empty Blue and White: Shmuel Sackett

How To Cry

We’ve been taught lots of things before, but the goal of this article is to teach you something...

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Colors: Green Color

I want you to think about a concept that nobody talks about. You won’t hear your rav speak about this on Shabbos. You won’t read an article on this subject in any Jewish magazine, and you certainly won’t hear any politician speak this way. I am referring to the important aspect of fighting the Jewish enemy and, while extremely difficult and painful, how it is an integral – and necessary – part of our national life.

We are all familiar with the Kohen Gadol and the 12-stone “Choshen” (breastplate) he wore. Each of these stones represented one of the sons of our Father Yaakov, but this breastplate was much more than just an artistic design of the Tribes of Israel.  It was symbolic of unity – all the tribes together, on the chest of the High Priest – as he did his holy work in the Mishkan and then the Beis HaMikdash. When we are together – when all Jewish brothers put aside their differences and focus on the unique mission and purpose that we have been given – nothing can hold us back! And yet, one of the tribes almost didn’t make it. That’s correct – it came very close to having just 11 stones on the breastplate.

My daughter Nava needed to write a d’var Torah about the month of Iyar, so we put our heads together and started to think. It’s well known that, according to Jewish tradition, Iyar is commonly referred to as the month of healing, for its name is an acronym of “Ani Hashem Rof’echa” (“I am G-d your Healer” – Sh’mos 15:26) – but there had to be more than that.

Many years ago, a major debate erupted in the new and young State of Israel. It was clear to all – and accepted by everyone – that a date needed to be selected to commemorate the Holocaust, but which day would that be? Unfortunately, unlike other Jewish tragedies, the horrors of the Holocaust tragically happened on all 365 days of the year. The debate went on until 1951, when a date was finally chosen: the 27th of Nisan – the anniversary of the height of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. (Note: The actual uprising started on Erev Pesach, the 14th of Nisan, but – for obvious reasons – this date was not chosen. Rather, it was 13 days later – on the 27th of Nisan, that historians recorded the greatest fighting by the Jews.) The day was then established and officially named: “Yom HaZikaron laShoah v’laG’vurah (Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day)” – but the debate continued.

It’s been very hard for me to watch the endless videos being posted of rabbis, politicians, community leaders, activists, and successful businesspeople paying their respects to Jonathan Pollard. I have seen them hugging him, holding his hand and extending their love. Allow me to get right to my point: Where the heck were these people when he sat in prison for 30 years?