Friday, May 2, 2008

Yom HaShoah: Rembering the Holocaust

Today is Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. People all over the globe are coming together, both Jew and non-Jew, to commemorate and honor the 6 million plus men, women and children who lost their lives. The first time that I really observed this day, I thought it was weird and it made me really uncomfortable. Why remember one of the most notorious events in the history of the world? The pictures, the film clips, the prayers that are can be a little overwhelming, to say the least.
However, it's important to remember for a few reasons:
1) They deserve it. In Judaism, we remember a decedent every year by praying a certain prayer (not to them, but of praise to God) on the date of the anniversary of their passing. Many of those who perished in the Holocaust did not even receive a proper burial, and some of them are not even remembered in the database of names. We can remember them en masse on Yom HaShoah.
2) There is some repenting to do. I know a certain pastor who feels very heavy on his heart that the Church, as a whole, has still not repented for being a part of the Holocaust. Of course, there were many Christians who helped the Jews during this time, and there are many Christians now who have repented. Actually, there are countless Christians who were not even born at the time of the Holocaust, so why should they repent? Well, as this pastor says, there is a Biblical concept of "repenting on behalf of your people," and this is of huge importance if we ever are going to see the rift between the Jewish people and the Church close. No, not all of the Church was involved with the Nazi movement, but there was a large contingent that stood idly by while these horrible things were being done right before their eyes. The Holocaust is the pink elephant sitting in the middle of the Church's living room, and HaSatan likes it that way. However, we know that it is not God's will for there to be this huge gap between his flock. Today I pray for the Church, as a whole, to repent and ask forgiveness from both God and man, even if there was no personal involvement in what happened.
3) So that it doesn't happen again! There are those who would LOVE to see the Holocaust happen again, and there are those who are denying it ever happened. There are those who say that Hitler didn't finish the job. We can't think that we are safe just because we live in America, or that because the world is "more civilized" now. There are holocausts going on even now in Sudan, Darfur and many other places.

There are many lessons and stories that I could tell now. For sake of time I will end with this quote by Tzvi Freeman:

You ask me, "Why did G-d* allow it to happen?"
You recognize that everything in this world has purpose and meaning. Examine any aspect of His vast Creation, from the cosmos to the workings of the atom and you will see there must be a plan.
And so you ask, where does this fit into the plan? How could it?
I can only answer, painfully, G-d alone knows.
But what I cannot know, I need not know.
I need not know in order to fulfill that which my Creator has created me to do.
And that is, to change the world so this could never happen again.

*The Name of G-d is not spelled out by many Jews to show how sacred it is. I usually do write it out on here because I doubt that anyone prints out my blog, and also so that people don't become confused.

Shabbat Shalom!
Thanks to my husband for the picture. It was taken at Yad VaShem, the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.

No comments: