spot that is not aching …” wrote Peguy.2 This suffering has been singularly intensified during the last ten years.3 In this time of war (1941), Judaism is persecuted in all countries which have fallen under the domination or influence of the “ Axis Powers.”

  • The Meaning of History, 107.
  • “ Je connais bien ce peuple. Il n’a pas sur la peau un point qui ne soit pas douloureux.” (Notre Jeunesse.)
  • See A. Sachar, Sufferance is the Badge, The few in the Contemporary IVorld, New York, 1939; B. Matthews, Supreme Encounter, London, 1940.


Even France is become the prey of an undiscriminating anti-Jewish madness. The apex of horror has been reached in Germany, Poland and Rumania : burning and closing of synagogues, pogroms, confiscations, ghettos, concentration camps, torture. . . . The times of Antiochus Epiphanes* are being revived, and in a far worse way. Jewish refugees, even in friendly countries, have had also to suffer poverty, strict police restrictions, family separations, deportation and internment abroad. All this is so well known that it is useless to dwell on it.

*Antiochus IV (Epiphanes), the king of Syria, captured Jerusalem in 167 BC and desecrated the Temple by offering the sacrifice of a pig on an altar to Zeus (the Abomination of Desolation).


It may, however, be useful to complete our information Axis anti-semitism has not been the only blow struck at Israel. In the Soviet Union is one of the least known, but most acute problems of modern Judaism. Between 1917 and 1921, the White armies systematically tried to exterminate the Jews, whom they identified with bolshevism : over 1,500 pogroms in more than 900 places resulted in the slaughter of at least 100,000. Jews. In the Soviet dominions, religious education of children is forbidden ; a kosher meal is no longer obtainable ; Zionism has been made a crime ; synagogues have been closed; the Jewish Republic of Birobidjan has generally accepted unbelief. If there is almost no Jewish problem in the Soviet Union, it is because so many Soviet Jews are no more worrying or talking aboutjudaism. “ Russian Jewry has bartered its faith for liberty. … A whole limb is being lopped by the Soviet from the Jewish body.”[6]

Such is the situation of Israel in exile. Why all these sufferings and persecutions ? If we go to the root of the matter, we reach the question of anti-semitism. We have to see the causes of the opposition which Israel never failed to arouse among his own neighbours.[7] And here, again, mere historical or psychological explanations will remain utterly defective if they are not complemented by a theological, or rather a specifically Christian, view of things.

Although modern anti-semitism was born only about 1875, it borrowed most of its arguments from the old Jew hatred. The well-known and ridiculous story of the forgery called The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion shows how the popular mind may readily accept preconceived ideas. The same power of human credulity, when fed by liars and fanatics, is illustrated by the renewal of the “ blood accusation ” in Julius Streicher’s pamphlets.[8] But let us look at some apparently more reasonable accusations.

Greed and money making are often mentioned as Jewish characteristics. Werner Sombart has made the Jews responsible for the worst features of capitalism. R. H. Tawney, J. B. Kraus, A. Fanfani have corrected Sombart’s thesis. Max Weber finds the origins of modern capitalism in Puritanical Calvinism; Labriola, in the accumulation of wealth by the monasteries and Italian banks of the Middle Ages. So ‘the responsibilities seem to be pretty well divided. As to the reputation of usurers which clung to the Jews even up to modern times (e.g., “ The Merchant of Venice ”), there is little evidence of the Jews being especially addicted to it.[9] The legend of Jewish wealth and the Jewish attempt to control world affairs is exploded by statistics ; over against that legend must be set the fact that the majority of the Jews in the world are poor, often very poor, and that one part of the community must save the other from starvation. Now it is true that there exists, between Jews and “ business,” a special connexion, the nature of which is deeper than one generally perceives. The Jewish sociologist, Ruppin, points out that the Jews find in trade and finance this atmo­sphere of risk, uncertainty and hope which they need as a mental stimulus. According to Maritain, bargaining and money operations give to the Jews a kind of “ spiritual ” satisfaction ;• money attracts them in an almost mystical way : through this sign, in this sign, by the multiplied signs of this sign, the highly intellectualist and realist Jew sees that he may become all- powerful. Money is the symbol of omnipotence. It may be, for an unbelieving Jew, the most dangerous “ religious ” temptation and open the way to an “ invested theocracy.”

It has often been argued that the Jews constitute morally and socially a corruptive force. There are, for instance, many Jews in the film industry, the moral quality of which is often low. This is true, but one should bear in mind some of the worst films have been produced by Gentiles ; that some of the best films have been produced by Jews ; and that, after all, the cinema- goers themselves are the real cause for the sources of immoral films. These Jews are not representative of Judaism ; they have, like many Christians, adopted the standards of modern paganism. The German Protestant theologian, 0. Piper (now an exile), makes some very pertinent remarks on this subject.1 The Jews, as such, are no more immoral than any other race. But, by reason of the specific gifts which have been imparted to the Jewish people and have been developed in their history, a Jew who indulges in immoral actions becomes far more dangerous than a non-Jew under the same circumstances.

