Today is Yom Ha-Shoah – Holocaust Memorial Day.
Recently I saw these estimates:
In 1939 there were 2.3 billion people on the planet and 17 million Jews.
Today there are 7.7 billion people on the planet and 15 million Jews.
We cannot calculate the immensity of our loss as a people.
We cannot imagine what was lost to our world without 6 million more Jews.
We must make sure that their memories serve as constant reminders for us to make the world better.
We must fulfill our calling and be a light unto the nations. We must be like Aaron in this week’s Torah reading following the death of his sons. As he sanctified himself to enter the Holy Tent in the desert, so we must sanctify ourselves with the teachings of our traditions and become holy.
How can we become holy?
Leviticus answers this question too. The holiness code that comes next week, directs us.
- We must care for the poor and the dispossessed
- We must not steal or deal deceitfully or falsely.
- We must pursue a society of fairness for all.
On this day, in these times, and at this time of year our mission as Jews continues to be crystal clear – take care of one another and the entire world – pursue justice.
Hoping that on this day of remembrance of the worst tragedy to befall our people in the last century, on this week of mourning for another despicable act done against us, and during this season of contemplation, we may still turn our mourning into a spark that kindles our inspirations to seek repair for everyone.