Benefiting from Nazi Products
 
Moshe Ben-Chaim
 
 
(This dialogue follows my response that one should not listen to Wagner's musical compositions since he was a known Nazi...)
 
 
Reader: I do not understand this . . . Would you also not speak German because the Nazi's spoke it? "Their close proximity?"
Mesora: Language preceded Nazism, hence, it is not a product of Nazism. Music and cars are products of a nation which harbors feelings of anti-Semitism. Therefore it is quite different, and appropriate to demonstrate disdain for such a culture through boycotting. We must not assist in the financial growth of the wicked.
 
 
Reader: What kind of an argument is that? Does that mean that you would not have anything to do with a German person because of the fact that they are Germans? Why should you? the Nazis were German and the German people are "their close proximity!" How do you answer to this?
Mesora: A German person has free will and is not a reflection of his parents. The "product" definition does not apply here. He can decide to be good. But an inanimate object as music and autos can only reflect their maker. Use of such objects is then an endorsement of the maker and promulgates his corrupt ideas.
 
 
Reader: Secondly, let me give you a hypothetical, let's say that I live and eventually die listening to the music of Wagner without ever knowing that he was a neo-Nazi; would it be "philosophically wrong" then?
Mesora: No it would not. You would be ignorant in this case.
 
Reader: I guess what my original letter intended was if I'm breaking some halacha by listening to Wagner being fully aware that he was a neo-Nazi?
Mesora: Like I said, it is philosophically wrong to adore the work of a Nazi. We cannot even adore a gentile according to halacha.
 
 
Reader: My other question is, do you think that the music he wrote was filled with the thought of "hate the Jews?"
Mesora: I don't know, but it is irrelevant.
 
 
Reader: I'm not sure how to phrase it, but is his art inherently connected to his dislike of Jews?
Mesora: Again, admiration for his works is admiration for an extension of a Nazi. We cannot have admiration for any aspect of that which is connected to Nazism.


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