Letter: Are We Witnessing “Jewish Karma:” Middah K’Neged Middah (Measure For Measure) in Ukraine?

Dear Letter to the Editor:

While Judaism does not include the concept of karma per se, a Buddhist idea, it does embrace Middah K’Neged Middah (Measure for Measure). Hashem rewards those who perform good measures and punishes those who perform bad measures. Of course Hashem acts at the time and place Hashem chooses. As with the plagues Hashem brought them measure for measure against the Egyptian people because of something they had done to persecute the children of Israel. Who is to say that right now Hashem is not acting measure for measure against the Ukrainian people for their massive collaboration with the Nazis in which they enthusiastically assisted in the murder of hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian Jews? A massive collaboration with the Nazis that the Ukrainian people have never previously been held accountable for.

At Babi Yar the Ukrainian Auxillary Police arrested and rounded up 34,000 Ukrainian Jews and forced them into ravines where the Nazis could kill them. The Ukrainian people similarly collaborated with the Nazis —  arresting, rounding up and forcing into ravines and killing fields throughout Ukraine hundreds of thousands of other Ukrainian Jews for the Nazis to kill. Where is the accountability?  Oh a few Nazi generals were convicted and executed. What about the collaborating Ukrainian people?  After the war the Ukrainian people did not just collaborate. The record is replete with stories of the sorry  remnants of the Holocaust returning to Ukraine looking for relatives that been invariably murdered or looking for any possessions that might not have been looted  — only to be murdered by the Ukrainian people.
On September 1, 1941 the Ukrainian newspaper “Volhyn” wrote: “The element that settled our cities (Jews)… must disappear completely from our cities. The Jewish problem is already in the process of being solved.”

In May 2006, the Ukrainian newspaper “Ukraine Christian News” commented, “Carrying out the massacre was the Einsatzgruppe C, supported by members of a Waffen-SS battalion and units of the Ukrainian auxiliary police, under the general command of Friedrich Jeckeln. The participation of Ukrainian collaborators in these events, now documented and proven, is a matter of painful public debate in Ukraine”.

This week I received an email from a woman in Israel who said:

“Her late mother, a Holocaust survivor who told her husband and herself, that on many occasions, the Ukrainians were worse than the Germans.  They revealed the hiding places of the Jews as they sought shelter, and after the Germans exterminated us, when some poor remnants of Jews came back to their homes, looking for relatives, the Ukrainians finished them off. We have zero sympathy for them.” 

Some may say what is happening in the Ukraine is cruel. Yet it does not  compare the cruelty of Ukrainian people’s collaboration with the Nazis on the children of Israel. Hashem chooses the time and place to punish those who engage in bad measures. Who is to say…middah k’neged middah..that Hashem has not chosen Ukraine in 2022?

Richard Sherman
Margate, Florida

About Staff

They call me "NewsHound IV," because I'm a clever Finnegan, sniffing out stories all over the Boulder area. I love Jewish holidays because the food is GREAT, especially the brisket. Well all the food. I was a rescue pup and glad to be on the scent!

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  1. Let's see, where did I hear this argument – "people are just being punished for what other people of the same faith or ethnicity did in the past"? Oh right, it's the favorite one of the antisemites. I grew up in the Soviet Union and I heard so much about how Russian antisemitism stemmed from the fact that Jews played a big role in the Russian revolution (in fact, it goes way back before that). Or, you know, greedy Jewish bankers.

    My husband is Jewish and grew up in Kiev. He and his relatives are now frantically trying to check on all their friends who are still there. My great-grandmother was killed by Nazis in Babin Yar. Soviet government played down that tragedy for decades. Independent Ukraine erected several memorials on the site. Now Russian government is shelling the site. I think that having this letter in the newsletter while the tragedy in Ukraine is unfolding is callous, harmful, and plainly wrong.

  2. WTF did I just read?

    Any god who punishes people for what their forebears did generations ago is no god I want to worship.

  3. The Ukranians are wicked to the core. If you look at the book yeven metzula you'll see that they did worse atrocities than what's being done to them now.