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Friday, February 9, 2024

Christian V. Jewish View of Forgiveness

 I've never read a book like The Sunflower by Simon Wiesenthal.  What a discussion ensued over forgiveness, with which the book struggles!  The book is 289 pages, 98  of which is the story.  All the rest are opinions.

The story is the autobiographical story of Simon Wiesenthal. As a victim of the holocaust, he is in a concentration camp.  His work team's job is the clean the waste out of a hospital. While there, he is ordered to follow a nurse.  The nurse takes him to the death bed of a dying Nazi.  He is ordered to sit beside the Nazi and listen to him.  The Nazi tells him his life story, including some atrocities he had a part in.  He obviously, wants Simon, as a Jew, to forgive him.  He couldn't.  He got up and left the dying man, without saying a word.

Back at the concentration camp, Simon tells a couple of close friends, what had happened.  Both say, "Never forgive him."  But one elaborates, fuller.  He tells Simon that he had no authority to forgive for the entire Jewish race.  The sin was against an entire people, not an individual, named Simon Wiesenthal.  So he had no authority to forgive what happened to entire people.

What do you think?

The rest of the book consists of other people's opinions.  I noticed that the Christians wrote the shortest opinions.  More or less they said, "Jesus said to love your enemies."  "You forgive seventy times seven."  Then the Jews mostly said, "no you don't forgive."  The difference is the Torah versus the New Testament.

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