Monday, April 08, 2013

There is no actual reason for Yom HaShoah to be on this day...

Found on Facebook (I'll name the speaker on request)
There is no actual reason for Yom HaShoah to be on this day. Unlike most Jewish holidays, or non-Jewish holidays for that matter, nothing special happened. More specifically, there is not even a claim that anything special happened. It was designated as a day for Holocaust commemoration eight days prior to Israel Independence Day by Ben Gurion in order to further justify the medina's just cause. Yom HaShoah is a Zionist construct, and a particularly glaring example of how Diaspora history is seen only as a precursor to the modern state. To his credit, Menachem Begin tried to remove Yom HaShoah, and put Holocaust remembrance back on Tisha B'Av, at least for now, but he was routed.
So, he's right that nothing happened on Yom Hashoah, but the same is true for many other holidays. What, for example, happened on Labor Day or Memorial Day? He's also right that the Zionists created the day both to honor the victims and to justify the creation of the state. I approve of both goals, but still believe they committed a serious error.

Yom Hashoa should have been established on 10 Tevet*, but certainly not in Nissan.

* Ten Tevet is already a day of mourning, and arguably a traditional day for honoring people with no known death day. 

(Related: Yom Haatzmaut should be on Lag B'omer, but certainly not during Sfira.)

Had they combined their new holidays with our old holidays, Jews the world-over would be able to mourn and celebrate together. And it isn't like there's no precedant for this sort of thing. Our crafty ancestors used this trick when they sabatoged Nicanor Day, and replaced it with Tannis Esther.

It's been suggested by David Williams, an expert on ancient Israel at the University of Georgia, that it was King John Hyrcanus, a descendant of the Maccabees, who shoved Nicanor Day aside in favor of Purim. Why? "Perhaps to deflect attention from Judah's victory to his own time. Or he wanted a wider celebration.''

A wider celebration. If only the early Zionists had thought along those lines.

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