Remembering Is Not Enough

We heard Zachor once again this year! We had Yom HaShoah, with all the cars and pedestrians stopped in their tracks — but only for a few minutes! We had YomHatzmaut, while incendiary balloons, hundreds of rockets and Israeli-carrying placards sought Israel’s annihilation. We are now into Memorial Day and much of America — especially among the Millennials — despise the Flag, the Constitution, its Founding Fathers, its Judeo-Christian roots!

All remembrances . . . all moments of reflection of things that were, are losing sight of what such past events invoking Zachor call upon us to do now.

What did the domino effect of Amalek on future generations have upon us and are we in danger of making such wake-up calls meaningless?  This question looms large, casting a pall of darkness upon our minds, creating a collective amnesia and paralysis, all the while as what is happening around us should instead awaken us to raise voices and take action, before it is too late!

Amalek attacked the B’nai Yisroel after the High of the Krias Yam Suf, not even slightly dampened by the enormity of Hashem’s utter defeat of the Egyptian army. The attack, according to our Sages, came middah knegged middah — its gematria equivalent to sofek — our Doubt that Hashem was in our midst the moment we sensed physical thirst and hunger, the moment we lacked sustaining gratitude at our sudden freedom and the gift of manna. DOUBT, lack of gratitude, lack of Faith, lack of Trust … seeking the fantasy of the values a purely physical, materialistic world could offer us, if we returned to our state of slavery. This spiritual psychosis, which we as readers of the Torah thousands of years later stand bewildered, saying “if we were that generation, we would have been different!”  Sure!!!

What makes me recoil is the realization that the last of the Holocaust survivors will soon have his or her life snuffed out … and as they pass on, so does the restraint that the world had exercised out of seeming guilt. I, born in 1945 in Krakow of Holocaust parents, no longer of this earth, am approaching my 74th birthday, and cannot believe what I am living through in 2019, in this country, in this world.

What was once politically correct — condemning the Holocaust and awarding the survivors the State of Israel — no longer is. What has been forgotten is that the United Nations only stamped approval of what had always been true – Israel was given to the Jewish People by G-d, not men. The Land has been ours for thousands of years. Jews have always been present, even when our numbers were decimated by those who sought to displace us countless times. Palestinians — a group of outcasts from their Arab countries — make false claim to statehood, but the world listens!

It is now politically correct to resurrect what has always been just under the surface — perpetual Anti-Semitism, couched today under the guise of Anti-Zionism.  Do we actually comprehend that Anti-Zionism is, as Rabbi Jonathan Saks graphically tells us, nothing more than this generation’s version, of the newest form of Anti-Semitism?

The vocal hatred does not, as it was in the intervening post-WWII, emanate only from fringe extremist groups or known charismatic idols of hatred.  Today, alarmingly, they come from elected member of Congress, heads of party in Britain and other “enlightened” countries, college professors in our most prestigious universities, countless conferences of noted panelists, and sadly within the ranks of Jewish groups touting their Jewish allegiance while boycotting, defaming their brothers and sisters, well-funded and internet-proliferated, for all to see and hear.

Reminiscent of centuries of blood libel, oppression, exile and genocide, is the convergence of hatred from both the far right and the far left, from liberals and progressives, from academicians and world leaders. Once again, fueled by the media, when Jews are assaulted, killed, and when hundreds of missiles rain down seeking civilian casualties, the world is silent. The double standard is inescapable. When Moslems are the victims, media coverage is pervasive, and incredibly, the defenders of their victimhood, point fingers at the Jews!

Pathetically, in response to this rising hatred and assault on the Jew everywhere and posted daily by the few who call for knowledge and action, social media responses most often take on the comical form of “Likes”, “Imogees”, and nothing more.

Jews are not the only silent victims. Christians are being killed by the thousands all over the world, mostly at the hand of Islamic extremists, and the media hardly covers this worldwide genocide. Every institution that makes up a civilized society is under attack. The heroes are those who can brandish as many components of intersectionality as possible to legitimize and glorify their positions.

And so — as Memorial Day weekend seeps into our homes, the dreams and plans are for BBQ’s and escapes to the Shore — it is the official opening of summer fun and sun! Do we even remember what we are supposed to be memorializing this weekend? Other than those who serve in the military, those who have lost their husbands, fathers and friends in combat, and those who have their friends and relatives somewhere defending our ideals, who is remembering what matters and declaring their resolve not to let the forces of darkness, hatred and destruction loose again?

Those who can speak, those who can write, those who can influence and awaken sleeping souls, those who can muster up numbers, must do more than remember! This is the call to arms — reinforcing the notion that the Pen is mighter than the Sword.  BUT — if Words fail or fall on deaf ears, and the Pen runs out of ink, and then, sadly, the Pen will have to give way to the Sword — and it will be too late to turn back.

Remember — for sure. DO something about it — for G-d’s sake, for our souls and our very survival!

About the Author
Naphtali Perlberger is a Senior Lecturer for AISH HaTorah and gives Parsha HaShavua shiurim at Young Israel of the Main Line. He is one of the founders and a past president of the Philadelphia Community Kollel. He is Founder & President of Philadelphia Chapter of Children of the Holocaust, and past FJA Chairman of Men's Organizations; talk show host for a radio show, "G-d is Listening" and former radio news broadcaster. Currently President of Kosloff Torah Academy High School for Girls.
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