Another argument is that the Jews are social revolutionaries and should be blamed for Communism. As far as Communism is a system of thought which excludes or denies God, Judaism rejects and opposes it; as far as it means a certain social and economic order, Jews may, even on religious grounds, share its tenets. But Marx was a Jew ! It should be pointed out that Marx was baptized at the age of six, that he was brought up as a Christian, and that, during his whole life, he remained entirely alien to Judaism. Nevertheless, the author of Das Kapital seems to have inherited the passion for social righteousness which is characteristic of the Hebrew prophets.

The Jews are reproached with obstrusiveness and lack of social tact. It is true that quite a number of them often show arrogance and ostentation, but is it not a result of the conditions under which their forbears have for so long been compelled to live ?

The fundamental objection against the Jews is that they are too successful in everything. This somewhat dispropor­tionate success cannot be denied and may irritate the Gentiles. The Jews undoubtedly take a leading part in modern civiliza­tion. One must notice that the special kind of intellect which enables them to do so has been more or less developed, as Piper says, by their constant meditation on the Law. The study of the Torah has created in them a mentality in many respects akin to the rationalism which underlies modern culture. Minds used to fine distinctions and discriminations, and to all the niceties of the Talmud, are bound to excel in science, jurisprudence, trade and organization. Souls filled with the thought of a transcen­dent God and eschatological expectations will express their lofty visions in philosophy or music. The upright sense of justice inherited from the Bible will make of the Jews the passionate champions of the oppressed and the leaders or auxiliaries of all modern revolutions. With their sense of charity they will contribute lavishly to all kinds of causes and appeals. Insisting on the realization in life of an absolute ideal of justice, they are naturally apt to create difficulties for Governments.

  • God in History, New York, 1939.


As a prophetic people (and they are such with intensity), the Jews are essentially extremist and impracticable, always at war with the existing institutions, always demanding more than can be given, always crying in the wilderness, incapable of acquiescing in half attainments.

John Macmurray rightly emphasizes the fact that this stream of restlessness cannot be isolated or localized. The Jews have, willingly or unwillingly, become a universal community, in the sense that they permeate the whole world. Israel, though self- sufficient and separated, is immanent in all the Christian Churches and nations of the earth. ” Hitler’s declaration that the Jewish consciousness is poison to the Aryan races is the deepest insight that the Western world has yet achieved into its own nature. … It is the hidden penetration of the Jewish spirit into the Gentile mind that is the danger ; and it is a danger because the ‘ Aryan ’ mind cannot resist it, but must succumb.”1 The Jewish spirit is a force able to create universal communism ; to destroy the ideology of blood, race, heroical struggle for power ; to promote equality and brotherhood. The task, from the anti-semitic point of view, is therefore to extirpate from the world Jewish influence, to get the leaven out of the lump. So writes Macmurray. But this Gentile sociologist and philosopher of culture, who gives such an accurate account of the anti-semitic ideology, takes personally a view of Jewish infiltration which directly opposes Hitlerism. Judaism, like the Platonic Good, is diffusivum sui, and Macmurray sees in this a progress : “I have learned from the greatest genius of the Jewish race to recognize it (the Jewish consciousness) as the water of Life. . . . The thought of the triumph of Jewish consciousness fills me with joyous exhilaration.”2

In the present analysis of the causes of anti-semitism and of “the persecution of the Jews, we have kept to the natural ground of psychology and history. This is not enough. The factors which we have discerned are undoubtedly there, and very potent. But the hatred of the Jews and sufferings of Israel have deeper causes which belong to the realm of theology and which only a believing Jew or a Christian can discern. Here we reach the heart of the problems of Galuth. No modern Christian has better expressed the supernatural aspect of these problems than Jacques Maritain.3 We shall try to summarize his ideas on the subject.

  • Macmurray, The Clue to History, London, 1938, p. 226.
  • The Clue to History, 227.
  • Anti-semitism, translated from the French, London, 1939. See special

note P.


