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Quotes

Quote #7

Akiba Drummer said:

"God is testing us. He wants to see whether we are capable of overcoming our base instincts, of killing the Satan within ourselves. We have no right to despair. And if He punishes us mercilessly, it is a sign that He loves us that much more …"

Hersch Genud, well versed in the Kabbalah, spoke of the end of the world and the coming of the Messiah.

From time to time, in the middle of all that talk, a thought crossed my mind: Where is Mother right now … and Tzipora …

"Mother is still a young woman," my father once said. "She must be in a labor camp. And Tzipora, she is a big girl now. She too must be in a camp …"

How we would have liked to believe that. We pretended, for what if one of us still did believe? (3.176-181)

Eliezer compares the hope he and his father had that his mother and sister are alive (a false hope) with the hope that other Jews have in God; the comparison suggests that the religious hope is also false hope used for comfort in the same way Eliezer and his father look for comfort in the hope that their loved ones are alive.

Quote #8

They quickly became my friends. Having once belonged to a Zionist youth organization, they knew countless Hebrew songs. And so we would sometimes hum melodies evoking the gentle waters of the Jordan River and the majestic sanctity of Jerusalem. We also spoke often about Palestine. Their parents, like mine, had not the courage to sell everything and emigrate while there was still time. We decided that if we were allowed to live until the Liberation, we would not stay another day in Europe. We would board the first ship to Haifa. (4.42)

Though no longer a firm believer in his religion, Eliezer still turns to thoughts of Jerusalem as future safe-haven.

Quote #9

Still lost in his Kabbalistic dreams, Akiba Drumer had discovered a verse in the Bible which, translated into numbers, made it possible for him to predict Redemption in the weeks to come. (4.43)

That Eliezer says that Akiba is "lost" and uses the word "dreams" shows that Eliezer sees Akiba’s religiously based hope as a false hope. Eliezer no longer trusts in God’s justice, and therefore doesn’t trust that God will deliver the Jews from the concentration camps

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