Page 152 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 28

Basic HTML Version

J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
146
As the ominous clouds proliferated, Zeitlin feared that Hit-
ler’s “blind, Styxian madness” would engulf the Jews in the
inevitable savage Holocaust. He became the consoler, a beacon
radiating hope. Throughout the tense periods of panic and terror,
he encouraged his people to have faith in their dauntless her-
itage. He told them, “we can endure much; we may be broken
physically, but we must never be destroyed spiritually.”6
In the end he reconfirmed his oneness with his people by
refusing to escape the horrors they endured. On Erev Rosh
Hashanah, September 11, 1942, wearing his
tefillin,
wrapped in
tallit
and clutching his worn copy of
Zohar,
he walked to the
death cars. At the assembly point he was shot. In his death, as
in life he fulfilled the admonition of Rav Nahman of Bratslav
of whom he had written, “Rav Nahman knew, even as a young-
ster, that man must be resolute in his worship of God. Even if
they come to shoot him, he must never abandon his spiritual
stance in the service of God.”7
8Der
Moment,
Mar. 9, 1933, p. 3.
7 Hillel Zeitlin,
Rav Nahman Braslaver, Der Ze’er Fun Podolia
(New York,
1952), p. 57.