Yom Hashoah is this week, commemorating the deaths of the millions of Jews who were brutally murdered in the Holocaust and in all the pogroms and persecutions throughout history.
The persecution of the Jewish people is constant. It’s not just a memory of the past. Just last week, on the last day of Passover, a Jewish holiday celebrating freedom from oppression, a 19-year-old man opened fire at the Chabad of Poway in California, killing a 60-year-old woman and injuring three others, including an 8-year-old girl.
Unfortunately the Jewish people have been threatened and chased throughout history, beginning with Eisav and Yaakov who were brothers. Eisav and all his children thereafter have been chasing Yaakov and his family till this very day. Since we are the children of Yaakov, it is written in the Torah that until the time of the full redemption when there will be no more persecution and Eisav will perish, we will be chased and hurt by his evil powers.
How can we live in this manner? How can we bring up our children and families knowing that Eisav is lurking out there waiting to strike again at his prey?
We as Jews have a special power and energy to never be defeated. This was passed down to us by our father Avraham, the first Jew in the world.
There is anti-Semitism all over the world. Even in places were the Jewish people get along fine with their neighbors, there is still an underlying feeling of pressure; who knows when the next attack of a Jew will take place? In Israel, we are also under the constant threat of the Arab enemy surrounding us from all sides – although here in our homeland the feeling of being chased isn’t the same as it is in the rest of the world.
Here in Israel, there is a sense of home and protection. True, we have many enemies who would like to see things go differently and have this country belong only to them. However, the promise of this land to us and our children from G-d is stronger than our enemies’ wishes to harm us. They try to kill us every chance they get, but they cannot make us leave or ever give up.
It is significant that we remember at this time of the year right after Passover all the people who were killed just because they were Jewish. During this time of year we also remember all the brave soldiers who have sacrificed their lives to protect their country and their people. And during this time of year, we also celebrate the independence of this land that was given back to us after thousands of years of exile. In 1948, we were granted the right to come back to our homeland and live here as a proud and strong Jewish nation.
The holiday of Passover, which is the utmost celebration of freedom and redemption, is a great time of glory and unity for the Jewish people. Just a short time after we remember our freedom, we remember all the bloodshed and hardship that we went through as a Jewish nation. But we then remember how great G-d is for always being there to protect us and returning us to our land. G-d is always with us despite all the darkness that we go through. Together with the remembrance and the tears, Hashem sent us the greatest gift of returning to Israel and defeating the enemy.
When we left Egypt long ago, our destination was becoming a Jewish nation at Mount Sinai. We received the Torah, which has been our guide ever since, and were promised to enter the land of Israel and to live there in peace, with Hashem dwelling among us in His house, the Beit Hamikdash. To be part of the Jewish nation is to constantly remember the past and bring those memories to the present in order that we may have the strength and energy to move on to the future.
The strength of a Jew is everlasting. Ever since the time of our father Avraham, who walked the land and glorified Hashem’s name to the whole world, we have that inner strength to always move forward. Avraham Avinu was also tested right and left just to see how much he loved Hashem and how much he was willing to sacrifice for that love. This love of Hashem is ingrained in each and every one of us. It gives us the power to overcome even the hardest experiences and persecutions.
This is the Super Jew power that was instilled in each and every one of us at Mount Sinai and that has been with us throughout history’s hardest times of darkness and death. It is with this same Jewish superpower that we fought for this land and remain in it till this day and forever. Please G-d soon we will merit the full redemption of the whole Jewish nation and the rebuilding of the third House of Hashem.