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Yom HaShoah veHagevurah 5772: "Stop. Then Go."

Stop. Then Go.
(c) Rabbi Menachem Creditor
Yom HaShoah veHagevurah
27 Nissan, 5772 // April 19, 2012


yom hashoa

I found it hard to breathe during last night's communal commemoration of Yom HaShoah veHagevurah.  And when I woke this morning, it wasn't any easier.  I tried to conduct the business of starting my day, but couldn't pull away from my computer,where image after image held my soul fast, pulling me deeper and deeper into the experience of holocaust and of heroism. Two images were most intense. One was generated by Yad Vashem in Israel, with an older man standing alone while his shadow reflects the boy he once was and the family he lost. I have no words and can barely type as I feel myself in that shadow somehow.


 The second image was not simpler, but it both took my breath away and then forced me to breathe once again. In Israel, every year, Yom Hashoa is punctuated nationwide by a two minute siren. It doesn't matter where you are, who you are, or what you believe. People in email labs stop typing and rise, people shopping stand still - even traffic on the highway stops and people exit their cars when they hear the wail of the siren. The country stands still. Someone posted the video online today (click the picture below).

Holocaust Remembrance Day Siren
Holocaust Remembrance Day Siren


I suddenly realized I hadn't been breathing. 


Watching my family get back into their cars on an Israeli highway pushed me out of my silence and back into life. It occurred to me that the Torah of the State of Israel in this moment was that there is no such thing as mundane. Everything can be holy. Time and place can be set aside, because even an Israeli highway can be a portal to time and memory, a shadow of where we've been and what we've endured.  

I pray our family remain safe, everywhere around the world. May we engage in the work we are called to do, not missing the moments that demand of us that we stop and pay attention. Sometimes we should stop. But then we are called to go.


As we say to each other before embarking on a journey, may we come in peace, and go in peace. May every Jewish journey, touched by the shadows of our past, also be filled with enormous life and light. 

Rabbi Menachem Creditor
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Kneel,  stand,  sit,  rise up.

To kneel is
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God damn it.

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