All of my life, I’ve been pricked, primed and pumped full of the Holocaust.
Every year, like picking at a scab we cannot leave alone, we Jews drag ourselves once again through an endless Holocaust overload, maxing out on vivid remembrances of the most degrading chapter of our long and bitter exile. I’m sorry, I just can’t relate any more. Especially when I contrast it with what the wonderful things – miracles, in fact – that are happening to the Nation of Israel in our own times.
As I child in America, I remember asking my elders something that in retrospect was an almost ‘verboten’ question: “If being Jewish is all about the Holocaust, maybe I should try being someone else for a while?” I was gently told that learning the horrors of the Holocaust was a sacred duty, a religious act that was beyond questioning.
Could it be that by constantly reminding ourselves – and others – of the most excruciating and humiliating victimization in our nearly 4,000 year national history, we are unwittingly perpetuating the very mind set we seek to overcome?
And it’s not only us. What goes through the minds of gentiles like US President Barack Obama when they visit, and then come back again to re-visit, Yad Vashem when they see the Jewish People having its collective butt kicked from one end of the world to the other?
I’d like to propose that this day should focus on something slightly different: remembering the LESSONS of the Holocaust. Following are a few candidate topics for further study and contemplation.
Lesson 1: Here in Israel, We Prove Hitler Wrong Every Day.
Here is a picture of the Old City of Jerusalem a few weeks ago during the Passover Holiday.
Each year, during the Jewish festivals, throngs of humanity pour into the Old City, the Heart of the Israelite Nation, just as they did when the Great Temple stood there 2,000 years ago. Hitler and the architects of the Final Solution would likely soil their knickers on the spot were they to see such a scene.
Dudes, time to face the facts: Am Yisrael Hai (The People of Israel Lives).
Lesson 2: Some People Just Don’t Learn From History.
Here are the spiritual descendants and successors of the Nazis. (Just look at their salutes.)
They are working to finish the job that Führer Hitler, may his name be erased, did not live to complete. In Israel, we have an ancient, Biblical name for them: AMALEK.
You’d think that Amalek might have figured out by now that no one can harm our nation without HaShem’s permission. Just take a look at the wonders that happen every living day in Israel. Follow up with a look in a handy Hebrew Bible to compare today’s reality here with the words of the Hebrew Prophets that describe the long-awaited consolation of the Jewish Nation. It’s hard not to reach the conclusion that HaShem is telling all who will listen that the days when Amalek and his supporters had free reign to oppress, murder and plunder the Jewish People are over.
My advice for Amalek and Co.: they had better get with the program if they want to survive. For, as was the fate of their revered role model, the leader of Germany’s National Socialism (‘Nazi’) movement – the “Thousand Year Reich” that ended with a ‘pop’ as Hitler shot himself in the head in his bombed-out underground bunker – their own lust for violence will destroy them in the end.
Lesson Three: The Holocaust Isn’t Just About Jews as Victims.
Here is a picture that is worth considering for a while.
The newly liberated camp inmate, Yosef Wald, is quietly and firmly in control – on the other side of the gun for a change. And for perhaps the first time in his accursed, hate-filled, miserable life, this young Nazi soldier finds himself marching to the tune of a very different drummer.
For more pictures that show Jews in the Holocaust in ways that you never before imagined, see this unusual site.
In short: for untold generations simple Jews, holding on for dear life throughout the Diaspora, longed with all their souls for the return of our nation to our beloved Land of Israel. May their descendants witness with their own eyes and ears the complete return to a natural, national life here in Israel, and may we all see the rebuilding of our Holy City and its flagship Temple, the House of Worship for all nations, at the vanguard.