Today, Jews around the world will remember the 6,000,000 Kedoshim who perished in the barbaric flames of the Holocaust. What words can describe the gaping hole that has been left in our collective soul? It has been over 80 years since the Holocaust began but for a people who still mourn the tragedies of thousands of years ago – it seems like yesterday. There are no words, there is no consolation – so many years later we still find ourselves in the state of Mi She’Meyso Mutal L’Fanav (one whose deceased loved one is lying before him) – a state which the Talmud describes as being without nechama (consolation). But we have not succumbed. Despite staggering losses we are still a vibrant people with a brilliant future. Despite the pain we still feel – we try to lead lives that sanctify God and the memory of our beloved 6,000,000 Kedoshim.
Yet, there are those who would try to revise history, claim that our mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers were not butchered. There are those who claim that the camps of torture and butchery were not as barbaric as we have described. We must be ever vigilant in perpetuating the memory of the Holocaust and of those who perished in the inferno. We must never be complacent and assume that “someone else” will remember – it is our sacred duty to remember their faces, remember their names and create the legacy they could not. We must make sure that our children understand the enormity of our loss. We cannot allow the Holocaust to simply be a section in a history lesson or something our children hear about in passing. It is our duty as parents to teach our children of the sacrifices made in our recent history as a nation; it is our duty as Jews to make sure that the next generation feels the pain of past generations.
I ask of you – if you don’t know enough about the Holocaust, about the people who perished, the communities that were lost – take the time to learn, read and visit the Holocaust Museum (http://www.ushmm.org/). But most importantly – take the time to speak and connect with the Survivors. These precious neshamos, forged in the fires of brutality – they are our “greatest generation.” Take the time to hear their stories before they are no longer here to tell them.
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The darkness of our past at times seems overwhelming - but it is this very darkness that provides us with the strength and inspiration to illuminate our present and pine for our glorious future.
In the merit of remembering their sacrifice may we be inspired to lead better, holier and more meaningful lives and in doing so provide an ongoing aliyah for their precious neshamos.
May we be privileged to witness the final Redemption speedily in our days.