Monday, April 12, 2010

Another reason to not celebrate Yom HaShoah

A Guest Post by Rafi G

Dov Bear earlier showed a common point of opposition to Yom HaShoah, that being it is sourced in "secular" form of a memorial rather than a "Jewish" source.

I would like to describe another form of opposition and ask for your thoughts.

Putting aside the issues of is it Jewish, should it be in Nissan, moment of silence, the Zionists could have done more, etc. Putting all that aside, here is another idea.

My rav spoke on Shabbos about why we ignore Yom HaShoah. His reasoning was thus (any inaccuracies are mine - I might not be transmitting what he said completely accurately):

Yom HaShoah was created as a memorial for the victims of the Holocaust. But it was not focused on the victims - it was more focused on being a memorial for the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. That is why the date was chosen for 27 Nissan - because it is within the month of the uprising, and that is why the day is called Yom HaShoah V'HaGvurah - the Day of the Holocaust and of Heroism.

To be brief, and because I don't remember all the details of how it developed, the idea of the day was to commemorate the Holocaust through the ghetto uprising - as if the correct response to the Holocaust is to rise up. While the uprising itself might have been fine, after the fact it is wrong to commemorate that as the main focus of the holocaust. We have to, after the fact, accept Hashem's judgment and ruling, and that is that 6 million had to die for whatever reason. To focus on the uprising is to negate that as if to say we could have done better and averted it by being more courageous like them. Whether that sentiment is right or wrong, after the fact we have to accept hashem's judgement.

Establishing the day the way it was established is calling into question our acceptance of what happened, our acceptance of hashem's judgment.

And that is why, according to my rav, we oppose the day.

I had some questions, such as while that might be a reason to not create the day to start with, or to create it differently, but after the fact, now that it has been created and is part of our calendar, why not take advantage of it and teach our kids about the holocaust properly - since we dont really focus on it any other day... The answer given is that you should pick another day, 9 Av perhaps, and teach your kids about it, but not on Yom HaShoah.

I shoul;d add that he also made it clear that no chillul hashem should be made. if in public, one must stand with everyone else. This is only referring to general, private commemoration. The day, in general, should be ignored.

So, what do you think about this argument?

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