The election of Israel was an incursion of God into history for the purpose of using one people as the “ means of grace,” as a “ sacrament,” to the whole of mankind. The dispersion of Israel among the nations is and remains a sacred mystery. There is, between Israel and the world, the same superhuman relation as between the world and the Church. Only this analogy with the Church can help us to form some idea of the mystery of Israel. In its own way, Israel is a corpus mysticum. The promises of God being “without repentance,” Israel continues its sacred mission. Like the Church, Israel is in the world, but not of the world ; the tragedy is that Israel loves the world and becomes its prisoner, though it shall not be and never can be of this world, “ Israel, we believe, is assigned, on the plane and within the limits of secular history, a task of earthly activisation of the mass of the world. Israel, which is not of the world, is to be found at the very heart of the world’s structure, stimulating it, exasperating it, moving it. Like an alien body, like an activating leaven injected into the mass, it gives the world no peace, it bars slumber, it teaches the world to be discontented and restless as long as the world has not God; it stimulates the movement of history.”1 The world hates the Jews because they will always be “ outsiders ” in a supernatural sense. Their passion for the absolute inflicts on the world an unbearable stimulus.

We should like to supplement the words of Maritain in two ways. In the first place, it is important to discriminate between “pious Jews” and the Jews who are practically foreign to religious Judaism. We all know a certain type of cultivated and agnostic, musical and pleasure-loving refugee from Vienna, which does not breed saints. It sometimes seems difficult to believe in the divine mission of these amiable, but rather estranged, sons of Israel. Neither can we overlook the fact that there are criminal elements among the Jews. And yet they are not cut off from the people of the Covenant. They are the very kind of Jew of whom Maritain says: “ Israel loves the world and becomes its prisoner, though it shall not be and never can be of this world.” To these Jews is especially imparted the task of “ stimulating ” and “ exasperating ” the world by their own impatience, agitation and reckless quest for (ungodly) intensity. In the very evil which they often commit, they unconsciously fulfil the God-given mission of moving history forward. But we must carefully distinguish the “ good Jew’s” from them. These are also stimulating the world, but in another way.

1 Antisemitism, pp. 19-20.

They irritate it by their very Jewishness, by their fidelity to a transcendent Law and a prophetic vision which Hitler and Mussolini abhor. Maritain is careful to restrict the Jewish task of “ activation ” of the world to ‘‘ the plane ” and “ the limits of secular history.” We shall go further and say that these true Israelites belong to sacred history and achieve a redeeming work in the diaspora. With Piper, we shall acknowledge in them the Remnant of Israel for whose sake Judaism as a whole is allowed to entertain hope for the future ; and we dare to affirm that, in the modern dispersion as in the first biblical exile, they suffer vicariously for the whole people.

How can we help Israel in his present distress ? Here is a third aspect of the Christian attitude towards the problems of the Jewish diaspora. We have seen what a true understanding of the community of Israel means. We have also seen what a true understanding of the hatred and persecution of the Jews means. We must now reach a true understanding of the Christian help to be given to the Jewish people.

This question has become to-day more or less identified with the question of Jewish refugees.[10] Much has been done on their behalf by Christians, and this is certainly right. The Christian protest against anti-semitism and aid extended to its victims have built bridges of close fellowship between many Christians and many Jews. We shall nevertheless maintain that this charitable activity does not necessarily constitute the .best form of Christian help to the Jewish people. It is often done from ■ a merely humanitarian motive which deserves all our respect and sympathy, but remains foreign to Christianity. That we ought to help by all means the Jewish refugee is quite clear ; how can we help him as Christians is not so clearly perceived by everybody.

The “ goodwill movements ” between Jews and Christians are undoubtedly useful and interesting. A Youth Council of Jewish and Christian Relationships, for instance, has been brought into existence in order to promote a true fellowship between the younger members of the Jewish and Christian communities. The programme of the council includes visits of young Christians to synagogues (wuth attendance at the service), to Jewish restaurants, to lectures by leaders of Jewish youth, to Jewash museums, settlements and centres of social work.1 Such efforts ought to be encouraged and developed. They evidently do not exhaust the conception of Christian help to the Jewish diaspora.

Here again a supernatural light is necessary. Psychologism and humanism may mislead us in forming a view of this service. Even the most practical problems of aid to the Jews require a certain “ theology.” This is no dogmatic fancy. An eminent (perhaps the most eminent) modern Jewish authority will tell us the same. Buber, while acknowledging the generosity with which Christians have relieved Jewish distress in recent times, remarks (shall we say complains ?) that “ Israel is not received by the Christians as Israel ” ; Israel is “ not accepted as Israel, but as a multiplicity of Jewish individuals ” ; and he asks : “ Is a genuine reception of Israel possible ? ”a These words go to the very root of the question. Shall we receive Israel as Israel ? The aid given to a Jew because Christian love enjoins the succouring of any man in need may be a Christian help; but it will not be the Christian help to Israel as Israel, the reception of Israel as such.

