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Holocaust and Return to Zion

A Study in Jewish Philosopy of History

By Shubert Spero

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Shubert Spero traces the efforts of medieval and modern Jewish thinkers to account for the events of their times not only in theological but also historical terms, and he presents his own, innovative, attempt to explain the recurrent upheavals of Jewish history - the destructions of the both Temples, the expulsion from Spain and the Holocaust in terms of both Jewish and world history.
Analyzing the idea and meaning of history from both a Jewish and a philosophical perspective, he suggests that the lopsided distribution of Jewish population in Europe in modern times, which ensured that the bulk of the Jewish people live where all the changes that ushered in the modern age would take place - the Enlightenment, Emancipation, the industrial revolution and the rise of nationalism, was due to Divine Providence, as was the amazing increase in Jewish population. By 1800 the Jews had been reduced to only about two-and-a-half million in the entire world, with 2,000,000 living in Europe - but by 1800 the Jews had been reduced to only about two-and-a-half million in the entire world, with 2,000,000 living in Europe -but by 1880 they had increased to 7,500,000, a rate of increase twice that of the general population - in spite of rampant assimilation and intermarriage in the West! This is in contrast to the relative small increase of Jews in oriental countries. All of these factors led to increased anti-Semitism but also to the rise of Zionism. In Spero's view, the nineteen-hundred year exile of the Jewish people should be viewed not as a punishment, but as reflecting the slow, progressive development of three elements: the physical
location and demographic increase of the Jewish people; Torah literature as both philosophical world-view and code conduct; and the development of international structures based on law and order, on the spread of democracy and of the doctrine of human rights. All these reflect providential guidance in making possible the re-establishment of the Jewish State of Israel.

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