Purim has passed and Pesach is just about here. Which leads me to the subject of windows.
Windows allow us to see beyond the confines of our homes – but often our windows get dusty, and sometimes the dust is so thick it prevents us from seeing. Even as the dust continues to accumulate we fail to notice it. Perhaps worst of all, some of us become so accustomed to not seeing that we no longer feel a need to dust off the window and look out. We assure ourselves there is nothing much to see and everything is just fine.
At this point at least a few of you may be wondering what on earth I’m talking about. What windows? What dust?
The answer is simple. Jewish windows. Jewish dust.
Let’s make a concerted effort to wipe the dense dust off the windows of Purim and Pesach so that we can behold what Hashem wants us to see beyond the celebrations of these joyous holidays.
On Purim we became merry and even tipsy. We had amazing feasts. We masqueraded and had fabulous fun. But what is behind it all? What are we to learn from the Purim story? The lesson is so critical that every year we are alerted to its urgency.
The Shabbos that precedes Purim is Shabbos Zachor – the Shabbos of Remembrance, on which we must hear the passage of the Torah that commands us to “Remember what Amalek did to you.”
Most of our people have never heard of Shabbos Zachor. But do even those of us who were in shul listening to that Torah reading really understand? Do we remember what Amalek means and what he did to us? Many of us alive today personally met Amalek. We saw him in action. But still I ask, do we remember?
Amalek was the founding father of all the Hitlers who have pounced on us throughout the centuries with only one goal – that of removing us from the face of the earth.
Hitler was one of Amalek’s most loyal sons. He knew the exact number of the Jewish population in every city, village and hamlet. I spoke in Hungary not too long ago. I wanted to visit the gravesite of my forbear the saintly sage HaRav HaGaon Shmuel HaLevi Jungreis, may his memory be a blessing. He was the rabbi of a little village most Hungarians never heard of, yet Hitler found it and in his madness sent troops to capture all the Jews who lived there. And should even one Jewish child have escaped into the forest, Hitler was prepared to send an entire platoon to get that little boy or girl.
Think about it: it was the height of the war, Germany’s very survival hung in the balance, and the only thing Hitler had on his mind was the need to gun down little Jewish children in the forest.
Toward the end of the war, when it was obvious Germany was losing, Hitler’s officers sent an urgent request begging for reinforcements. Hitler refused their plea. His priority remained the same: kill the Jews. His trains were needed to transport Jews to the death factories. They were operating day and night until virtually the moment of Hitler’s defeat. The son of Amalek was prepared to sacrifice his country just so that he might snuff out the lives of as many Jews as possible.
This is not ancient history and yet we choose not to remember. As a survivor of the Holocaust I can testify that not once but a thousand and one times I have been told, “Rebbetzin, please do not speak about the Holocaust. People are tired of hearing about it. They’re looking for happier messages.”