Original Research

The Holocaust in the teachings of R. Isaiah Aviad (Wolfsberg)

Amir Mashiach
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 78, No 1 | a7439 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v78i1.7439 | © 2022 Amir Mashiach | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 February 2022 | Published: 04 August 2022

About the author(s)

Amir Mashiach, Faculty of Art and Humanities, The School of Education, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel


R. Dr. Isaiah Aviad (Wolfsberg) (1893–1957) was one of religious Zionism’s main thinkers. This article seeks to examine his outlook regarding the Holocaust of European Jewry. Jewish thought contains three main approaches to dealing with the issue of evil in the world: the classic-causal approach, the teleological approach and the indifferent approach. The classic-causal approach explains the evil that exists in the world as occurring in a process of cause and effect; namely, the Israelites did not behave as God expected of them and were therefore punished. The teleological approach does not explain present suffering and evil as a result of past sins but rather as having a future purpose; the indifferent approach attaches no religious meaning to human suffering. People are careless and are therefore negatively affected. R. Aviad manipulates between these three approaches regarding the Holocaust, whilst adding the Hegelian dialectic. His conclusion was that the State of Israel is the redemption and the teleological meaning of Jewish suffering and of the Holocaust.

Contribution: This article helps to understand the theological approach of one of the religious Zionism’s main thinkers and contains issues both in Jewish theology and Holocaust studies.


Isaiah Aviad; religious Zionism; bad and evil; the Holocaust; Nazism; the State of Israel; Jewish theology; redemption


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