Friday, May 06, 2005

Yom Hashoa

Many people have been discussing why the religious world (especially UO) doesn't observe Yom Hashoa, and why the religious world didn't make it's own day. I believe that there are 2 main reasons:
1. The Yom Hashoa ceremonies, are just that, ceremonies. As RYBS said (see Nefesh Harav pp. 94-95) Judaism does not believe in ceremonies. Whatever we do needs to be a kiyum of some din. To stand silent for 2 minutes is a ceremony taken from the non-Jews and has no kiyum in din. The Jewish response to tragedy is fasting, mourning, learning for the person etc., not ceremonies.
2. The Chazon Ish writes (Igros Chazon Ish letter 97) that to be קובע תענית is like to make תקנה דרבנן. Our generation is not on that level to do such a thing. And therefore he says we should not make any new day of memorial. We are not at the proper level to make such a תקנה. In other words, the proper response would be to קובע תענית, however we are not at the level to make such a תקנה. When chazal made dinim d'rabbanan they did it with soem aspect of ruach hakodesh which we lack.


The Observer said...

I've always felt uncomfortable about these memorials, Yom Hashoa, Kristalnacht, and the like, but I've never been able to fully articulate just what it was about them that bothered me. Your explanation hits the nail on the head. After all, what purpose do these observerances serve? To show that we still exist? That we still serve Hashem? That I do already, every time I walk in the street. Every time I learn Torah. Every time I do a mitzva. To stand by the town Holocaust memorial and listen to speeches is redundant.

a pashut yid said...

It seems to be the secular public that started this, and continues to emphasize it more than orthodox. And if you look at the differing sects of orthodox, those that find fulfillment in their Torah and Mitzvos, no matter what brand of orthodoxy, dont usually look for these other methods of observing these days.
Of course, this is a generalization. I am sure there are those that learn Torah and do many Mitzvos, who still observe such days. This is not to put them down.

Another thing that irks me to no end is when people get up there, like Ariel Sharon and others, and announce, will all the arrogance they can muster, that it will never happen again! Is there a greater display of "kochi v'otzem yadi" on public display? Seems that in their attemtpt to protect us from history, there is a certain forgetfullness of that same history. I would imagine the Jews in Germany said the same thing. As did the Jews in all the generations. "Never again" - if its a tefilla, thats fine. I also hope never again. Just make it sounds like one. And if its a promise, who in the world in Ariel Sharon to promise anything? (And I am not even going to get started on his recent broken promises)

Anonymous said...

Charedi yeshivas have high school graduations. Is that a halakhic ceremony? Yom Hashoa doesn't even masquerade as a halakhic ceremony.

bluke said...

That is exactly the problem. Why do we need to take things from the goyim (like standing silent for 2 minutes) that have no Jewish meaning? The torah tells us how to commemorate things, say Tehillim, learn lilui nishmasam, etc.