Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has argued that those murdered in the Holocaust were a reincarnation of sinners from past generations, Ma'ariv reported on Sunday. In his weekly Saturday evening sermon, whose subject was the period between the 17th of Tamuz and Tisha Be'av fasts, the rabbi explained that on Tamuz 17, a number of calamities had occurred, including the breaching of Jerusalem's walls which led to the destruction of the Temple on Tisha Be'av, as well as the sin of the golden calf which led to the shattering of the Tablets of Stone. "There is no calamity that the people of Israel suffer that isn't part of [the punishment for] the sin of the golden calf. The tragedies we've endured throughout generations - the Inquisition, the Holocaust - they are all part of the sin of the golden calf," Rabbi Yosef explained. "After all, people are upset and ask why was there a Holocaust? Woe to us, for we have sinned. Woe to us, for there is nothing we can say to justify it," he said. "It goes without saying that we believe in reincarnation," continued Yosef. "It is a reincarnation of those souls. Our teacher The Ari said that there are no new souls in our generation…all the souls were once in the world and have returned. "All those poor people in the Holocaust…we wonder why it was done. There were righteous people among them. Still, they were punished because of sins of past generations."

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