Many years ago, I attended a Shiur given by Rebbetzin Heller.   During  the question-and-answers part, someone asked if it is truly valuable  to follow the news – after all, it is often so sad.  Rebbetzin Heller answered with a question: “Don’t you want to be like Moshe Rabbeinu?”

For those who made aliyah recently, many feel somewhat “cut off” from Yom Hazikaron.  Since Operation Homat Magen, there has been far less terror.   The wars have been at distant borders.   Life is so busy with everyday struggles, shopping, kids’ appointments, finding a job, finding parking, that we are almost living like a normal nation in a normal country. Sometimes we forget that there is still war going on, that our homes were built in place of the marshes that someone else drained, in place of the rocks that someone else leveled, and that “someone else” carried a spade in one hand and a rifle in the other – to protect his fellow Jews from attackers who are still determined to destroy us.

Reading the newspapers and listening to / watching the ceremonies on TV is also a bit distant.   We have all watched enough news and movies, read enough books, to be somewhat desensitized to death as portrayed in the media..

If we are willing to feel our brothers’ and sisters’ pain for a few minutes, to be with them, as HaShem is –  איתו אנוכי בצרה; and perhaps through this also appreciate our blessings more strongly tomorrow, we can unite with Am Yisrael by going today to a military cemetery.  Join a family saying kaddish.  Hug the mother who lost her child, the sister who is now older than her big brother. Or leave a note at the grave of a Netzer Aharon – sole Holocaust survivor who was killed here in war or by terrorists.

Every city has a military cemetery.

For the list of Netzer Aharon kedoshim, with links to each person’s burial site, as well as links to important historical information:

http://www.izkor.gov.il/NetzerNames.aspx?pid=33

or this link, which makes it easier to find burial sites:

http://www.myisrael.org.il/action/857

May our unity and mutual respect on this day of national mourning carry over into our days of celebration and into our ordinary days.

A note left at the kever of a Netzer Aharon soldier
A note left at the kever of a Netzer Aharon soldier