Tuesday, April 25, 2006

holocaust day

I saw a headline on Arutz Sheva's website today that shocked me.
Katzav Asks World Not to Ignore Calls to Destroy Israel
If anything, you would expect to hear a line like that coming out of Iran, not from the President of Israel. There are those that will say that's not what he meant and that the translation is bad. But you never know.

I stood up quietly for 2 minutes today while the siren blared. A country in silence in memory of 6 million Jews who lost their lives only because they were Jewish. This is a secular day of remembrance that we are Jews. It is a day for the secular to remember that we are Jews and why we can't assimilate and that there is something special about the Jewish people.

The religious have many days for this, from Tisha B'av, on one end of the spectrum, which is the day of Jewish tragedy which includes the holocaust, to Purim, on the other end of the spectrum, which is the celebration of a time when the Jews were not destroyed for a change.

The main difference between the religious days of tragedy and the secular day of tragedy is the focus. On religious days of tragedy, we focus on the problem - on the cause of the tragedy (or in the case of Purim the cause of the salvation), we look inwards and say we brought it on ourselves. We promise to be better Jews and we look forward to religious salvation in the form of the mashiach. On the secular day of tragedy, people look outwards and try to assign blame on the nations of the world that participated in the bloodbath or that stood by silently and watched it happen. There is no introspection that maybe we were being punished as a nation. They say the State of Israel is the answer to the holocaust because next time we will fight back.

I see Holocaust day as a sad reminder that secular Jews of today do not take responsibility for their actions. It is not up to the rest of the world to remember and never forget, it is up to us to remember and never forget.

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