What does this “ genuine reception of Israel,” spoken of by Buber, mean ? We may give to this term a threefold meaning. First, the Christian who assists a Jew in any way ought to be willing to fulfil thus a duty not only towards an individual, but towards the whole people of which the individual is a member. Secondly, the Christian must admit that Israel has a special claim on the goodwill of all Christians ; one can really speak of a privilege and priority of Israel : the Jews have a birth-right ; they are the elder sons of the Fathers and our elder brothers. However radical may have been the parting of the roads, we should always look to the house of Israel with veneration, tenderness—and nostalgia. Thirdly, the Christian ought to be aware that to help a Jew means to help the whole of Israel to fulfil the mysterious destiny to which it is called and which is inseparable from the destiny of the Christian Church itself. All these considerations may be summed up in the idea of the corpus mysticum of Israel on which the Gentile Christians are grafted. We shall develop this conception in the last pages of

  • See William W. Simpson, Youth and Antisemitism, London, 1938. The author, who is general secretary of the Christian Council dealing with refugees in England, has also published two books of the same inspiration, The Christian and the Jewish Problem, and Jews and Christians to-day (Beckly Social Service Lectures, 1940).
  • Israel ist von den Christen nicht als Israel rezipiert . . . nicht als Israel aufgenommen, sondem als eine Vielheit jiidischer Individuen . . . Ist eine echte Rezeption Israels mbglich ? In Die Stunde und die Erkenntniss, pp. 161-162.

this present book. It will now be sufficient to say that, if we admit the Pauline idea of the grafting of the Gentiles on the tree of Israel, even the earthly problems of Israel will cease to be outside problems for us ; they will become our own.

The Anglican and Protestant worlds have extended to the Jews, in their recent trials, a most hearty welcome. But it is certainly the Roman Church which has emphasized to the utmost the reception of Israel “ as Israel.” Not only were “ racialist ” errors condemned in a pontifical document (April 13, 1938), but Pope Pius XI said in a speech : “ Notice that Abraham is called our Patriarch, our ancestor . . . Anti­semitism is unacceptable. Spiritually we are Semites.” (September 1938.) Perhaps the most thorough-going literature on Jewish problems to-day emanate from Roman circles.1

What forms could this Christian aid to Israel assume ? Let us listen to a Jewish suggestion. Israel Zangwill once wrote :2 “ The drastic method of love—which is the only human dissolvent—has never been tried upon the Jew as a whole.” We do not want to “ dissolve ” the Jew among the Gentiles : on the contrary! But these very words, “ the drastic method of love …” contain a full programme of action. How can they be concretely expressed ?

The “drastic method of love” could hardly be identified with official organization and assistance. These are difficult to identify even with private group assistance. They are good and necessary, but drastic love always implies a personal concern. It goes out from the individual to the individual. It means a “ sharing ” in things both spiritual and temporal. It will not be “ drastic” unless it includes some real sacrifice. We do not think that this “ drastic method ” in relation to Jews is required from every Christian. It is rather a special way corresponding to a special call; it is nothing less than a vocation and ministry. The Christian who has received such a call ought to examine how, in the circumstances of his own life, he can take upon his shoulders at least a part of the burden of an individual Jew or perhaps of a few individual Jews in distress. He will endeavour to create between himself and them a relationship of “ give and take ”; he will open to them his home and his soul; he will help them with his work and money, accepting the hardships which this may involve and which are indeed a necessary condition of the method ; he will mix with them in their everyday life ; he will make of them his “ neighbour,” in the thorough and most literal sense of the word.

  • See special note P.
  • The Voice of Jerusalem, 254.


Such relationships may be best achieved, either between an individual and another individual, or within very small groups of three, four or five persons who would adopt a communal life. These little cells of brotherly life would be—-in a rather unusual, but most real sense—”religious communities.” We indicate only a very general line. The “ drastic method of love ” is essentially plastic and can adjust itself to a thousand different cases.

One last word about the Christian aid given to Israel “ as Israel.” Do not let us think that our aid may put an end to the trials of the Jews, the explanation of which belongs to a higher plane. Let us by all means everywhere defend the Jews against injustice and oppression—and, at the same time, let us see deeper into their tragedy. If we do ascribe a religious significance and purpose to the existence of the Jews, we must consider their sufferings as part of this purpose. While we certainly must help them in escaping from the conditions responsible for such sufferings, we must interpret Israel’s woes in the light of the teaching about the Suffering Servant; the sufferings of Israel emphasize its testimony and reveal its divine power. Therefore, as wrote a Jewish Liberal leader, Rabbi J. Mattuk, “ the religious point of view does not seek a complete escape from the difficulties in the Jewish position.”1 By its many sufferings, Israel may help the consummation of the divine purpose in history ; this is the holiest way in which the Suffering Servant may “justify many.”

Israel has been and still remains the figure of the Coming One. The human demolition of Israel means that Israel arises now as a signpost and a threshold. A door of hope is open to the Jewish soul. Broken and shattered, Israel can more vigorously bear its message and attempt its boundless task. All the nations shall see and hear the Suffering Servant of God, if he understands the Word spoken to him and repeats it in spirit and truth.