Question: What is the strength of the human spirit and where does it come from? Why in the most difficult times of the Holocaust, exactly when people were on the brink of survival, they showed the highest spirit and retained human dignity?
The Nazis tried to lower people to the level of animals, but even in the concentration camps and ghettos Jews managed to keep their spirit and a sense of mutual aid, organized education and theater groups, and did anything that allowed them to feel human and to rise above their state.
Answer: This is a known psychological phenomenon. When a person doesn’t feel any possibility of changing what is happening, he is forced to agree with the powerful and ruthless force that squeezes him in a very hard vise. And then he can only bow and accept everything as it is. But inside this lowliness awakens the point of truth, the human spirit.
Sending us such difficulties, the Creator, at the same time, supports our inner spirit. And therefore we see that even while submitting to the pressure of this enormous force, man in the depth of his soul feels that this is his destiny, the upper force. This blow falls upon him from above and he has to bow and tries to survive preserving human appearance as much as possible.
Therefore, during the Holocaust we saw such examples of courage and overcoming. However, it is indicative that people just resigned, accepted what was occurring, and simply waited for this blow to pass.
This is similar to what happened to Rabbi Akiva who was sailing on the ship and encountered a violent storm. The ship split and sank, but Rabbi Akiva managed to survive, the only one from the entire ship.
When he was asked later how he managed to stay afloat, he explained that he grasped a log and every time a big wave surged, he bent his head. This way these waves instead of drowning him carried him to the shore.
It turns out that in the state when, in our world, an evil force that was given permission to destroy us is already evident, it is too late to fight it. After all, we already lost this war if we permitted the evil force to appear. By our behavior in relations with each other we allowed the Nazis to rise, come to power, and begin to rule over all the nations in Europe.
And by lowering our heads, we allow this force to pass over us, and we can reach the promised shore.
The thing is that Jews could have prevented the Nazis from coming to power if they had listened to the appeals of Baal HaSulam and other Kabbalists and had commenced the correction of the world. But we didn’t do it and led a normal life in the exile. The great Kabbalist Ari in the 16th century urged starting the correction of the world. In his time, the period of exile had already ended and the period of redemption had begun.
If we don’t move together with the forces of redemption that have started to act in the world and we stay in exile as before, not wanting and even opposing the redemption, then we invite upon ourselves a reaction of very evil and dangerous forces of destruction. In this case they are revealed in the world and act against the people of Israel.
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 4/28/16